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View Full Version : Original Coca-Cola recipe supposedly revealed


joebuck20
02-22-2011, 12:49 PM
The producers of This American Life uncovered what they believed to be the original formula for Coca-Cola and made a batch. They ran an episode about it last week.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/427/original-recipe

Anyway here's the recipe, should anyone want to give it a try:

Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 #
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 oil: 5 drops
Neroli oil: 10 drops
Cinnamon oil: 10 drops


By the way does anyone know what the number sign (#) stands for in the line for sugar (Sugar: 30 #). I assume it means pounds, but that seems awfully excessive in relation to the amounts for all the other ingredients.

blondebear
02-22-2011, 12:55 PM
Yes, that's 30 pounds. As I remember, the amount was questioned/confirmed in the TAL story.

Dewey Finn
02-22-2011, 01:06 PM
As for the amount of sugar, a Google search indicates that a 12-oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. If I'm doing the math right, that's 3.25 grams of sugar per ounce of water, or 1040 grams for the 320 ounces in the 2.5 gallons. So I get something like about 2.2 pounds of sugar in that amount of water.

But I'm amused that what they found was in a 1979 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So it's not like it was buried in some archive somewhere. (And does anyone know if that 1979 article is available on the Internet anywhere?)

TravisFromOR
02-22-2011, 01:11 PM
As for the amount of sugar, a Google search indicates that a 12-oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. If I'm doing the math right, that's 3.25 grams of sugar per ounce of water, or 1040 grams for the 320 ounces in the 2.5 gallons. So I get something like about 2.2 pounds of sugar in that amount of water.

But I'm amused that what they found was in a 1979 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So it's not like it was buried in some archive somewhere. (And does anyone know if that 1979 article is available on the Internet anywhere?)

That's the recipe for the syrup, not Coke itself. You add the syrup to carbonated water to make Coke.

antonio107
02-22-2011, 01:13 PM
But I'm amused that what they found was in a 1979 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So it's not like it was buried in some archive somewhere. (And does anyone know if that 1979 article is available on the Internet anywhere?)

I believe that's one of the pay per use archives that uses Proquest. I can't find it through google news, though.

CalMeacham
02-22-2011, 01:13 PM
I have to check how different this is, but Cunningham already revealed what he claims is the Coca Cola formula in his book For God, Country, and Coca Cola, and William Poundstone sleuthed out what he believes to be the recipe in his book Big Secrets. IIRC, the two tally pretty closely.

Also, regarding the recently revealed recipe -- it apparently comes from a notebook of an associate of Pemberton, who came up with the original Coca Cola formula. As Poundstone points out, Asa Candler reformulated it when he took over the company, probably changing one of the acids to phosphoric acid, which I note isn't in the given recipe.


The essential recipe is what has been widely known for a long time - a mixture of citrus oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. The "secret" has really been the blend of other flavors -- coriander, nutmeg, neroli, and (some claim) lavender oils.

Dewey Finn
02-22-2011, 01:17 PM
That's the recipe for the syrup, not Coke itself. You add the syrup to carbonated water to make Coke.
OK, that explains the discrepancy. The recipe in the OP yields something like 2.75 gallons of syrup. How much carbonated water do you have to mix that with?

And I'd like to try this recipe sometime. I'd be curious how it tastes compared to the regular stuff. (It has more caffeine, for one thing.)

TravisFromOR
02-22-2011, 01:17 PM
The essential recipe is what has been widely known for a long time - a mixture of citrus oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. The "secret" has really been the blend of other flavors -- coriander, nutmeg, neroli, and (some claim) lavender oils.

Don't forget the prune juice.

(Or is that Dr Pepper? :p )

antonio107
02-22-2011, 01:19 PM
That's the recipe for the syrup, not Coke itself. You add the syrup to carbonated water to make Coke.

So is it one part syrup to...10 parts soda? 12?

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
02-22-2011, 01:24 PM
And I'd like to try this recipe sometime. I'd be curious how it tastes compared to the regular stuff. (It has more caffeine, for one thing.)

Good luck on finding the coca extract. :p

joebuck20
02-22-2011, 01:30 PM
So is it one part syrup to...10 parts soda? 12?

According to the recipe (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/427/original-recipe), one part syrup to five parts water.

Lakai
02-22-2011, 01:48 PM
It's not really the Coca-Cola recipe. (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Cokes-Secret-Revealed-Take-the-News-With-a-Drop-of-Coriander-Oil-7013)

Good luck on finding the coca extract. :p

Now it's the decocainized extract of coca leafs.

