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In the News: Original Coca-Cola Recipe Revealed


| 2/17/2011 4:22:00 PM


L.HoltLast week "This American Life" revealed what they believe to be the original secret Coca Cola recipe. It’s an American staple and a closely-guarded secret, so of course the media have jumped all over it. There’s a written copy locked in a vault in Atlanta, Georgia and only two living people know it at any one time, so it’s bound to cause some waves—even if Coca Cola denies that it actually is their secret recipe. On the other hand, many an international traveler (or international shopper) can tell you that Coke tastes different depending on where you buy it—usually due to the form of sugar used to sweeten it. The constant, and presumably what makes coke Coca Cola, is in the 7X flavoring formula that reportedly “constitutes the drink’s backbone.” And according to "This American Life," that formula is a mixture of fruit and herbal essential oils. 

2-17-2011-4
The Coca-Cola Company is fiercly secretive about their principal formula.
Photo by Asta Adamonyte/ Courtesy Flickr
 

Cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, neroli, orange and lemon oil make up the core of the flavoring. From an herbal perspective these ingredients may add more than just flavor to the drink. Cinnamon can help to control blood sugar levels and both memory function and the speed of visual-motor skills. Nutmeg oil also stimulates brain function and circulation, as well as soothing indigestion. Coriander can be used to help lower blood pressure levels and improve blood-sugar levels. Neroli oil is produced from blossoms of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. amara or Bigaradia), and smells similar to the more familiar bergamot found in Earl Grey tea. According to a study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, it has traditionally been used to ease anxiety and increase circulation. Many of these herbs and spices are also traditional aphrodisiacs.

By no means do these benefits make coke a healthy drink, but if this recipe is even close to the current Coca Cola 7X formula I have to wonder how much of the drink’s famous stimulant effects are due entirely to caffeine. And perhaps the hypnotism of the Coca Cola marketing campaign over the years has been aided in some way by the pleasing and relaxing effects of these herbal essential oils on the consumer body—after all, any drink that can help you feel calmer and more productive at the same time is bound to be popular in an increasingly stress-prone populous.

Or maybe it is just the caffeine: this potential original recipe contains five times the caffeine of modern sodas and did originally contain coca that had not been stripped of cocaine (a procedure that wasn’t put into practice until 1903).



If you want to try making this coke recipe for yourself, or if you want to try the flavors without the carbonation and 30 pounds of sugar, you can view the full ingredient list and directions here. Be careful to select only food-grade ingredients as you assemble the syrup and 7X flavoring formula, and know that obtaining the no-cocaine coca may prove difficult. Also note that today’s essential oils are often much stronger than those used in the original formula 125 years ago, so it is recommended that the 7X flavoring be reduced by 75 percent to preserve your tastebuds. "This American Life" insists that they can make no gaurantees as to the safety or tastiness of the recipe's results, though they did try it themselves.



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