Review: Coke Zero VaniLLa

Blogging is really funny. A lot of people really liked my post on Diet Coke Plus. I think it’s because it turned into somewhat of a rant about how much I loved Diet Coke, and how much I hated Coke for killing my favorite variant, Diet Vanilla Coke.

Well, I found out I wasn’t the only one ranting about Diet Vanilla Coke. In fact, this guy actually wrote a heart-sick letter to the Coca-Cola Company about the cancellation, back in 2005.

Anyway. The same guy wrote a review of Coke Zero VaniLLa. It was hilarious, so I had to get it and try it for myself.

Look, Coke Zero isn’t Diet Coke. It’s not just a branding exercise, the sweetner formulation is a different. Instead of Nutrasweet, Coke Zero uses a blend of Nutrasweet and Ace-K to get a taste that is supposed to be more like regular Coke. In fact, they have a whole ad campaign about this which I think is hilarious. (Since I used to manage a sub-brand of eBay, I find these type of marketing problems really interesting.)

Anyway, back to the new abomination Coke Zero VaniLLa.

I should have known what I was getting into when I saw the two capital-L’s in the title.

Rating: 6. It’s sad, but this is actually worse than Coke Zero. I don’t think I’ll be buying this again, but I would drink it ahead of other variants in a pinch.

I knew it wasn’t going to get higher than an 8, because the Coke Zero base is just such a bad start. But I was surprised to find out it doesn’t taste like vanilla. It only smells like vanilla! It was so bizarre, I had my wife confirm it. Very strange, and it grows annoying to have this wonderful vanilla smell, and then not have any taste to back it up. It just tastes sweet – but a fake sweet. Too much fake sweet. It over-promises and under-delivers. At least Coke Zero under-promises and under-delivers.

Update (6/14/2007):  OK, OK.  I’m upgrading this to a 7.  I’ve had a few more of these now, and I think I’m getting used to it.  Not as bad as the first one.

Coke, just bring back Diet Vanilla Coke already. Own up to your mistake.

So, here is my updated ranking of the Diet Coke universe:

  • Diet Pepsi (1)
  • Diet Coke with Lemon, discontinued (3)
  • Caffeine-Free Diet Coke (4)
  • Diet Cherry Coke (5)
  • Diet Coke with Lime (6)
  • Coke Zero VaniLLa (7)
  • Coke Zero (7)
  • Diet Coke Plus (7)
  • Diet Coke with Splenda (8)
  • Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke (8)
  • Diet Coke (10)
  • Diet Vanilla Coke, discontinued (11)

Diet Vanilla Coke forever, man.

21 thoughts on “Review: Coke Zero VaniLLa

  1. Man, that’s so weird. I consider straight up Diet Coke to be almost unpalatable, while Diet Pepsi has a cleaner finish and less chemical taste. Zero however is my absolute favorite. Captures the slightly excessive sweetness of regular coke, but without the furry-mouth feeling of corn syrup or the ton of sugar.

    I honestly think that people who drank Diet Coke in their formative years are the only ones who can stomach it. It just so happens that there are millions of those people. I came to it late, and I hate it intensely.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Well, I think that the market share of Diet Coke shows that it’s not just a few million who love it. Diet Coke is so popular, it’s the #3 soft drink by itself.

    I think there is a difference between people who never, ever drink sugar soft drinks, and those who do. If you only drink a diet soda occassionally, or only were forced to do it when you got older and slower, then I can see going for the drink that is sweeter.

    The genius behind Diet Coke is that knowing that artificial sweetners have aftertaste, Coke actually made Diet Coke less sweet, period. Diet Pepsi, Coke Zero, and all the others are attempts to use artificial sweetners to make a drink that is as sweet as the sugar-based drinks, but with no calories.

    – Adam

  3. I drank regular real sugary sweet Pepsi in my “formative years’ – whenever those were – and still liked Diet Coke better than Diet Pepsi better. Perhaps it is just the way our taste buds work – differenty…..
    AND from my Diet Vanilla Coke blog: I would agree that Diet Vanilla Coke is an 11. When they stopped making it I decided to show my buyer’s clout and STOP buying Coke. It doesn’t seem to be working (ha ha). I didn’t like the Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke (not liking Black Cherry and the fact that it was issued to replace Diet Vanilla Coke – did not help!). So I tried Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Pepsi – I thot it was better that Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. THEN THEY CAME OUT WITH DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI – Rank = 13. I’m not sure I would go back to Diet Vanilla Coke.

  4. Hi Scott,

    I think you need to sit and think where all this pent up hostility toward Diet Coke comes from. It’s not me Scott, it’s not me.

    Let’s hug it out.

  5. Linda,

    Any advice on where I can buy Diet Caramel Cream Pepsi? I’ve never seen it, but that might do it for me.

    Why won’t Coke just see the error of their ways and start making Diet Vanilla Coke again?

