Coca-Cola formula

A glass of Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola formula is The Coca-Cola Company's secret recipe for Coca-Cola. As a publicity, marketing, and intellectual property protection strategy started by Robert W. Woodruff, the company presents the formula as a closely held trade secret known only to a few employees, mostly executives.


Original formula

Published versions say it contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca extract, kola nut extract, lime extract, vanilla and glycerin. Alleged syrup recipes vary greatly. The basic “cola” taste from Coca-Cola and competing cola drinks comes mainly from vanilla and cinnamon; distinctive tastes among various brands are the result of trace flavorings such as orange, lime and lemon and spices such as nutmeg.[1] Some natural colas also include cola nut; Coca-Cola does not, and chemical testing reveals none.[2]

To this day, Coca-Cola uses a United States license to purify the coca leaf for medicinal use.[3]

Because cocaine is naturally present in coca leaves, today's Coca-Cola uses "spent," or treated, coca leaves, those that have been through a cocaine extraction process, to flavor the beverage. The coca leaves are imported from countries like Peru and Bolivia, and they are treated by chemical company Stepan, which then sells the de-cocainized residue to Coca-Cola.[4] Some contend that this process cannot extract all of the cocaine alkaloids at a molecular level, and so the drink still contains trace amounts of the stimulant.[1][5] The Coca-Cola Company currently refuses to comment on the continued presence of coca leaf in Coca-Cola.[6][7]

A court case in Antalya, Turkey, mentioned cochineal dye in Coca-Cola, but the company denies it currently uses the dye.[8][9]

Other formulae

In the United States, Coca-Cola normally uses high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar as its main sweetener, due to the combined effect of corn subsidies and sugar import tariffs making HFCS substantially cheaper. There are two main sources of sugar-based Coca-Cola in the United States:

Kosher Coca-Cola

Kosher Coca-Cola produced for Passover is sold in 2-liter bottles with a yellow cap marked with an OU-P, indicating that the Orthodox Jewish Union certifies the soda as Kosher for Passover, or with a white cap with a CRC-P indicating that the certification is provided by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.

While the usual Coca-Cola formula is kosher (the original glycerin from beef tallow having been replaced by vegetable glycerin), during Passover Ashkenazi Jews do not consume Kitniyot, which prevents them from consuming high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).[10]

Even sugar-based formulae would still require certification of both the formula and the specific bottling plant, as the strictures of Kashrut on Passover are far higher and more complicated than usual kosher observance.

Mexican Coca-Cola

In the United States, there is strong demand from Latin-American immigrant customers for the Coke they drank "back home", so Mexican sugar-based Coca-Cola in traditional contour bottles is sold in ethnic markets. In recent times, a cult following has emerged amongst younger Coke drinkers who believe this to be the pre-New Coke original formula. The company advises people seeking a sugar-based Coca-Cola to buy "Mexican Coke".[11]

Coca-Cola commercial

On January 23, 2011, during an NFL commercial, Coca-Cola teased that they would share the secret formula only to flash a comical "formula" for a few frames. This required the use of DVR to freeze on the formula for any analysis, which ultimately proved to be a marketing ploy with no intention of sharing the full official formula. Ingredients listed in the commercial: Nutmeg Oil, Lime Juice, Cocoa, Vanilla, Caffeine, "flavoring", and a smile.

Purported secret recipes

Pemberton recipe

This recipe is attributed to a diary owned by Coca-Cola inventor, John S. Pemberton, just before his death in 1888. (U.S. measures).[12]

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 oz (28 g) caffeine citrate
    • 3 oz (85 g) citric acid
    • 1 US fl oz (30 ml) vanilla extract
    • 1 US qt (946 ml; 33 imp fl oz) lime juice
    • 2.5 oz (71 g) "flavoring," i.e., "Merchandise 7X"
    • 30 lb (14 kg) sugar
    • 4 US fl oz (118.3 ml) powder extract of cocaine (decocainized flavor essence of the coca leaf).
    • 2.5 US gal (9.5 l; 2.1 imp gal) water
    • caramel sufficient
  • "Mix caffeine acid and lime juice in 1 quart boiling water add vanilla and flavoring when cool."
  • Flavoring (Merchandise 7X):
  • "Let stand 24 hours."

