When I was in high school, there was a Coke machine in the student newspaper office where I spent a lot of my time (the Food Police had not been formed yet), and I am convinced the soda I drank from those 8-oz. glass bottles is the best I ever had, certainly better than the stuff I learned to tolerate later in cans and plastic bottles. Company officials would disagree, insisting that the "great taste of Coca-Cola is the same regardless of the package it comes in.” They'd say it was all in my head, that the "particular way that people choose to enjoy their Coke can affect their perception of taste.” But I'm glad to see there is at least a modicum of scientific evidence to back up my belief that the variation in taste might be real.
Given that the formula is always the same, yes, according to Sara Risch, a food chemist and member of the Institute of Food Technologists. “While packaging and food companies work to prevent any interactions, they can occur,” she says. For example, the polymer that lines aluminum cans might absorb small amounts of soluble flavor from the soda. Conversely, acetaldehyde in plastic bottles might migrate into the soda. The FDA regulates this kind of potential chemical contact, but even minute, allowable amounts could alter flavor.
So there you have it -- Coke in a glass bottle is the only Real Thing, and let's hear no ill-informed dissent. Now, if I could just figure out why ordinary sandwiches tasted so much better wrapped in wax paper (no aluminum foil or plastic wrap, please) and placed in my father's lunch bucket for a couple of hours.