The latest Pepsi innovation is coffee-flavored cola, dubbed Pepsi Cafe. It’s made with real java and has double the amount of caffeine in regular Pepsi, but about half of what you’d find in a cup of joe. When the product launches in April, it’ll come in two flavors: original and vanilla. There will not be a diet option.
Thanks to the team at Pepsi, The Daily Meal was able to taste test both 12-ounce varieties before they go on sale nationwide in the spring. Our first impression was that they were incredibly fragrant. They smelled just like coffee.
On the palate, both were very sweet (in a good way), but we found that the vanilla was a lot smoother and almost creamy like a latte. One taste tester who doesn’t even like coffee said she enjoyed both because “it just tasted like sugar with hints of coffee.” Most of The Daily Meal testers preferred vanilla because it was similar to cream soda, and we take our joe with milk and sugar anyway.
The original flavor was good too, albeit second best. It didn’t taste like coffee-flavored cola or cola-flavored carbonated coffee, but was the perfect mash-up.
So, when would you drink this? Most people wouldn’t give up their morning coffee (we sure wouldn’t), but sometimes another cup in the afternoon is too much. Pepsi Cafe was made to help you come out of that midday slump, when all you want to do is take a nap, but you can’t because you’re still at work or school, or can’t snooze because you won’t be able to sleep later when it’s actually time to go to bed.
This isn’t Pepsi’s first rodeo with a coffee-soda hybrid. Years ago, national and international markets saw now-discontinued Pepsi Kona and Chino Cafe. The brand brought the flavor profile back in response to the growing popularity of ready-to-drink iced coffee products, but this is a different formula. Original and vanilla Pepsi Cafe will be available at all major national retailers beginning in April 2020. You might even spot them at the best grocery store in your state.