After touring Riedel’s manufacturing facility in Frankfurt, Germany, Fields invited the company to come up with a design. Riedel got to work, taking into account the mitigating factors that affect taste (shape, size, rim diameter) as well as the traditional shape of the Coke glass, with its iconic cyma curve. He also looked at the basic 8-ounce Coke bottle, what he calls “the root bottle.”
Last April, Riedel arrived in Atlanta with 18 different prototypes to conduct a sensory workshop. The tasting panel of 20 people consisted of both “top flavor experts” as well as marketing and public relations folk. They drank Coke after Coke, taking aroma, mouth-feel and flavor differences into consideration.
“We came hands-down to one shape on the tasting panel,” Fields said. “It was amazing.”
I would have to see this for myself. After my Riedel glasses arrived, I set up a Coke tasting at my house and assembled an expert tasting panel (my wife and kid) to see just what magic this glass could or could not accomplish on our fizzy friend.
We also sampled the Coke from a champagne flute, a bourbon tasting glass, a juice glass and right from the bottle.
The other tasters thought they could discern slight differences. I tasted Coke. Nothing but Coke. Thankfully not Pepsi. But Coke. This fancy glass seemed like nothing but a cynical marketing ploy, which depressed me.
And then a thought occurred. We were drinking Coke the preferred way in our household — without ice. This big glass was made for ice.
Sure enough, once you fill it with ice, this glass shows its stuff. The shape seems to snake-charm the soda’s effervescence. As you pour, you watch the ring of bubbles slither down. The bubbles tickle your nose just right, and the lemony acidity of the soda comes up front and center.
I just had one pressing question, which I needed to ask Georg Riedel.
He thought about this query for a moment and carefully answered, “That has not been addressed. We’ve not made a workshop about it. But, yes, I think the glass would work for Diet Coke.”