We Tried Coca-Cola Y3000, and It Took Us Back to the Future
Not saying we loved it, but the stupendously sweet Coca-Cola Y3000 is worth a try
What does the future taste like? Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion? C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate? Tears in rain? Whoops, sorry, that was the famous speech from Blade Runner, a great movie that put forth a terrifying future.
Coca-Cola has come out with its latest Coca-Cola Creations offering, Coca-Cola Y3000. The can brags that it’s “futuristic flavored” and was “co-created with artificial intelligence.”
Personally, I’ve seen The Terminator a few too many times and am a little bit terrified of anything created with artificial intelligence. What if the AI looked at Coke, looked at dark-colored earth liquids, and just decided to dump motor oil in there? Or beef gravy? Is someone managing this AI? Making it choose from an ingredient menu? It’s all a bit unnerving. (Learn more secrets Coca-Cola isn’t telling you.)
What is futuristic-flavored Coca-Cola?
Courtesy Coca Cola
The official word on Coca-Cola Y3000 is that it was “the first limited-edition flavor co-created with human and artificial intelligence.” Coca-Cola’s statement says that “insights gathered by both human and artificial intelligence helped inspire the unique Y3000 experience.”
There aren’t a lot of details on how AI helped design the flavor, and honestly, the more I think about what AI could do and what the world might be like in the year 3000, I’m content to not know any more than we already do.
How does Coca-Cola Y3000 taste?
First off, the Coca-Cola Y3000 can is strikingly pretty, like the Coca-Cola Creations usually are. It’s decorated in a swoopy design of sky blue, red and pink. The future has good design sense!
When you open the can, you almost get bowled over by a super-strong fragrance. It made me think of the herbs and spices in chai, maybe marinated in fruit.
Honestly, like its predecessor, Coca-Cola Ultimate, Coca-Cola Y3000 mostly reminds me of the fun we’d have as kids when a restaurant or gas station would let us have control of the fountain-drink machine. A squirt of Coke, one of root beer, one of orange, maybe another of grape. The result was always an indescribable glass of sweetness with no specific flavor—a comic-book panel blast of kid heaven.
Sipping Coca-Cola Y3000 only confirmed that mishmash flavor. I was kind of surprised the drink poured out with the traditional cola color, because it tasted like all the red soda flavors got together and threw a party. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry, generic “fruit punch”—those were the tastes I sensed most. I’m not a big fan of the taste of energy drinks, but the Y3000 did remind me of those too.
I also could relate to the Australian TikTokker who said Coca-Cola Y3000 tasted like you used a sugary lollipop to stir a regular Coke, and then drank it. There’s a real candy flavor here. Sweet rules over spicy for sure. If you like colas for their sharp, peppery edge, you’re not going to want to time-travel to Y3000. It’s not bad, but neither is it clearly describable. I guess the future is still unwritten.
Where can you buy futuristic-flavored Coca-Cola?
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper for Taste of Home
Coca-Cola Y3000 will be available in the U.S. in full- and zero-sugar versions. (I tried the full-sugar version only.) It was scheduled to be on store shelves by Sept. 12, and if I know the massive machine that is Coca-Cola distribution, it will appear in stores almost everywhere. But it’s a limited-edition flavor, so try it quickly, and if you like it, hoard some, because it won’t be around forever.
You can’t take the flavor names of any of these Coca-Cola Creations seriously. Coca-Cola Dreamworld was supposed to taste like dreams, and instead tasted like all the fruit in the world got into a fight. Coca-Cola Starlight, which was supposed to taste like space, was sweeter than a Pixy Stix milkshake. Coca-Cola Move tasted like bubblegum, and Coca-Cola Ultimate tasted like a fountain Coke spiked with every other soda-pop flavor in the universe. Coca-Cola Y3000 is a worthy new sibling to its playful, if peculiar, predecessors.
I’m a fan of anything Big Corporate Beverage does to shake things up a bit, and the colorful cans, odd names and slightly-but-not-too-weird flavors of the Coca-Cola Creations are always fun to try or taste-test with friends. Once. Don’t buy a couple 12-packs straightaway.
I eagerly await Coca-Cola Ennui, Coca-Cola Synecdoche, Coca-Cola Text Message or whatever creatively crazy flavor comes next.