There’s nothing quite like taking the first cold sip of soda after opening a bottle. But have your taste buds ever noticed the slight flavor difference between drinking the same soda out of an aluminum can versus a plastic bottle or a glass bottle? They’re not all the same and there is actually a scientific reason for that—just like this explanation of what happens to your body one hour after drinking a can of soda.
Soda companies claim that the recipe of their drinks doesn’t change depending on the way they package it. But what does change is the material of the package, and that can alter the taste—and while it’s not by much, some people can detect a slight difference.
Plastic is much more CO2-permeable than glass and aluminum, meaning that the carbon dioxide, or fizz, will leak out of a plastic bottle much faster than a glass bottle or can. Have you ever noticed that the liter of coke sitting on top of your fridge doesn’t taste that great after a few weeks, even if it hasn’t been opened? Plastic bottles also have an acetaldehyde lining, which can transfer into the flavor of the drink giving it a slight “plastic-y” taste. While this taste is hard to avoid, you won’t find “plastic-y” flavored coke at McDonald’s. Here’s the real reason coke tastes better at McDonald’s than anywhere else.
Soda in a glass bottle will stay fresher longer because it’s much harder for CO2 to escape through it. Your soda won’t go flat and will taste delicious when you open it. The one downside to glass bottles is that they’re more expensive and you won’t get as much soda. But, you could always stick with aluminum cans, which are also much less permeable than plastic, and just pour your soda into a glass cup. Surprised that there’s a scientific reason why soda tastes better in a glass? Here are more soda secrets Coca-Cola isn’t telling you.