Review: Kosher for Passover Coke


Believe it or not, Coke makes a special version of their drink for Passover. It's called Kosher for Passover Coke! Why is this a big deal? Keep reading…

Kosher for Passover Coke

Kosher for Passover Coke

Passover is a Jewish holiday that marks the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. The story can be found in Exodus 12, where God "passed over" the houses of the Israelites during the final plague of the 10 Plagues of Egypt, the killing of the first-born. On the night of that plague, the Jews smeared their doorposts with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and were spared.

Kosher for Passover Coke

CRC logo indicates it's Kosher

Passover is an eight day holiday which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan and concludes on the 22nd. In English, that would mean that this year Passover runs from April 13-20. During this celebration, the diets of those who observe the Jewish faith are more restricted. Leavened bread, or chametz, is off limits. Jewish law prohibits one from owning, eating, or benefiting from any chametz during Passover.

HFCS Coke

Ingredients of everyday Coke: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Kosher for Passover Coke

Ingredients of Kosher for Passover Coke: Sucrose (also known as sugar)

For something to be considered chametz and off limits it has to either be one of the five primary grains (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, oats) or needs to have fermented in contact with water for 18 minutes. Often some additionally refrain from a group of foods called kitniot This includes rice, corn, lentils, and beans.

Kosher for Passover Coke

Top of Kosher for Passover Coke can… no big difference

What's the issue here? Well, since 1985, after the New Coke disaster, Coke did a sneaky little thing. Prior to this date, regular Coke was sweetened with sugar. Then they rolled out New Coke, which used the same sweeter formula as Diet Coke (except that New Coke used high fructose corn syrup as its sweetener, while Diet Coke used aspartame). The public reacted, New Coke was mocked, and Coke brought back the original formula as Coca-Cola Classic.

With one small change!

They replaced the original sugar formula with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Today, that sweetener is used in pretty much all soft drinks in the U.S. Why? Two reasons (if you believe the commonly held political explanation). The first is cost. HFCS is cheaper thanks to subsidies that the government provides to grow and use corn. The second is tariffs that are placed on the purchase of sugar, which makes it more expensive to buy. This is why sugar is still used in Canada and other countries to sweeten soft drinks, but everything in America uses high fructose corn syrup.

Kosher for Passover Coke

2 liter Kosher for Passover Coke bottles have yellow caps
(Source: postneo.textamerica.com)

Technically speaking, because of the use of HFCS, most soft drink products are not considered "Kosher for Passover" during this time of year. To solve this problem, Coke actually manufactures some of their products with real sugar to meet the Jewish market demands. They don't use cane sugar in this process, but rather Sucrose, which is the refined white sugar you get when you process sugar beets. This is the type of sugar you'd find in cooking sugar, like the stuff made by Domino. Chemically, beet sugar is the same as cane sugar, but it's more expensive and provides a different aftertaste. Some niche drink companies use cane sugar to differentiate their products. Also, Coke made in Mexico (which has become a very popular import these days) uses cane sugar because it's easily available and cheap.

Kosher for Passover Coke

Shopping bag from Hungarian Kosher Foods (Skokie, IL)

Chicagoland has a pretty substantial Jewish population, especially on the North Shore. As such, Kosher for Passover Coke is in ready supply here. Why would someone like myself, who isn't Jewish, even care? Because this is Coke made the way it was originally made… with sugar! It's ideal for a soda enthusiast who would like to try something a little different from the norm. In this case, it's actually authentic! So the other day I drove to a Kosher supermarket in Skokie to pick up some Kosher for Passover Coke.

Kosher for Passover Coke

Chicago Rabbinical Council's seal of approval

This supermarket, called Hungarian Kosher Foods, is the Midwest's largest Kosher supermarket (yippee!). It's under direct supervision of the Chicago Rabbinical Council when it comes to determining what you can/cannot eat this time of year. CRC is the largest Orthodox regional Rabbinical organization in North America.

