Nitro Pepsi Review: Fascinating But Flawed

Nitro Pepsi Review: Fascinating But Flawed

No matter where you fall on the Pepsi vs. Coke debate (this is NOT the time or place to get heated, folks), I think we can all agree that Pepsi releasing the first-ever nitrogen-infused cola is pretty cool.

If nitro anything makes you draw a big ol’ blank, let me break it down for ya: “Regular” sodas and carbonated drinks are infused with carbon dioxide, which is suuuuper soluble in water — thus, it takes a while for the gas to escape, and the drink will stay carbonated for a while when opened. Nitrogen, however, is far less soluble in water — so when you open a nitrogen-infused beverage, the bubbles are basically like, “Let’s GTFO.” You’re left with a smooth, cream-like top that’s full of really tiny bubbles and a less fizzy beverage overall.

Premyuda Yospim / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Science lesson aside: I recently got my hands on some Nitro Pepsi, and I’ve been staring at it longingly in my fridge just waiting until the day I could try it. Now that I have…let’s just say I have *lots* of thoughts.

HOW IT LOOKS: The branding? Iconic. The drink itself? Pretty darn appealing too.

If I could give the branding itself an 11/10, I would. The tiny little bubbles forming the logo?! Calling it “DRAFT COLA” in big, orange letters?! Exquisite. Pouring it into a pint glass is also truly a feast for the senses. The whoosh it produces when you crack into it is nothing short of thrilling, and watching that foamy head form as you pour it was mesmerizing…though I definitely could’ve poured it “harder,” as detailed in the instructions.

When they say “pour hard,” they mean HARD. Pour like you’ve never poured before! Hold it fully perpendicular to the countertop! As someone who’s been low-key trained to pour carbonated beverages against the side of a glass — so it doesn’t foam over, duh — this felt counterintuitive. Let’s just consider my first pour a test round. I poured the second can much better, and I think the results speak for themselves.

Let me also mention a helpful hint that I would’ve loved to see somewhere on the packaging: Now that you know the science behind it (aka nitrogen wanting to GTFO real fast), you’ve gotta pour this stuff as soon as you open it — otherwise, that foamy layer won’t be so foamy.

THE TASTE: Honestly, I was disappointed here…and as more and more people try it for the first time, I don’t think I’ll be alone.

There’s no way around this. Nitro Pepsi essentially tastes like flat (but ice-cold!) Pepsi. More than that, I found it to be altogether too sweet.

Ross Yoder

I was reaaaaaally hoping that this wouldn’t be the case, but the science here actually makes perfect sense. People love nitro coffee and beers (like Guinness) because, unlike carbon dioxide, nitrogen doesn’t react with the beverage to lower its pH.

As a result, nitro-infused beverages taste “sweeter” because they’re less acidic. In a nitro iced coffee, it’s brilliant — no bitterness, no need for additional cream or sweetener. But for an already sweet soda, the nitro of it all is just tooooooo much. If Pepsi created this nitrogen-infused cola to appeal to customers who find regular Pepsi “too fizzy,” I have a funny feeling that their target demographic isn’t going to be thrilled with flat soda, either. 👀

If sweet sodas aren’t your thing but you’d still like to try Nitro Pepsi, I implore you to buy the classic flavor over the vanilla. The vanilla variety tasted about one granule of sugar away from being a straight-up milkshake, so the regular was far more palatable in comparison. It was still super sweet, however, and the absence of all those bubbles that we’ve come to expect from…ya know, soda…made it taste syrupy.

REGULAR PEPSI VS. NITRO: In a twist that’ll surprise absolutely no one, I’d choose regular Pepsi any day…but after digging a bit further into each variety, I realized that the differences were more perplexing than I thought.

There was really no contest here — regular Pepsi won this round in every way. What genuinely surprised me is that I assumed Nitro Pepsi’s sticky sweetness was a taste bud trick of the added nitrogen. After digging into the ingredients and nutrition facts, I realized that they purposely added more sugar and sodium to Nitro Pepsi, which honestly still baffles me.

Ross Yoder

I’m no mathematician, but according to my calculations, regular Pepsi contains 12.5 calories and 3.45 grams of sugar per fluid ounce. Nitro Pepsi contains 16 calories and 4.61 grams of sugar per fluid ounce. What I’m getting at here is, Why make something even sweeter when it’s pretty darn sweet to begin with? I mean, I could be wrong, but I don’t feel like there are many folks out there thinking, You know what’s not sweet enough? Pepsi! 🤷

THE ULTIMATE VERDICT: According to the can itself, the final step to successfully pouring a glass of Nitro Pepsi is to “admire and enjoy.” Admire it, I did! But I can’t exactly say I enjoyed it.

Ross Yoder

Nitrogen lends some much-needed smoothness to punchy beverages like iced coffee and beer…but beyond making a can of Pepsi look really pretty when it’s poured into a glass, the cons definitely outweigh the few pros. Still, if you’d like to get your hands on some Nitro Pepsi when it’s released, the novelty alone might be worth splurging on a can or two. Truthfully, the whoosh of that can opening is one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had all week. Nitro Pepsi will be available nationwide starting March 28, and you can already preorder single cans and four-packs through Walmart.

Once you’ve tried Nitro Pepsi, tell me all about it in the comments. I’m honestly dying to know what you thought. 👇