Anyone that spends thirty minutes with me will learn that I love soda, specifically products made by the Coca-Cola company.
In the past, I was a Diet Coke gal, but then Coke Zero stole my heart.
Anyone that spends a day with me will realize that caffeine has a powerful effect on my system. In the US and Ireland, I tried to manage that by drinking caffeine-free Diet Coke as much as possible.
Then we moved to Luxembourg.
For those not as knowledgeable about the world of Coke, Diet Coke is not sold on the Continent. Instead, we get Coke Light. The formulations are different enough that while I can drink Coke Light, I do not enjoy it as much as Diet Coke — and Coke Zero blows them both out of the water. Slowly, over the last two years, I’ve been drinking less and less Coke Light “sans caféine” and more and more Coke Zero… with all the caffeine.
In a perfect world, Coke would produce a caffeine free version of Coke Zero. However, I learned during my correspondence with the Coca-Cola company that they wanted to build the Coke Zero brand before putting additional versions on the market. (Yes, I did write them. Yes, I did receive a personal response.)
Then, a miracle happened. In February, I was on a business trip in the Netherlands. I was discussing my soda habit with a colleague and I mentioned that one of my greatest desires was caffeine-free Coke Zero. I nearly fell off my chair when he replied, “Oh, they have that.”
Indeed they do. Since February 2010, France has been selling it. France was the first country in the world to get caffeine-free Coke Zero. The Netherlands got it in January 2011. When I learned all this, my heart raced — and I had to get to France!
On the first possible Saturday morning, I coaxed Will into the car and we drove to the closest chain grocery store across the border. As we walked through the store, I dared to dream. Would they have it? How much should I buy? We headed down the soda aisle and there is was, in all its black and gold glory.
I would have bought it all. Will convinced me to stop after 16 six-packs and 11 one-point-five liter bottles. The cart (and the car) were a joyous wonder of Zero.
The only aspect that took a small shine off the day was the prospect of shopping in France every three or four weeks, to resupply. But that wasn’t a big deal, with the border so close, and I was smiling all the way back to Luxembourg.
I’m happy to report that Coke Zero “sans caféine” is just as tasty as the regular. I’ve slowly titrated down from the caffeinated variety, as to not feel the effects of going cold turkey. I thought that life couldn’t get better.
I was wrong.
I was shopping at our local grocery store the very next weekend after our trip to France. Will needed some regular old Coke, with sugar and caffeine — because he is a (pudgy) rebel! As we rolled down the aisle, I could not believe what was on the shelf in front of me — Coke Zero “sans caféine” had arrived in Luxembourg!
It was a miracle! I would no longer have to drive to France to get my beverage of choice — it had come to me. Life could not be any better…
…unless I could convince them to start stocking Diet 7-up again!