TDQ Investigates: The Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine, AKA The Devil’s Soda Fountain

Coca Cola Freestyle

It should be no surprise that earlier iterations of the Freestyle allowed 666 flavor combinations; If you count Diet-Vanilla-Grape-Ginger-Tea-Ale as a flavor that is.

I knew the first time I saw it that it was gonna be trouble. It was only a matter of time.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle soda fountain, now seen in pretty much every damn fast food restaurant in America, was first introduced in 2009 and touts that it offers more than 100 different types of fountain drinks on its touchscreen display. Like an iPad attached to a soda fountain.

The selling point is that now consumers can mix and match and add flavors to their soft drinks that heretofore they could only dream about. But the problem with that is, mainstream fast food patrons of America aren’t capable of concocting soda fountain drinks on their own. There is a reason Coke and Pepsi and those other companies employ R&D gurus and spend all that money on focus groups and stuff. They know what they’re doing, and we don’t.

“It let me make Diet Orange Coke,” TDQ co-founder Karl Fields said recently. “I was at the same time embarrassed at myself for trying to think outside the box and angry at the Coke people for letting me even try it. As I cursed myself while driving home what seemed like an eternity later, it occurred to me that there’s no Diet Orange Coke on the shelves. They knew!”

On top of that, as anyone who has worked in a restaurant or gas station and had to clean a soda fountain can tell you, you need to clean each nozzle individually, and make sure any soda residue is completely cleaned off, because that stuff sticks on there. I worked at a restaurant in high school, and our owner was a fanatic about cleaning the soda fountain nozzles every night.

And he was right. With this machine, all the drinks go into your cup through the same nozzle. It’s anarchy. Now, every single drink I get out of the fountain has a hint of Sprite flavor to it. Every one. Whether I got Sprite or not.

Thanks, Coke. Jerks.

You are now informed. Go and do likewise.

2 thoughts on “TDQ Investigates: The Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine, AKA The Devil’s Soda Fountain

  1. Personally I blame Mike Judge. I mean, if he hadn’t made Extract, would anyone really have thought to create these machines? Did anyone even know what extract was before that movie? Scholars, maybe. But now it is part of our daily life at the soda fountain.

    • Thank you for your comment. It seems like another case of companies off-loading their work on the masses under the guise of choice. This dangerous practice of “crowd sourcing” puts the burden of creating music, video, reading material, and now soda flavors in the hands of underqualified ninnyhammers. Pro-tip: Most of this rubbish is on the internet. Stay clear of it.

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