This recipe does not specify when or how the ingredients are mixed, or the flavoring oil quantity units of measure (though it implies that the "Merchandise 7X" was mixed first). This was common in recipes at the time, as it was assumed that preparers knew the method.

Reed recipe

This recipe is attributed to pharmacist John Reed.[13][14]

  • 30 lb (14 kg) sugar
  • 2 US gal (7.6 l; 1.7 imp gal) water
  • 1 US qt (950 ml; 33 imp fl oz) lime juice
  • 4 oz (110 g) citrate of caffeine
  • 2 oz (57 g) citric acid
  • 1 US fl oz (30 ml) extract of vanilla
  • 3/4 US fl oz (22.18 ml) fluid extract of kola nut
  • 3/4 US fl oz (22.18 ml) fluid extract of coca

Merory recipe

Recipe is from Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use. Makes one 1 US gallon (3.8 l; 0.83 imp gal) of syrup. Yield (used to flavor carbonated water at 1 US fl oz (30 ml) per bottle): 128 bottles, 6.5 US fl oz (190 ml).[15]

  • Mix 5 lb (2.3 kg) of sugar with just enough water to dissolve the sugar fully. (High-fructose corn syrup may be substituted for half the sugar.)
  • Add 1+14 oz (35 g) of caramel, 110 oz (3 g) caffine, and 25 oz (11 g) phosphoric acid.
  • Extract the cocaine from 58 drachms (1.1 g) of coca leaf (Truxillo growth of coca preferred) with toluol; discard the cocaine extract.
  • Soak the coca leaves and kola nuts (both finely powdered); 15 drachms (0.35 g) in 34 oz (21 g) of 20% alcohol.
  • California white wine fortified to 20% 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 1 oz (28 g) 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
    • 14 drachms (0.44 g) orange oil,
    • 110 drachms (0.18 g) cassia (Chinese cinnamon) oil,
    • 12 drachms (0.89 g) lemon oil, traces of
    • 25 drachms (0.71 g) nutmeg oil, and, if desired, traces of
    • coriander,
    • neroli, and
    • lavender oils.
  • Add 110 oz (2.8 g) water to the oil mixture and let stand for twenty-four hours at about 60 °F (16 °C). A cloudy layer will separate.
  • Take off the clear part of the liquid only and add the syrup.
  • Add 710 oz (20 g) glycerine (from vegetable source, not hog fat, so the drink can be sold to Jews and Muslims who observe their respective religion's dietary restrictions) and 310 drachms (0.53 g) of vanilla extract.
  • Add water (treated with chlorine) to make a gallon of syrup.

This American Life recipe

On February 11, 2011, Ira Glass revealed on his PRI radio show, This American Life, that the secret formula to Coca-Cola had been uncovered in "Everett Beal's Recipe Book," reproduced in the February 28, 1979, issue of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The formula found basically matched the formula found in Pemberton's diary.[16][17][18] The recipe revealed contains:[19]

  • Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
  • Citric acid: 3 oz
  • Caffeine: 1 oz
  • Sugar: 30 lbs
  • 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):

  • Orange oil: 20 drops
  • Cinnamon oil: 10 drops
  • Lemon oil: 30 drops
  • Coriander oil: 5 drops
  • Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
  • Neroli oil: 10 drops

