We Tried Orange Vanilla Coke—Here Are Our Thoughts
Fans of Creamsicles and sherbet will be pleased.
Last week, Coca-Cola announced its first new flavor in 12 years—Orange Vanilla (the previous flavor was Vanilla Coke Zero, in 2007). It comes in a regular and Zero Sugar version: while raspberry, lemon, and ginger flavors were also considered, Orange Vanilla dominated the focus groups, according to a statement from the company. You’ll be able to buy them in 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles once they launch nationwide on February 25.
“We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days,” Kate Carpenter, brand director of Coca-Cola, said. “That’s why we leaned into the orange-vanilla flavor combination — which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.”
While Orange Vanilla Coke won’t be available for another two weeks, we were able to get a first try. The taste of regular Orange Vanilla Coke, unsurprisingly, isn’t all that different from a Creamsicle. The vanilla flavor adds a bit more body and sweetness to the usual Coke formula, while the orange adds a hint of acidity—fans of Vanilla Coke will probably find they like it. One of our other editors tried both the regular and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar versions, finding the regular Coke to lean more on the orange flavor while the latter was more vanilla. “Both taste a bit like you made a Coke float with orange sherbet,” he said. And another editor agreed: “in the Coke Zero Sugar [Orange Vanilla], I didn’t get any orange at all.”
It’s important to make the distinction that this product is in the Coca-Cola Trademark portfolio, which encompasses Coca-Cola Original Taste, Coke Zero Sugar, Coke Life, and Flavors, according to a Coca-Cola spokesperson. Last year's launch of California Raspberry and Georgia Peach flavors, on the other hand, was part of Coca-Cola’s separate specialty portfolio (the latter two flavors are sweetened with cane sugar, while Coca-Cola Original Taste is not).
So what else can we expect from Coca-Cola down the line? Back in November, the brand announced that they would be creating energy drinks—called Coca-Cola Energy and Coca-Cola Energy No Sugar respectively—with natural caffeine and guarana extract, as previously reported by Food & Wine. The launch was suspended until April 2019, so it remains to be seen if we’ll see any Coca-Cola bottles in the energy drink section any time soon. The brand also announced last March that it would be launching alcoholic drinks in Japan—according to The Drinks Business, they hit the market last June.