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What's Actually In Coca-Cola?

This is one of the most closely-guarded corporate secrets in the world.

Coca-Cola is one of the most popular drinks in the world, but its recipe is one of the most closely-guarded corporate secrets ever. The soda is widely consumed in practically ever corner of the globe, and yet few people actually know what's in it.

But why?

 

 

The Story of Coke

Coca-Cola was first invented in the late 19th century by Confederate Colonel, John Pemberton, who sought to find a substitute for his morphine addiction. It was originally sold to pharmacies as a brain tonic and medicinal elixir that cured morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, and impotence.

In the following few years, there were several coke-like drinks floating around, until a man named Asa Candler become one of Coca-Cola's first presidents. It was Candler who moved to shroud the drink's recipe in secrety, so that it could never be copied by competitors.

He forbade the recipe from ever being written down, and went through company mail to shred invoices that employees could sell to other soda makers.

Coca-Cola Today

Even today, there are only two people in the world who know the recipe at any given time... and they can never travel on the same plane in case it crashes.

But apparently the recipe has been hiding in plain sight, for all these years.

It turns out that John Pemberton shared his recipe with a friend, who jotted it down in a leathbound recipe book of medicines — which was passed down by the family for generations. The recipe surfaced in 1979, as an illustration for an article on the history of Coca-Cola that was published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Coke's hometown). This American Life tracked down the newspaper column, and published the original recipe for all to see.

The Recipe

Want to know? Here, quench that curiosity:

4 oz FE Coca
3 oz Citric Acid
1 oz Caffeine
30 lbs Sugar

2 ½ gallons Water
1 quart Lime Juice
1 ounce Vanilla
Caramel

7X Flavor
1 quart Alcohol
80 drops Orange Oil
120 drops Lemon Oil
40 drops Nutmeg Oil
20 drops Coriander Oil
40 drops Neroli Oil
40 drops Cinnamon Oil

Now, it must be mentioned that this was the original, 132 year-old recipe, and it's probably not exactly what the brand uses today.

So... Does It Have Cocaine?

Pemberton used the fluid extract of coca leaves in his recipe (notice: FE Coca, above), but Coca-Cola stopped using it in 1903. The company does however use coca leaves after they've been "de-cocainized".

So there you have it.

Love coke? Here are 70 unexpectedly delicious ways to cook with a can of coke!

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