The Tin Whistle

counterculture history and conspiracy theory

Secret recipe for Coca-Cola Revealed

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Coca-Cola is one of the strongest brands in the world, and its Atlanta-based corporation reaps an annual revenue stream of over $30 billion (on sales of one billion drinks per day).

The drink was invented in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton, based on a recipe suggested by his bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, who also created the now-famous logo.

Coca-Cola was first sold to the public at Jacob’s Pharmacy on May 8, 1886. The following year, Asa Chandler bought the formula for $2,300 and began the advertising campaign that led to Coca-Cola becoming the dominant soft drink in the world.

Until 1905, it contained coca extract as well extract of kola nut (which provided the original source of caffeine). With the added jolt of coca leaf extract along with the caffeine, the original drink probably put today’s energy drinks to shame. Although the recipe has been one of the world’s most closely-guarded secrets for 125 years, the secret was eventually revealed.

It seems the original formula inked in a friend of Pemberton’s own handwriting was photographed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1979, and that photograph was eventually uncovered. The recipe has changed many times over the years: the biggest change being the current use of GMO corn syrup in place of the original cane sugar. Those wishing to achieve something closer to the original taste prefer the brand produced in Mexico, as it is made with beet or cane sugar and contains zero high-fructose corn syrup.

The real “secret” in the recipe, however, is the balance of essential plant oils, which has likely changed little since the original formula. The “7X flavor” is a blend of citrus oils with cinnamon, coriander and neroli oil. Neroli oil is the most common scent used in the perfume industry and blends well with citrus. Lime juice and vanilla are also essential ingredients. After this recipe was recently discovered, some researchers whipped up a batch (including some de-cocainized coca leaf) and some of those sampling the results could not distinguish the results from a real Coke, which leads to the conclusion this may very well be the actual original recipe finally uncovered. Maybe this will help some companies to step up to the plate and produce a healthier version of the drink that still maintains the instant addicting taste of the world’s most popular drink.

The recipe:

Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gal
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz
Caramel: 1.5 oz or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol:  8 oz
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops

Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

Written by Steven Hager

February 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

One Response

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  1. Here’s the reaction of a financial website, which poo-poos the discovery as basically “nothing new here, move along,”

    “Even so, Glass and company managed to get hold of some de-cocainized coca leaves and, with the help of the people at Jones’ Sodas, they produced a small batch of Coke that had a medicinal note and tasted like “Froot Loops” or “orange flavored baby aspirin.”

    a later, toned-down recipe got closer to the classic Coke flavor. Then again, as one of the experimenters noted, the basic cola recipe is generally well known. In his 2000 book on Coke, For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast offers a recipe that is remarkably similar to the one Glass and company used. For that matter, Joseph Merory’s 1968 tome Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use also offered a cola recipe that hews closely to NPR’s.”

    See full article from DailyFinance:


    February 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

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