TruCelt
02-22-2011, 02:50 PM
http://www.compra-segura.com/product_info.php?ref=20&products_id=354&affiliate_banner_id=1

Coca Extract = it doesn't mean what you think it does.

Lakai
02-22-2011, 03:33 PM
http://www.compra-segura.com/product_info.php?ref=20&products_id=354&affiliate_banner_id=1

Coca Extract = it doesn't mean what you think it does.

There are different ways get coca extract. The extract in your link obviously doesn't include cocaine. That's not what the Coca-Cola company uses.

From Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/formula.asp):

At least one of the ingredients called for in the recipe would be next to impossible to secure in the U.S. (or to bring into the country): decocainized flavor essence of the coca leaf. As it now stands, only Stepan Co.'s New Jersey plant possesses the necessary DEA permit to import the leaves and remove the cocaine from them.

CalMeacham
02-22-2011, 03:41 PM
The Coca Leaf extract isn't really important. The whole point of the "cola" flavoring was to cover up the bitterness of the caffeine and the coca extract. Without the coca leaf extract (which is lacking the bitter part, since it's de-cocanized), there shouldn't be much difference.


Since the Cola extract has little to do with the flavor, the fact that all the other "Cola" beverages taste a lot like Coca Cola ought to be pretty persuasive proof that the basic recipe has been known to a lot of people for a long time -- Not just Pepsi and RC, but also all those smaller companies and independent bottlers (we had one in my home town) knew it as well.

Exapno Mapcase
02-22-2011, 04:20 PM
I have to check how different this is, but Cunningham already revealed what he claims is the Coca Cola formula in his book For God, Country, and Coca Cola, and William Poundstone sleuthed out what he believes to be the recipe in his book Big Secrets. IIRC, the two tally pretty closely.

For God, Country and Coca-Cola is by Mark Pendergrast, published in 1993.

Here's his version, taken from a notbook belonging to John Pemberton, who developed the original formla.

Citrate Caffein 1 oz.
Ext. Vanilla 1 oz.
Flavoring 2 1/2 oz.
F. E. Coco 4 oz.
Citric Acid 3 oz.
Lime Juice 1 Qt.
Sugar 30 lb.
Water 2 1/2 gal
Caramel sufficient

Mix Caffeine acid and Lime Juice in 1 Qt. boiling water add vanilla and flavoring when cool.

Flavoring

Oil orange 80 drops
Oil Lemon 120 drops
Oil Nutmeg 40 crops
Oil Cinnamon 40 drops
Oil Coriander 20 drops
Oil Neroli 40 drops
Alcohol 1 Qt.
let stand for 24 hours.
Compare to the other version
Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 #
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 oil: 5 drops
Neroli oil: 10 drops
Cinnamon oil: 10 drops
You need to multiply the flavoring by 4 to see that it's the same.

joebuck20
02-23-2011, 03:29 PM
Now, if only someone could tell us what's in Dr Pepper.

sitchensis
02-23-2011, 04:17 PM
I read in an Uncle John's Bathroom reader about an original version of the Dr Pepper recipe being found in a diary purchased in an antique store. The article never printed the recipe and left off with saying that the diary was going to be auctioned off.

Jeff Lichtman
02-23-2011, 07:37 PM
One difference between the formula and today's Coke is that the formula uses citric acid, while modern Coke uses phosphoric acid.

I heard a program on NPR where they took the formula to the Jones Soda Company and had them mix a batch. They said it was pretty bad - that the flavor was extremely fruity. Then someone realized that the oils and extracts are probably a lot purer today than they were in Pemberton's time. They adjusted the formula ro reduce the proportion of oils and extracts and came up with something they said tasted almost like today's Coke.

Dewey Finn
02-23-2011, 07:54 PM
I wonder if the program you heard on NPR was the episode of This American Life mentioned in the OP.

TruCelt
02-24-2011, 06:12 AM
See, to me Coke and Pepsi taste nothing alike. I love coke, can't stand to drink Pepsi. I think it's on of those "Cilantro" things.

I am very surprised to see neroli on the list. I really hate the scent of neroli. Huh.

BigT
02-25-2011, 04:13 AM
See, to me Coke and Pepsi taste nothing alike. I love coke, can't stand to drink Pepsi. I think it's on of those "Cilantro" things.

I am very surprised to see neroli on the list. I really hate the scent of neroli. Huh.

