I respect The Hater's admonition that we should stop caring about fast-food innovations — I've tried the Taco Bell CrunchWrap Supreme, and learned that lettuce should not be hot — but it's too ingrained in me as a junk culture consumer. I have to try the new foods. I look forward to the beginning of each month, when the fast food restaurants change their promotions. I've sampled just about every one of the Hershey's "Limited Edition" candy bars. And when a soda company introduces a new drink, I can't help myself: I drink it.

Today, I'm drinking Coca-Cola Blak, the new "carbonated fusion beverage" that's part Coke and part coffee. Pray for me. Here goes:

First Sip … Not a promising start. The overwhelming flavor isn't coffee or Coke, but refined sugar (straight from the packet). Not much carbonation either.

Second Sip … The coffee comes through in the faintly scorched aftertaste. But each new swig washes that aftertaste away in a pool of chemically enhanced sweetness. Just like the other Coke "fusion" beverages (vanilla Coke, Coke with lime, etc.), it's like the corporate chemists have found a household cleanser that approximates the flavor they're trying to get, and then stirred it into the beverage.

Third Sip … This isn't getting any better. Time to check the ingredients. "Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine." What does that mean? Is that a warning to Phenylketonurics?

Fourth Sip … There will be no fourth sip. This round goes to Amelie.