Taste-Test: 'Ice Up' Self-Freezing Coke Bottles

Have you ever left your bottle of soft drink in the freezer a bit too long and been pleasantly surprised by the resulting slush? That's the concept behind Coca-Cola Ice Up -- a super-cooled bottle dispenser that shoots out "self-freezing" Coke bottles. Feeling parched on a hot spring day, I decided to try it out...

Earlier in the week, I spotted the curious contraption below while buying lunch at a takeaway chicken store. "That just came in yesterday," the cheerful manager informed me as I went to take a closer look. "It's gonna go gangbusters in summer!"

Having only just recovered from my 7-Eleven Slurpee crawl, the thought of ingesting even more semi-frozen liquid didn't exactly fill me with excitement -- in fact, it caused my skull to throb dully like an old war wound.

But there was no way I was going to pass up such an intriguing Lifehacker Taste-Test. My dedication to the job (and addiction to soft drink) demanded I give it a try.

Curiously, the machine does not require you to insert any coins; instead you just push the big red button and a 450ml Coke bottle rolls out which you pay for at the counter.

This is likely to be a problematic procedure for store owners; especially during the first few months when curiosity will get the better of many customers. (Indeed, when I went back to the store the next day, the manager had added a hastily scrawled sign asking people not to press the button unless they intended to buy one.)

Thankfully, while the delivery method is ill-thought out the actual product works exactly as advertised. At first glance, the Coke inside the bottle looks completely normal, but once you take a swig and upend the bottle it fills up with ice crystals as if by magic.

The result sits a few rungs below a Slurpee in the frozen drink stakes -- it has a slushy texture but does not require a straw or spoon to drink. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, it's reminiscent of a Coke that has been left in the freezer slightly too long. It definitely makes for a refreshing beverage on a hot day, especially if you're already a Coke fan.

So how is it done? As far as we can tell, the Ice Up machine uses a refrigeration method that keeps the liquid at a constant temperature just above freezing. (Presumably, the pressure in the bottle also keeps the liquid from turning solid.)

We've contacted Coke to see if they can share any additional science about the process. We'll update the article when a representative gets back to us.

In the meantime, you can find out where the nearest Ice Up dispenser is by paying a visit to Coca-Cola's Facebook page.

Score: 9/10

See also: Death By Brain-Freeze: The 7-Eleven 'Slurpee Crawl' Challenge


    Where is this chicken shop you speak of :)


        Thanks for replying Chris, bit out of my way unfortunately and i haven't seen any in and around central Sydney yet, i shall bide my time.

    Interesting. I would love to give it a go, but unfortunately there are no machines in my area. As usual, living in a rural area sucks. V_V I suppose I'll just have to do it the old fashioned way and leave it in the freezer like a friggin' cave-woman.

    Is it just Coke? Or do they do Coke Zero as well? I find regular Coke tastes too syrupy for me :(

      I agree. Coke Zero has really improved these past few years, it was undrinkable swill in 2009 and now it's basically the only soft drink I (very occasionally) drink.

      Probably not Coke Zero, sugar free soft drink does seem to freeze so well. Well not using cheap slushy machines at least.

    Wonder when the first lawsuit is going to come out because the sign doesn't specifically state you need to put the lid back on before you tip the bottle over....

      The diagram does show the bottle being inverted with the cap back on.

      Plus unless you happen to be wearing thousand dollar pants, what's the worst that could happen that you'd claim compensation for?

        I think they were implying that when you take a gulp and the bottle goes upside down, the liquid in your mouth would freeze. They obviously didn't read the article.

    The stuff is okay. Has a bit of a weird mouth coated taste after having it.

    For Brisbanites there was a place on ann at opposite city hall that sold them, pretty sure there is still a machine there (has been there at least 6 months)

    Hells yeah, a machine would be awesome because it doesn't always work perfectly when you do it yourself - I think it has to JUST be frozen, a minute or two more and it becomes too crystally and when you shake it all the carbon dioxide rises out of it or the sugary syrup separates (like with home made icypoles)

    Nice! I've seen something like this before, and my hunch was correct (though I don't know the term for it.)
    Here's a video showing pretty much what it looks like you bought, but as a home-made how-to :)

    EDIT: Wrong link

    Last edited 27/09/13 10:37 pm

    The telltale sign is that it has an unusual meniscus.
    I've had it happen to mineral water.
    Fun bit is deciding what to do with the solid bits left in the bottle, usually not that good when it thaws

    My second time drinking this, I mistakenly turned the bottle over without opening it first. Result? The entire bottle instantly froze, nearly completely solid. The lid was bulging. I was in line waiting to pay for it, & I slightly twisted it - it started to spurt out so I quickly twisted it tight again. After paying, I went outside & opened it. It just exploded & went everywhere. It continued to spray & spray & spray so I killed it. So yeah, be careful :P

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