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Coca-Cola formula

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Although only a few folks at Coca-Cola know the current, authentic Coca-Cola Formula, many reverse-engineering[?] aficionados have speculated on how to concoct 'genuine' Coca-Cola syrup in your own kitchen. Alleged recipes vary and the formula has changed over the decades; published accounts suggest it contains (or once contained) the following: sugar, caramel, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca leaf and cola nut extract, lime juice or oil, flavoring mixture, vanilla and originally glycerin (but not any more).

Table of contents

Alleged Syrup Recipe Number One

attributed to a sheet of paper found in an old formulary book owned by Coca-Cola inventor, John S. Pemberton, just before his death:
  1 oz. Citrate Caffeine
  3 oz. Citric Acid
  1 oz. Extract Vanilla
  1 Qt. Lime Juice
  2 1/2 oz. Flavoring
  30 lbs. Sugar
  4 oz. fluid extract of Coca (decocainized flavor essence of the coca leaf)
  2 1/2 gal. Water
  Caramel sufficient
  80 Oil Orange
  40 Oil Cinnamon
  120 Oil Lemon
  20 Oil Coriander
  40 Oil Nutmeg
  40 Oil Neroli
  1 Qt. Alcohol

Mix Caffeine Acid and Lime Juice in 1 quart boiling water add vanilla and flavoring when cool. Let stand for 24 hours. Flavoring is likely a mixture orange oil, lemon, nutmeg oil, cinnamon oil, coriander oil, neroli oil and 1 quart of alcohol. This recipe does not specify when sugar, coca caramel or when to add the rest of the water.

Alleged Syrup Recipe Number Two

attributed to pharmacist John Reed
  30 pounds of sugar
  2 gallons of water
  2 pints of lime juice
  4 ounces of citrate of caffeine
  2 ounces of citric acid
  1 ounce of extract of vanilla
  6 drams (3/4 ounce) of fluid extract of cola
  6 drams of fluid extract of coca

Alleged Syrup Recipe Number Three

from Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use (2nd Ed.) 1968 by Joseph Merory[?] (AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, CT)

Makes one gallon of syrup. "Mix 2,400 grams of sugar with just enough water to dissolve (high-fructose corn syrup may be substituted for half the sugar). Add 37 grams of caramel, 3.1 grams of caffeine, and 11 grams of phosphoric acid. Extract the cocaine from 1.1 grams of coca leaf (Truxillo growth of coca preferred) with toluol[?]; discard the cocaine extract. Soak the coca leaves and kola nuts (both finely powdered; 0.37 gram of kola nuts) in 22 grams of 20 percent alcohol. California white wine fortified to 20 percent strength was used as the soaking solution circa 1909, but Coca-Cola may have switched to a simple water/alcohol mixture. After soaking, discard the coca and kola and add the liquid to the syrup. Add 30 grams of lime juice (a former ingredient, evidently, that Coca-Cola now denies) or a substitute such as a water solution of citric acid and sodium citrate at lime-juice strength. Mix together 0.88 gram of lemon oil, 0.47 gram of orange oil, 0.20 gram of cassie (Chinese cinnamon) oil. 0.07 gram of nutmeg oil, and, if desired, traces of coriander, lavender, and neroli oils[?], and add to 4.9 grams of 95 percent alcohol. Shake. Add 2.7 grams of water to the alcohol/oil mixture and let stand for twenty-four hours at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit [15.5 C]. A cloudy layer will separate. Take off the clear part of the liquid only and add the syrup. Add 19 grams of glycerine (from vegetable source, not hog fat, so the drink can be sold to Orthodox Jews and Moslems) and 1.5 grams of vanilla extract. Add water (treated with chlorine) to make 1 gallon of syrup. Yield (used to flavor carbonated water): 128 6.5-ounce bottles."

New Coke 1985

In an enormous marketing blunder, Coke launched New Coke[?] in April 23, 1985, and the public instantly rejected it. They probably reduced the citrus oils (lime oil and orange oil), which in the old formula masked its sweet taste. Thus, New Coke tasted much sweeter, perhaps more like Pepsi.

Formula History and Background

William Poundstone[?] in his 1983 book Big Secrets ISBN 0-688-04830-7 devotes chapter three (18 pages) to the Coca-Cola formula.

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