People actually think they taste alike? I mean, I like both, but they taste very different. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the difference.

beagledave
02-25-2011, 10:47 AM
People actually think they taste alike? I mean, I like both, but they taste very different. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the difference.


It's mostly in the mind. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article494057.ece)

Jeff Lichtman
02-25-2011, 01:41 PM
People actually think they taste alike? I mean, I like both, but they taste very different. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the difference.

The flavor of cola is a combination of citrus and spice flavors. Every brand balances these flavors differently. Coke tends to have more spice flavors, while Pepsi has more citrus.

BTW, can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi when I'm paying attention. To me their taste is similar but distinguishable.

Great Antibob
02-25-2011, 02:47 PM
It's mostly in the mind. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article494057.ece)


Your article doesn't state what you think it does.

It states that preferences between Coke and Pepsi are mostly in the mind.

It never states that there is no difference in taste. I might prefer one to the other due to marketing, but that doesn't mean I can't tell the difference in a blind taste test.

CalMeacham
02-25-2011, 02:59 PM
The flavor of cola is a combination of citrus and spice flavors. Every brand balances these flavors differently. Coke tends to have more spice flavors, while Pepsi has more citrus.

As I state above (quoting Poundstone) cola's "fantasia" flavoring is more specifically a mixture of citrus oils (not juices) , vanilla, and cinnamon, with a few other trace flavorings. I wouldn't say that Coke has more spice than Pepsi. I'd agree with Poundstone (who cites other, undefined, authorities) that the main difference is in which citrus oils and trace oils are used. Coke seems to have more orange, Pepsi more lemon. Which might be why Pepsi released its diet version "with lemon" well before Coke released any of its variant flavors.

Analogue Skywalker
02-27-2011, 08:14 PM
There are different ways get coca extract. The extract in your link obviously doesn't include cocaine.

From Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/formula.asp):

From the posted link:
Contains all active elements of coca leaf: flavonoids, Vitamin C & B, esteroids, carotenoides, poliosas, aminoacids, alkaloids, tanine, saponine, mineral resin


When they say alkaloids, one of those alkaloids is infact cocaine. Along with methylecgonine cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine and hygrine.

Lakai
02-27-2011, 08:35 PM
From the posted link:
Contains all active elements of coca leaf: flavonoids, Vitamin C & B, esteroids, carotenoides, poliosas, aminoacids, alkaloids, tanine, saponine, mineral resin


When they say alkaloids, one of those alkaloids is infact cocaine. Along with methylecgonine cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine and hygrine.

How can it be legally sold over the internet if it contains cocaine?

My guess is the distillation method produces an extract with a small but insignificant amount of cocaine in it. The distillation method Coca-Cola uses produces an extract with a lot of cocaine if you don't use decocainized Coca leaves.

The distillation methods have to be different because otherwise there would be no need for Coca-Cola to decocainize the coca leaves if they can simply use the extract that comes from coca leaves under their distillation method.

This isn't the best source, but here is another forum (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=459506) talking about the question. One of the users suggests that "coca leaves are thrown in the low grade spent grape mash which is fermented, then distilled, any cocaine would be in the pot residue and not in the distillate which is what is being sold."

Point is that there are different ways to get coca extract.

Analogue Skywalker
02-27-2011, 08:54 PM
How can it be legally sold over the internet if it contains cocaine?

My guess is the distillation method produces an extract with a small but insignificant amount of cocaine in it. The distillation method Coca-Cola uses produces an extract with a lot of cocaine if you don't use decocainized Coca leaves.

The distillation methods have to be different because otherwise there would be no need for Coca-Cola to decocainize the coca leaves if they can simply use the extract that comes from coca leaves under their distillation method.

This isn't the best source, but here is another forum (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=459506) talking about the question. One of the users suggests that "coca leaves are thrown in the low grade spent grape mash which is fermented, then distilled, any cocaine would be in the pot residue and not in the distillate which is what is being sold."

Point is that there are different ways to get coca extract.

That is website in Peru where coca leaf products are legal. They take the pisco and soak the coca leaves in it to extract the goods and flavor the pisco. The pisco is then used in such wonderful beverages such as the coca sourhttp://mickhuerta.blogspot.com/2009/01/coca-sour.html. Plenty legal in peru. My friend from peru says its delicious. It contains cocaine. Just in small amounts, small but will still keep you up amounts. I wouldnt try to order that product into the states, i know people who have with no problems, and people who have had their shipment seized. Best to error on the side of caution and keep with the laws here in the states, but peru does not have the same restrictive laws on coca leaf products.

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