When most people think of a caffeinated soda, they probably think of brown sodas like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Including caffeine in Mello Yello’s ingredient list might even come as a bit of a surprise.
A 12-ounce can of Mello Yello provides about 53 milligrams of caffeine. Mello Yello Zero, a zero-calorie, artificially sweetened version, contains 51 mg.
By comparison, Mountain Dew contains roughly 54 mg. Other sodas vary widely in their caffeine content.
Vault Zero provides as much as 74 mg, while some store-brand caffeinated sodas may have as little as 5 mg.
What is Mello Yello?
Mello Yello is the Coca-Cola company’s answer to PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew. It was introduced in 1979 and can now be found regionally in the United States.
Like Mountain Dew, it’s yellow, citrusy, and relatively high in caffeine.
The Mello Yello line has expanded to include an artificially sweetened version and unique limited-release flavors like a peach.
These flavors (notably Mello Yello Cherry, Mello Yello Peach, Mello Yello Orange, and Mello Yello Limeade) are available in Coca-Cola Freestyle fountains.
What does the original Mello Yello taste like?
Mello Yello is described as having a smooth, refreshing citrus taste. This comes from concentrated orange juice and a bouquet of natural flavors.
The natural flavors keep it from being a purely orange soda, while the orange juice keeps it from being lemon-lime. The result is a lovely, balanced citrusy flavor.
How do Mello Yello’s ingredients compare to other sodas on the market?
According to the brand’s website, Mello Yello’s ingredients are Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, orange juice concentrate, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA, potassium citrate, caffeine, yellow #5, and carob bean gum.
Carbonated water forms the bulk of the beverage, high fructose corn syrup provides sweetness, and concentrated orange juice and natural flavors give it its distinctive flavor.
The remaining ingredients are colorants, preservatives, and thickeners.
All of these are standard for beverages of this type. For example, the only differences between Mello Yello and Mountain Dew are that Mountain Dew replaced the high fructose corn syrup with sugar and uses brominated vegetable oil, gum arabic, and erythorbic acid.
How does Mello Yello compare to naturally caffeinated beverages?
Regarding non-soda options, Mello Yello has more caffeine than green or white tea but less than black tea and coffee.
A cup of green tea can have as little as 12 mg, while coffee clocks in at 80-175 mg.
Is the caffeine in Mello Yello different from that in coffee or tea?
In terms of getting a caffeine buzz, there isn’t a massive difference between imbibing it in soda, coffee, or tea. The main differences come from all of the other ingredients.
If you need caffeine, hit now and then, a non-soda beverage may be a healthier choice. Tea and coffee both contain antioxidants and are naturally very low in calories.
While the ingredients used in Mello Yello are FDA-approved, some people prefer to avoid artificial flavors, preservatives, or colorants.
You control entirely any additives when you brew your coffee or tea.
Research also shows that drinking coffee is correlated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and stroke.
Coffee also provides small amounts of B vitamins, potassium, and manganese.
Is there a caffeine-free Mello Yello?
According to the brand’s website, the only products available outside Coca-Cola Freestyle fountains are the original Mello Yello and Mello Yello Zero. Both these sodas and the fountain flavors contain caffeine.
Can you reduce the caffeine in Mello Yello?
There isn’t a way to cut the caffeine in soda. Unless it’s already sold as a caffeine-free or reduced caffeine option, you can only reduce your overall drink consumption or dilute it with plain carbonated water.
You can limit your consumption of Mello Yello by pouring yourself smaller glasses and drinking them slowly.
Research shows that people tend to consume what’s put in front of them — if you use a smaller glass, forcing you to get up and refill it when it’s empty, you’re likely to drink less.
You can also reduce your intake by simply drinking fewer glasses throughout the day, especially before sleeping or when you know, you’ll be most affected by caffeine.
Plain carbonated water allows you to water down soda without affecting the fizz. You can expect the result to taste lighter and less sweet but still have a similar carbonation level to the original soda.
The proportion of carbonated water to Mello Yello will reduce the caffeine content by a corresponding amount.
For example, mixing six ounces of Mello Yello with six ounces of carbonated water will yield a 12-ounce beverage with about 27 mg of caffeine.
This might be the best option if you’re used to filling up a big travel cup and going about your day.
Mello Yello is a much-loved drink in the areas where it’s available. While it never entirely managed to dominate Mountain Dew’s market, it has some diehard fans.
If you can’t drink caffeine like you used to, you don’t necessarily have to give up your Mello Yello habit. You can space your drinks out, use smaller glasses, or even cut soda with sparkling water.