Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Have a look at this:

That's Coca-Cola's next-gen drink machine. It's called "Freestyle", and you select your drink and flavor via a touchscreen. 100 different flavors are available (regular Coke has about 8 variations), and the ability to mix and match is completely staggering.

Eventually, this machine is going to replace the drink machine at your local fast food restaurant. The first big location seems to be Jack-In-The-Box restaurants, which is where we found this one.

I like this, conceptually, because to me, it implies a far more precise mixing of syrup/water than existed previously. So both Eli and I were pretty amped up to try it (and he found Strawberry Powerade, which he absolutely loves).

The funny thing, though, was that I didn't like it.

There are certain locations where I eat that seem to have perfect soda machines, and the common denominator is that their drinks are slightly sweeter than the places I like less. I thought that was how Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke were supposed to taste, so when I tried out Freestyle, I was thinking that I'd get a perfectly mixed drink every time.

And I did, probably, but much to my surprise, it was less sweet.

Damn! So the soft drinks I love from fountain machines are actually aberrations, incorrectly mixed to be a little sweeter than "correct."

Boy, if the Freestyle robot army takes over, I'm in trouble.

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