Kosher for Passover Coke

More detail on Kosher for Passover Coke's bottlecaps
(Source: Bevnet.com)

As I walked through the place, it was odd. Attached to the category listings and aisle numbers above each aisle were signs that read "This aisle is Kosher" and "This aisle is NOT Kosher". In the back were the "CRC-approved" bottles and cans of Coke. You could tell these were different because the had the CRC logo… and also listed "Sucrose" instead of "High Fructose Corn Syrup" as the primary sweetener. 2 liter bottles of this type often have yellow caps. There wasn't much to differentiate the 6-packs, however.

HFCS Coke

A bottle of everyday, High Fructose Corn Syrup-sweetened Coke

Amy and I decided to taste test standard Coke against Kosher for Passover Coke. (For the sake of this test, I'll refer to the normal Coke you can buy anywhere as "HFCS Coke"). We poured a glass of HFCS Coke and a glass of the crazy Passover stuff. Right away you could tell something was different. The "bouquet" was obvious, if you'd like to make a parallel to champaign. Kosher for Passover Coke had very tiny, small bubbles… whereas HFCS Coke had very large bubbles.

Kosher for Passover Coke

Kosher for Passover Coke: Small Bubbles

HFCS Coke

HFCS Coke: Large Bubbles

We took sips of each glass, separated by eating crackers to cleanse our pallets. The result? Kosher for Passover Coke is freakin' awesome! It SOOOO rocks! HFCS Coke has somewhat of a bitter aftertaste. According to Amy, with HFCS Coke you could taste the sweetener, even if it wasn't something odd used in diet drinks. By contrast the Kosher for Passover Coke had a very natural sweet flavor. It was nicer and less "chemical" tasting, if that makes any sense. It's the drink you'd probably want to have out of the two if given the choice.

Overall, we were blown away by the drastic difference between Kosher for Passover Coke and the regular drivel that's on the shelves the rest of the year. Stock up now if you have the chance and enjoy some carbonated soda goodness! :)

Comments

  1. Impressive research and very informative! How interesting – Kosher Coke. I would have never realized that without your article. I'm curious as to why Coca-Cola doesn't advertise this – presumably to avoid bringing attention to the overall failing nature of HFCS…

  2. Patti Shock says:

    Whole Foods carries a brand of soft drinks called Blue Sky that uses organic cane sugar. One of their flavors is Cola. It is excellent. It has more of a cinnamon taste than Coke or Pepsi.

  3. I am excited for Passover Coke. When we get a hankering for HFCS-free Coke, we go to the Mexican Market on the other side of town. Yeah, it's that good.

  4. I could find any lasy year in the Annapolis & Seven/Odenton areas of Maryland. even though i was able to find the kosher pepsi all over the place.

  5. Saw Passover Pepsi at Weis in Odenton yesterday….sadly no coke.

  6. I refuse to buy the stuff marketed as HFCS soda (be it Coke or Pepsi). When sugar soda imported from Mexico or Canada isn't available, I buy juice.

    Yeah.

  7. I just got some KFP coke. The yellow caps made it very easy to spot. It was also on sale so I bought 4 2L bottles of it.

  8. I found Kosher Coke last night at a Wegman's supermarket in Williamsville, NY. They also had Kosher Pepsi. I've actually been drinking Mexican Coke for a couple months now.m I'm currently out of Mexican Coke, but tomorrow night I plan on going back to Wegman's and buying a couple 2-liters of Kosher Coke and a case of my old stand-by Mexican Coke and taste testing them side-by-side. It'll be interesting to see how they compare.

  9. I may have to find me some passover coke locally here in Salt Lake City. Thanks for your review and comparison.

  10. I still don't understand how Coke can market their drink by calling it "Coke Classic"?! There is nothing "classic" about using high fructose in their product. The original "classic" version of Coca-Cola used cane sugar back in the day. Especially since HFCS is the second most important ingredient in Coca-Cola, I don't understand how they can even compare it to the original; much less call it "classic". Just another reason why I buy Mexican Coca-Cola. Mexican Coca-Cola is the true Coke Classic.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] year, we talked about the awesomeness that was found in Kosher for Passover Coke. As it's Passover this week, it's time to try Kosher for Passover Caffeine Free [...]

