On this day in science: in 1886, the first batch of Coca Cola was brewed

In 1886, the first batch of
Coca Cola was brewed over a fire in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. John
Pemberton had created the concoction as a cure for “hangover,”
stomach ache and headache. He advertised it as a “brain tonic and intellectual
beverage,” and first sold it to the public a few weeks later on 8 May.
Coke contained cocaine as an ingredient until 1904, when the drug was banned by
Congress.

Coca-Cola was bought out by
businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance
of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The name refers to
two of its original ingredients: kola nuts, a source of caffeine, and coca
leaves. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a
variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.

Use of stimulants in Coca-Cola

Coca – cocaine

Pemberton called for five
ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose; in 1891, Candler
claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton’s original) contained
only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola once contained an estimated nine
milligrams of cocaine per glass. In 1903, it was removed.

After 1904, instead of using
fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using “spent” leaves – the leftovers
of the cocaine-extraction process with trace levels of cocaine. Since then,
Coca-Cola uses a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company
plant in Maywood, New Jersey.

By Zephyris (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://ift.tt/HKkdTz) or GFDL (http://ift.tt/KbUOlc)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
In the United States, the
Stepan Company is the only manufacturing plant authorized by the Federal
Government to import and process the coca plant, which it obtains mainly from
Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring
agent for Coca-Cola, the Stepan Company extracts cocaine from the coca leaves,
which it sells to Mallinckrodt, a St. Louis, Missouri, pharmaceutical
manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify
cocaine for medicinal use.

Long after the syrup had
ceased to contain any significant amount of cocaine, in the southeastern U.S.,
“dope” remained a common colloquialism for Coca-Cola, and
“dope-wagons” were trucks that transported it.

Kola nuts – caffeine

Kola nuts act as a flavoring
and the source of caffeine in Coca-Cola. In Britain, for example, the
ingredient label states “Flavourings (Including Caffeine).” Kola nuts
contain about 2.0 to 3.5% caffeine, are of bitter flavor and are commonly used
in cola soft drinks. In 1911, the U.S. government initiated United States v.
Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, hoping to force Coca-Cola to remove
caffeine from its formula. The case was decided in favor of Coca-Cola.
Subsequently, in 1912, the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act was amended, adding
caffeine to the list of “habit-forming” and “deleterious”
substances which must be listed on a product’s label.

Coca-Cola contains 34 mg of
caffeine per 12 fluid ounces.

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Posted on March 29, 2016, in Useful Information. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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