We Tried Diet Coke’s New Flavors — Did They Spark Joy In Us?
Check out what we had to say about the new Strawberry Guava and Blueberry Acai flavors
What Is It: Diet Coke’s new Strawberry Guava and Blueberry Acai flavors
Who Tried It: Mark Marino, PEOPLE contributing writer
Level of Difficulty: 4, because I had to carry a package of cans to my desk while wearing a blindfold, Birdbox style (see below)
Now that the holidays are over, everyone’s all about getting healthy: cutting out alcohol, nibbling on salads and hitting the gym hard. Yeah, no. I would never go to such extremes, but I have returned to eating sensibly, sticking to children’s cereal, diet soda and water (but only when I need to take aspirin; I’ve heard drinking too much water can actually be dangerous).
The timing of my new eating regimen couldn’t be better, because once again, Diet Coke has released new flavors, and PEOPLE’s food and lifestyle director asked if I’d like to review them. Since I had reviewed the Zesty Blood Orange, Ginger Lime, Twisted Mango and Feisty Cherry varieties last year (you have read it, haven’t you?), I couldn’t wait to find out what the new flavors were.
I was hoping for a suntan-lotiony Coquettish Coconut or perhaps a prune-esque P.O.’ed Plum. But when I picked up the package from my editor, what I got was Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava. And a blindfold. So I slipped on the blindfold, Birdbox-ed my way down two flights of steps to my desk (I assume that’s why it was included), and got ready to sip.
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For this review, I used a Marie Kondo approach. When she helps people organize their homes, she asks them to hold an item, see if it sparks joy in them, and then thank it and get rid of it if it doesn’t. I wanted to see if these Diet Cokes would give me that feeling I get when someone is rushing to get on an elevator with me but the doors close just before they can make it.
First up: The Strawberry Guava. Full disclosure, I’m not 100 percent sure what a guava is. I mean, I’ve heard of guava paste, but I’ve never actually eaten guava. I have, however, eaten paste, and I would hope guava tastes slightly better. Anyway, this soda didn’t spark joy but it did trigger a slight head-tilt. It tastes overwhelmingly like strawberry and, unfortunately, a little artificial. It’s like someone dropped a Jolly Rancher into my drink while my head was turned and then added a Strawberry Shortcake doll as a swizzle stick. I didn’t quite pick up any notes of guava, but what do I know, I don’t think I’ve eaten guava (see above—weren’t you paying attention, reader?).
Anyway, since the Strawberry Guava flavor didn’t spark joy, I held the can, and, in accordance with the Marie Kondo method and in the words of Ariana Grande, said, “Thank you, next,” and moved on.
I had high hopes for Blueberry Acai. I’ve always loved blueberries—though there was a brief period in my childhood when I was terrified to eat them after watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which I still consider a horror film—so I thought this was going to be a real joy sparker. Instead, I felt very little. In fact, I tasted very little. I detected very subtle blueberry and acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee, in case you were wondering) flavors with each sip—but that’s a good thing! It’s pretty much the same exact flavor as regular Diet Coke, with a little something extra. I guess I’d say “Into You” to this drink, mostly because I don’t know what Marie Kondo expects you to say to things you want to keep, and because it’s yet another Ariana Grande song that applies to this situation.
The Verdict: I was really hoping that one of these drinks would spark joy in me. I imagined taking a sip and feeling the way Marie Kondo might if she was personally invited by Meghan Markle to come organize the hell out of all the junk drawers at Kensington Palace. The takeaways: I prefer the Diet Coke-flavored Blueberry Acai Diet Coke over the Strawberry Guava, I still am not sure what guava tastes like, and the box these cans were delivered in can hold 12 T-shirts if folded neatly like envelopes.