McCol is officially barley wheat soda and is made in South Korea. It can be nicknamed Korean Coca-Cola since they’re both black-colored sodas, but that’s really their only shared trait and they taste absolutely nothing alike.
I first heard about McCol through a webisode of The World of Dave and have embedded the part at the end of this post. Even though McCol doesn’t fare well in the taste-test, I was still curious and was excited to stumble upon it at H-Mart. ($1.99 – 1.5L/50.67 fl oz)
My first shock: The smell. It smelled like chestnuts but much more strong, sweet, and fermented. The taste was at first just sweet and foreign and reminded me of grass jelly juice (another unique drink from Asia but not so popular in Korea and its neighbors). I thought it was decent soda and drank a few glasses.
I tried it again a few hours later and it left a strong aftertaste of overly-sweetened chestnuts and I drank less than before.
The next day I planned to finish the quarter left but I took one sip and found the taste unbearable and couldn’t take another. Most likely because the drink lost all it’s carbonation and was now just sweet rotten black chestnut water. I’m the same with Coke when it loses its fizz.
FYI, I highly enjoy chestnuts, barley tea, and Coca-Cola.
I will not buy McCol again but I am glad I tried it and got a taste of Korea.