See also


  1. ^ a b Poundstone, William (1983), Big Secrets, William Morrow, ISBN 0-688-04830-7 
  2. ^ Catherine Meyers. "How Natural Is Your Cola?". Science NOW. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  3. ^ Benson, Drew (19 April 2004), "Coca kick in drinks spurs export fears", The Washington Times  "Coke dropped cocaine from its recipe around 1900, but the secret formula still calls for a cocaine-free coca extract produced at a Stepan Co. factory in Maywood, New Jersey. Stepan buys about 100 metric tons of dried Peruvian coca leaves each year, said Marco Castillo, spokesman for Peru's state-owned National Coca Co."
  4. ^ Rensselaer W. Lee III (1991). The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power. A Foreign Policy Research Institute book (reprinted ed.). Transaction Publishers. pp. 24–25. ISBN 1560005653, 9781560005650. 
  5. ^ Rielly, Edward J. (7 August 2003), Baseball and American Culture: Across the Diamond, Haworth Press, ISBN 0-7890-1485-8 
  6. ^ Langman, Jimmy (October 30, 2006), "Just Say Coca", Newsweek on,, retrieved 2007-05-05 
  7. ^ Ceaser, Mike (1 February 2006), Colombian farmers launch Coke rivals, Nasa Indian territory, Colombia: BBC News,, retrieved 2009-04-27 
  8. ^ "Coca-Cola Reveals Formula Secret, Made of Scale Insect,", January 22, 2009, accessed February 5, 2010.
  9. ^ Products and Packaging Myths and Rumors - Cochineal, The Coca-Cola Company, accessed February 5, 2010.
  10. ^ American Jewish Historical Society: Beyond Seltzer Water: The Kashering of Coca-Cola from Chapters in American Jewish History
  11. ^
  12. ^ Mark Pendergrast, For God, Country and Coca-Cola, 2nd ed. Basic Books, 2000, ISBN 9780465054688, pp. 456-57.
  13. ^ "John Reed & the Coke Formula". Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  14. ^ Terry, Sue (August 1, 2005), A Rich Deliciously Satisfying Collection of Breakfast Recipes, My Best Book Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1932586435 
  15. ^ Merory, Joseph (1968). Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: AVI Publishing. 
  16. ^ Katie Rogers, "'This American Life' bursts Coca-Cola's bubble: What's in that original recipe, anyway?," Washington Post BlogPost, February 15, 2011, retrieved February 16, 2011.
  17. ^ Brett Michael Dykes, "Did NPR’s ‘This American Life’ discover Coke’s secret formula?," The Lookout, Yahoo! News, February 15, 2011.
  18. ^ David W. Freeman, "'This American Life' Reveals Coca-Cola's Secret Recipe (Full Ingredient List)," CBS News Healthwatch blogs, February 15, 2011.
  19. ^ The Recipe and image (pdf), This American Life.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coca Cola Corporation — was an Atlanta, Georgia company, the first large scale manufacturer and marketer of beverages based on the Coca Cola formula, and closely related to The Coca Cola Company, the corporation that took on that role by 1900 and became a worldwide… …   Wikipedia

  • Coca-Cola — This article is about the beverage. For its manufacturer, see The Coca Cola Company. Coca Cola Classic redirects here. For the NCAA football game, see Coca Cola Classic (college football). Coca Cola …   Wikipedia

  • Coca-Cola Zero — Type Diet Cola Manufacturer The Coca Cola Company Country of origin United States …   Wikipedia

  • Coca-Cola with Lime — Coca Cola with Lime/Diet Coke with Citrus Zest Type Lime flavored, Citrus flavoured cola Cola Manufacturer The Coca Cola Company Country of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Coca-Cola Kid (video game) — Coca Cola Kid Box art Developer(s) Aspect[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Fórmula de la Coca-Cola — Un vaso con Coca Cola. La fórmula de la Coca Cola es el nombre con que se conoce a la receta secreta usada para elaborar la Coca Cola. La em …   Wikipedia Español

  • Coca-Cola — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Coca-Cola Company — The Coca Cola Company Pour la boisson, voir la page Coca Cola. Pour l entreprise de distribution de boisson, voir la page Coca Cola Enterprises Logo de The Coca Cola Company Création …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coca-Cola Company, The — ▪ American company       American corporation founded in 1892 and today engaged primarily in the manufacture and sale of syrup and concentrate for Coca Cola, a sweetened, carbonated beverage that is a cultural institution in the United States and …   Universalium

  • Coca-Cola Co. — Empresa estadounidense conocida por fabricar el jarabe y el concentrado para la gaseosa Coca Cola, la bebida de marca más popular del mundo. Coca Cola fue inventada como tónico por John S. Pemberton (n. 1831–m. 1888), farmacéutico de Atlanta, Ga …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.