  6. I think I have to revise my ranking… after drinking about 2 cases of these, it’s growing on me. I’m bumping Coke Zero VaniLLa to a 7. 🙂

  7. Hi,

    I called the Coke Hotline too when Diet Vanilla Coke was discontinued. I thought I’m so isolated out there. We should’ve started an online petition drive back then.

    Now they introduced Diet Vanilla Coke Zero. I’m convincing myself it is the same but I have to drink a few more.

    Where I grocery shop Diet Vanilla Coke (original) was always out of stock due to popularity.

    Why can’t they just resurrect the original Diet Vanilla Coke?!

  8. I am a big time diet pepsi drinker, but I used to buy diet vanilla coke on a regular basis. It was the only coke product I really liked, though I am regularly forced to drink diet coke in restaurants. When they quit making diet vanilla coke they quit getting any of my money until I tried diet black cherry vanilla coke. Now I buy that once in a while, but I’d rather have just the vanilla. I heard a rumor that they are now going to discontinue the diet black cherry vanilla. Does anyone know if that’s true? We can no longer get it for our pop machine at work. I’ve yet to try coke zero vanilla and I’m not sure I will. I am going to look for diet pepsi caramel cream though. I hated the diet pepsi strawberry jazz or whatever the heck they called it. If they ever reintroduce diet vanilla coke I’ll be the first in line.

  9. I’m online looking for a place to even BUY Coke VaniLLa Zero!!! After they dropped Diet Vanilla Coke, I just about died (yes, I’m an addict). So, I tried the Coke VaniLLa Zero – let’s just say it was an acquire taste. But, now I’m hooked and have bought it for the last six months, and all of a sudden it is scarce. Could Coca-Cola be that disloyal to their consumers (literally)??? First I was puzzled, now I’m just plain pissed. I will definitely look for the Diet Pepsi Caramel Cream (sounds terrible). For now, I’m switching back to acquiring a taste for Pepsi Jazz – Diet Black Cherry French Vanilla. I can be just as loyal as they are! HA!!!

  10. I can’t find Vanilla Coke Zero ANYWHERE anymore!!! What has happened to it?! Did they discontinue it this quickly?!!! What is wrong with this Coke company?

  11. 10.27.07
    Like I said…. I rarely blog…
    I find DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI in Kansas at WalMart, Dillons, – I went to visit my daughter is South Carolina and she could not find it for me. So perhaps contacting WalMart or Dillons, in another state could get results? (I misunderstood you ranking system apparently –I was thinking on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being BEST = DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI would be a 13; with your system: DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI ranked above #1 !!!!)

  12. Well Adam, it happened AGAIN. Pepsi has stopped marketing ( OR stopped MAKING IT – not sure which ) DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI in Kansas – Can you find it in California now??? I doubt that I will ever fall for a flavored diet cola again. I have resorted to buying vanilla flavoring and adding a few teaspoons to my diet coke. And Diet coke is okay without flavoring, just better with vanilla flavoring.

  13. Lol, it says on Wikipedia that “Vanilla Coke beverages were never discontinued in some markets such as Australia, France and Germany”. So maybe Diet Vanilla coke is still available there…? Lol, try eBay, it’s worth a shot. 😀

  14. Man.. I agree with Scott – I can’t stomach Diet Coke. Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi are the only ones i can take. Cherry Coke Zero is actually awesome. Just the smell of diet coke makes me sick.

  15. David,

    I am a firm believer in your guaranteed right to be completely wrong on this one. You & Scott can grab a 12-pack of Diet Pepsi together, or Coke Zero. Whatever you want.


  16. I have given up on diet vanilla coke = I drink water with lemon when I eat out and give what I SAVE to God’s Work.

  17. I, too, went through the Diet Coke teasing. I LOVE Vanilla. I wear it, I prefer it, and my students are tired of me complaining about the discontinuation of Coke Vanilla products.

    I really like Diet Vanilla Coke. You can have you lemon and yucky lime. It’s not discontinued here. We’ve plenty. The Vanilla flew off the shelves. Then they snuck in Black Cherry Vanilla. Not a big fan, but hey… it was vanilla. Then THAT went away and they brought in Coke Zero Vanilla. I stayed the course.

    That was… until… they pulled CZV, too. Being a Diet COKE drinker, my whole life, I actually SWTICHED to Diet Pepsi Vanilla.

    While traveling in Kalamazoo for work a couple weeks ago, I found some CZV and bought a fridge pack. If it wasn’t for the airlines having the liquid restrictions, I would have stocked up my suitcase.

  18. Pingback: What I Would Do with the Coke Freestyle « Psychohistory

  19. The Diet Coke Lemon and Vanilla was awesome and they discontinued it. But, why is it when you go to a restaurant and they have a digitial coke machine, they have it? That is so messed up. Thanks for this blog, yeah Vanilla did rock.

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