Original Coca-Cola recipe supposedly revealed

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.

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

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.

Yes, that’s 30 pounds. As I remember, the amount was questioned/confirmed in the TAL story.

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.

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

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.

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.)

Don’t forget the prune juice.

(Or is that Dr Pepper? :stuck_out_tongue: )

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

Good luck on finding the coca extract. :stuck_out_tongue:

According to the recipe, one part syrup to five parts water.

It’s not really the Coca-Cola recipe.

Now it’s the decocainized extract of coca leafs.


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:

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.

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.

Compare to the other version

You need to multiply the flavoring by 4 to see that it’s the same.

Now, if only someone could tell us what’s in Dr Pepper.

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.

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.

I wonder if the program you heard on NPR was the episode of This American Life mentioned in the OP.