If you’ve ever had a Coke at McDonald’s you may have wondered why it tastes better than the soda served at other restaurants. You may be surprised to find out that the taste difference is definitely not in your head.
McDonald’s goes the extra mile when it comes to the Coca-Cola it serves at its restaurants. The two companies, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have a tight relationship, so they can work together on new products and promotions. And that close bond pays off every time a customer orders a soda.
It all starts with the packaging. Typically, restaurants get their soda syrups in plastic bags, but Coca-Cola does something different for McDonald’s. The fast food chain gets its Coke syrup delivered in stainless steel tanks. The tanks keep the soda fresher; making it more likely that the Coke you drink at McDonald’s will taste the same as the Coke you drink straight out of the bottle.
Keeping The Soda Ice-Cold
Once the syrups reach the restaurant, soda doesn’t just become an afterthought. Both the syrup and the water (which goes through “proper filtration methods”) get pre-chilled before going into the soda fountain. Other places might rely on the dispenser itself to chill lukewarm water, but McDonald’s uses insulated tubing to deliver the soda from the refrigeration system to the fountain, keeping the liquid as cold as possible.
For one thing, this gives McDonald’s a head start in delivering the ice cold Coca-Cola you crave. But that’s not all—cold water is also better for the carbonation. As soda warms up, the CO2 wants to escape quicker. Because the water is kept so cold at McDonald’s, that gas doesn’t escape, and you maintain your fizz.
McDonald’s Syrup Ratios
Still, the fast food chain is well aware that your soda will start to go from refreshingly cold to lukewarm the moment you pour it out. Of course customers add ice to keep it chilled, but that can mean watered-down Coke. To fight against that, the company says it makes sure it uses “the ratio of syrup set to allow for ice to melt.” That means they add more syrup.
The Secret Behind McDonald’s Straws
The soda itself isn’t the only difference, though. McDonald’s also has different straws than you typically use. “It’s slightly wider than a typical straw, so all that Coke taste can hit all your tastebuds,” writes the company.