(Note: So this piece turned out to be waaaaay longer than expected, so I split it into two parts. If you want to learn why I decided to do this insane thing, read on. If you just want to read the results, click here.)
So I love sugar in all its forms, as evidenced by the title of this blog. I’ll eat junk food and candy and drink soda until the day I die. (Which, considering my diet, will probably be sooner rather than later.) But the point is, I really, really enjoy drinking soda. Which, since I live in Atlanta, is typically referred to as “Coke,” no matter what you’re drinking.
I enjoy drinking Coke so much, in fact, that a few years ago when a woman died from drinking too much Coke (no, for real), no fewer than five people e-mailed me the link. Just as… a gentle suggestion, I suppose? Maybe just to check to make sure it wasn’t me?
Which led me to the Death by Caffeine calculator, which I frequent more often than I should admit. You enter your weight and preferred caffeinated beverage, and it tells you how many you’d have to drink in one sitting to die. I’ve played around with this thing a ton, I have to admit the amount of anything that you’d have to drink to always seems worryingly low. Like, 180 cans of Mountain Dew seems like a super attainable number.
ANYWAY. While Coke practically owns me due to my Atlanta residency, and my heart really, truly belongs to them, we’re having a bit of a lover’s quarrel at the moment because of how much I dislike their ridiculous Freestyle machines. (See more on my love of regular Coca-Cola here and my absolute disgust of Freestyle Cokes here.)
So something that I’ve been drinking a lot of lately is Mountain Dew, one of the greatest beverages known to mankind and the only Pepsi product that’s acceptable to order if a restaurant only serves Pepsi products. (See, Coke? At least Pepsi restaurants have an option I’ll enjoy! Restaurants with your dumb Freestyle machines have NOTHING to enjoy.) Mountain Dew is sweet, it’s delicious, it’s what’s for breakfast. (I don’t drink coffee, so this is occasionally accurate.)
Every once in a while I will spot a new color Mountain Dew on the shelves and think to myself “I wonder what that one tastes like” while grabbing my trusty classic Mountain Dew, or occasionally Code Red if I know it’s going to be a really long day. (Note: Both of these pair very well with peanut M&Ms. You’re welcome.)
So, I did the exactly what any other person would do in this situation: I taste tested every single flavor of Mountain Dew on the market.
Please enjoy my findings.
I obviously couldn’t just sit at my apartment, drinking a bajillion bottles of Mountain Dew by myself. That’s the sign of… Well, something, I’m sure. Probably that I’m really good at playing Halo 4?
(Real quick: I just Googled “Halo” to see if that’s even the most recent version of that game since I don’t really know video games, and stumbled across its Wikipedia page. Y’all. Halo is apparently the Fast and Furious franchise of the gaming world.)
Anyway, so I roped in some friends to do this with me, including one who literally has a phD in food science. “I didn’t know that was a thing,” you say. Well, guess what? It is. She actually has a freaking doctorate in tasting food and drinks …. She’s an actual, literal Dr. Pepper. (I’m sorry, I’m sorry.)
Anyway. So the good Doctor volunteered to conduct our test, and the rest of us showed up with plastic cups, two dozen different Mountain Dews, a bunch of saltine crackers to cleanse the pallet, and the knowledge that we were collectively about to get more jacked up the highest sugar high we would ever experience in our lives.
All the drinks were poured into cups so we couldn’t determine the flavor based on whether it was in a bottle or a can, then we were blindfolded so we couldn’t lean on the color as a hint as to what the flavor was.
Spoiler Alert: We found that the color heavily influences your opinion on the flavor.
The point was that we were just going to give our gut reaction, immediate responses to how we liked the flavors, then we could try to guess what they were afterward.
We gave our feedback, along with a rating on a scale of 1-9.
1 = Dislike extremely
5 = Neither like or dislike
9 = Like extremely
Now if you’re like, why the heck wouldn’t it be on a scale of 10 like every other thing on the planet, THAT’S AN EXCELLENT QUESTION. But don’t look at me, I don’t have a phD in Mountain Dew.
So I asked my friend who does, and she said: “[1-9] is the typical scale used in consumer tests… Part of it is the way it works out for the descriptors, so it’s extremely dislike, moderately dislike, slightly dislike, neither, slightly like, moderately like, or extremely like. You can do 5, 7, or even go to 11-point scales, but 9 is most common.”
So there’s your answer. You learned something today. You’re welcome.
Did you know that Mountain Dew currently has 28 flavors on the market? Well, they do. Here’s a list on their website to prove it.
When drinking them, we broke them down into groups:
MOUNTAIN DEW FLAVORS
- Mountain Dew
- Diet Mountain Dew
- Dew-S-A (light purple)
- Game Fuel (orange red)
- Pitch Black (dark purple)
- Livewire (orange)
- Voltage (blue)
- White out (white)
- Code Red (red)
CRAFT MOUNTAIN DEW FLAVORS
- Mountain Dew Green Label (with green apple kiwi)
- Mountain Dew White Label (with tropical citrus)
- Mountain Dew Black Label (with dark berry)
SPIKED* MOUNTAIN DEW FLAVORS
(*Despite being called “Spiked,” they are non-alcoholic)
- Mountain Dew Spiked Lemonade with prickly pear cactus juice
- Mountain Dew Spiked Raspberry Lemonade with prickly pear cactus juice
- Kickstart Recharge Blueberry Pomegranate
- Kickstart Recharge Blood Orange
- Kickstart Hydrating Boost Watermelon
- Kickstart Hydrating Boost Pineapple Orange Mango
- Kickstart Mango Lime
- Kickstart Black Cherry
- Kickstart Midnight Grape
- Kickstart Orange Citrus
- Kickstart Fruit Punch
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TEST
(only because I’ve tasted them all before and already knew what I thought of them, and they were very difficult to find for purchase)
- Dewshine (clear) – only available in 4 packs, and trust me when I say it is absolutely disgusting.
- Diet Code Red – could not find anywhere. I’m assuming it tastes like Diet Code Red.
- Throwback Mountain Dew – also could not find anywhere. I’ve had it before, it somehow doesn’t taste as sweet as normal Mountain Dew.
- Glass bottle Mountain Dew – Mountain Dew made with real sugar, just in a glass bottle. Don’t really see the difference between this and the Throwback product.
- Kickstart Hydrating Boost Raspberry Citrus – could not find this anywhere, honestly not sure this even exists.
Enough talk, let’s do this.
[Read the result of our testing in Part Two…]