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GBIC >> Pepsi >> Temperature
Pepsi simply tastes better when chilled just this side of freezing! This page is about the nuances that the average Pepsi drinker may not have considered - tips which will maximize your Pepsi drinking experience. One immediate tip is to remember that a Pepsi will not freeze at 32 degrees, as will water. The added ingredients in a Pepsi results in a freezing point of about 28 degrees, slightly lower than plain water - but significant because of the limited ability of many refrigerator/freezer appliances to go that low.

Cold    Refrigerators    Temperature Non-refrigeration

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Why is Cold Better?

Remember that one of the reasons Pepsi tastes so good is the effect of the carbonation (which is a gas) that is put there by the Pepsi bottler. From your high school chemistry you may remember that the gas will attempt to escape, unless held there by pressure. Also, the rate at which the gas escapes is a function of temperature - the lower the temperature, the longer the gas will remain.

This applies to Pepsi. The sealed lid of the Pepsi container prevents escape of the carbonation regardless of the temperature. Actually, the container seals are not perfect, so over a period of a few years a Pepsi will go flat even if it is left sealed.

Once opened, however, the rate of carbonation loss increases dramatically. A typical 12 oz. Pepsi, once opened at room temperature, will lose its carbonation in just an hour or two. But by keeping the temperature of the Pepsi as near to freezing as possible, you can slow the carbonation loss to the point that a Pepsi can stay drinkable for up to 10 hours or more.

A secondary effect which also comes in to play in how refreshing a Pepsi tastes is the temperature difference between your body (tongue) and the Pepsi. The larger the difference between those two, the better a Pepsi tastes. Normal body temperature is about 98.6 degrees, whereas room temperature is considered to be about 72 degrees - a difference of about 26 degrees. By chilling the Pepsi to about 35 degrees (just above freezing), you achieve a temperature difference of about 53 degrees, twice the temperature difference! This amounts to a major enhancement of the Pepsi drinking experience!

The best taste of Pepsi occurs when the full carbonation content of a drink is released just as it hits your tongue. People who seem cold all the time, a condition of poor blood flow, often find that they do not enjoy Pepsi as much as their warmer brethren - whose heat helps release the maximum carbonation with each drink.

Take note that freezing a Pepsi has extremely negative effects. See the other sections of this tutorial for details.

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A typical refrigerator is capable of taking the temperature down to about 45 degrees. By keeping the door closed and by putting the Pepsi in a corner of the refrigerator, it is sometimes possible to get the temperature closer to 40 degrees.

However, there are several refrigerators on the market which have a special feature that all Pepsi drinkers will want to know about. These refrigerators have an enclosed area inside the door for holding beverages. A small air pathway is provided directly to the freezer part of the appliance, with a small fan used to ensure air movement from the freezer to the refrigerator beverage compartment.

This arrangement provides an extra 10 degrees cooling of the Pepsi, stopping just short of actually freezing the Pepsi (which, as you will see, is bad). I have such a refrigerator and can attest that the extra 10 degrees of cooling makes a major difference in the refreshment that you get from drinking a Pepsi.

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The Correct Pepsi Temperature For Pouring

As you will see in the container section of this site, I do not recommend pouring a Pepsi from it's container. The act of pouring, in every case, will release carbonation from the Pepsi.

There are cases, such as a large container of Pepsi which must be shared will several people, where pouring cannot be avoided. (In this example, passing the bottle to allow everyone to take a "swig" is to be avoided for health reasons.)

One of the unfortunate features of carbonated beverages is that the greater the temperature difference between the beverage and the container (i.e., the Pepsi and the glass), the more carbmonation will be lost during pouring. Since the loss of carbonation is to be avoided, this would suggest that warm Pepsi should be used. However we just saw that chilled Pepsi tastes better, so what is a Pepsi drinkier supposed to do?

Fortunately, taste tests show that the loss of carbonation arising from pouring has a much lesser effect on taste than does the temperature of the Pepsi - cold Pepsi with less carbonation tastes better than warm Pepsi with full carbonation.

Later in this site I show you techniques for minimizing carbonation loss, even with cold Pepsi, so my recommendation is that you always chill the Pepsi before pouring. A temperature of 35 degrees is recommended, but many refrigerators are unable to achieve much better than about 40-45 degrees. The use of the augmented refrigerator, as described above, is highly recommended.

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Non-Refrigeration Techniques

Many homes have limited refrigeration space, allowing only for chilling of small numbers of Pepsi containers. In such cases, however, there are techniques you can use to lower the temperature of Pepsi which must be stored outside the refrigerator.

The first rule of thumb is that no Pepsi should be stored in direct sunlight. Sunlight heats up the Pepsi - increasing the time it will take to chill it when space becomes available. Remember, there is no carbonation loss because the container is still sealed.

Second, store Pepsi containers as low as possible - floor level if possible rather than high such as in upper shelves. Since heat rises, storage locations closer to the ceiling of a room expose Pepsi containers to significant heat loads. There can be a 20-40 degree increase in temperature from the top to bottom of a room. This translates into as much as an hour longer to chill a Pepsi to an appropriate drinking temperature.

If you are from a rural environment you should consider lowering your Pepsi containers into the water well. Water wells can be hundreds of feet deep, providing significant temperature from surface temperatures. A typical well water temperature might be as little as 45 degrees, which is very close to the temperature that a typical refrigerator can achieve.

Similarly, persons near streams or lakes can place their Pepsi containers under water. Streams achieve a thorough mixing of the water, so the depth that the Pepsi is placed is not too critical. However, lakes often have stratified layers of water, where temperature is directly related to depth. By ensuring that your Pepsi is placed at least 20 feet below the surace, you can expect to see temperatures of about 50 degrees - not as good as a refrigerator, but significantly better than leaving the Pepsi at room temperature. Be aware and deeper is not necessarily better, since water at 39 degrees is more dense than water at 33 degrees, meaning that sometimes colder water is in the middle of the lake, not at the very bottom.