Futuristic Coke machine comes to California Tortilla

By By Sophia Tapper, Staff Writer

Coca-Cola’s new coke dispenser, Coke Freestyle, offers over 100 different soda flavors, and will soon replace the average drink dispenser at Cabin John Mall’s California Tortilla around Thanksgiving.

The Freestyle’s dispenser automatically cools the drinks so there is no need for ice, although ice will remain available as an option. It also allows for limitless flavor combinations.

“You [could] get a vanilla coke with orange flavor, or a peach sprite,” California Tortilla president Bob Phillips said.

Using the same amount of space as the normal drink dispenser, the Freestyle makes branded beverages fresh to order. California Tortilla hopes the new technical advance will allow customers a chance to experiment with their drinks.

“Our customers really appreciate the fact that they can customize their burritos by adding or [removing] ingredients,” Phillips said. “With Freestyle, our customers will be able to have that same amount of control regarding their soft drink purchases.”

According to an April 28, 2009 Coca-Cola press release, the Freestyle will be operated by touch screen and allow consumers to choose from over 100 calorie or no calorie brands. These vary from waters and teas to sparkling beverages previously never sold in the United States.

According to Phillips, California Tortilla plans to install two machines in order to keep up with customer demand. In order to help customers, for the first few weeks there will be an employee stationed by the dispenser to assist users with the machine.

The Cabin John California Tortilla will be one of the first restaurants in Maryland to have the Freestyle and hopes that it will generate a lot of interest.

“I would love to play with the different features on the machine,” frequent California Tortilla customer senior Bharat Bhatia said. “I can’t wait to experiment and try out new flavors.”