  2. [...] quite a bit about Jones Soda over the years. And I've attempted to talk a little about high fructose corn syrup and how bad it tastes in soft [...]

  3. [...] given the mass-produced nature of drinks like this, the insistence of the big players to stick with high fructose corn syrup in their products vs. sugar, and the heavy marketing targeting an audience that probably cares more about the [...]

  4. [...] the way it was intended. I wrote a little about the whole HCFS vs. Sugar battle when I reviewed Kosher for Passover Coke a few years back (yes, I know it's a silly name for a drink… but it sure is [...]

  5. [...] with sugar right next to its HCFS version. We were able to do that in the past when we reviewed Kosher for Passover Coke and Kosher for Passover Caffeine Free [...]

  6. [...] other countries to sweeten soft drinks, but everything in America uses high fructose corn syrup. Source The recent news reports on diabetes I think opened a lot of eyes in the mainstream, and I think [...]

  7. [...] to capitalize on the trend that we've been seeing here in the United States, basically the backlash against high fructose corn syrup. Personally, I didn't know any different until I had my first taste of Kosher for Passover [...]

  8. BevBoard says:

    Passover Coke 2008…

    My wife stopped by Hungarian Kosher Foods in Skokie, IL today (just north of Chicago). This is our usual source for Kosher Coke/Pepsi for the past few years. They don't yet have it on the shelves, b……

  9. [...] and very tiny which is consistent with using cane sugar as opposed to HFCS as we learned from the Kosher Coke review. My one big complaint was that the carbonation disappeared almost entirely several minutes [...]

  10. [...] name was added to the product back in 1985 after the New Coke debacle (and some would argue, the switchover to high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener). The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story: Coca-Cola Co. said Friday it plans to drop the [...]

  11. [...] Hopefully they'll announce it soon—maybe I'll hold a blind taste test between Passover Coke and Pepsi [...]

  12. [...] "big guys" with real sugar is to import it (i.e., Mexican Coke) or wait till Passover (Kosher Coke, Kosher [...]

  13. [...] from the "big guys" with real sugar is to import it (i.e., Mexican Coke) or wait till Passover (Kosher Coke, Kosher [...]

  14. [...] availability of these drinks just happens to be around Passover, traditionally the time when both Kosher Coke and Kosher Pepsi have been previously available? [...]

  15. [...] next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for them. Here are some photos of products to show you what to look for. (We couldn't find a photo of a kosher u-bet bottle, so please post a link if you come across [...]

  16. [...] next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for them. Here are some photos of products to show you what to look for. (We couldn't find a photo of a kosher u-bet bottle, so please post a link if you come across [...]

  17. [...] but also Kosher for Passover Pepsi. For example, one thing I noticed when I reviewed products like Kosher Coke and Mexican Coke against there HFCS incarnations is that the bubbles formed when poured are of [...]

  18. [...] different from other orange sodas, though suffers from some of the negatives associated with HFCS and Sierra Mist in general. It's a clever tie-in to the movie Get Smart and provides a much needed [...]

  19. [...] beverages for a limited time. Most notably, we've had nothing but great things to say about Kosher Coke and Kosher Caffeine Free Pepsi. Last weekend I came upon a 6-pack of Kosher Pepsi styled with the [...]

  20. [...] about Kosher soda before, so I just want to let everyone know that the Classic Coke and Pepsi with real sugar is now available for a short time only. I've made two trips so far. On the first, I got two [...]

  21. [...] them. I think I'm more curious about actual taste, and having experienced drinks like Kosher Pepsi, Kosher Coke, and even Mexican Coke, there's just something about the use of sugar in a soft drink that really [...]

  22. [...] I'm not Jewish — but have great respect for Kosher Coke — I found this song fun and catchy. Hopefully, you'll feel that was as well! Here are the [...]

  23. [...] Does this Coke really taste better? You can read a one blogger's thoughts on his Coke for Passover review here. [...]

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