Coca Cola Concentrate

Description / Application

Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke (a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company in the United States since March 27, 1944). Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, 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 company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold territorially exclusive contracts with the company, produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise Coca-Cola to retail stores and vending machines. Such bottlers include Coca-Cola Enterprises, which is the largest single Coca-Cola bottler in North America and western Europe. The Coca-Cola Company also sells concentrate for soda fountains to major restaurants and food service distributors.

The Coca-Cola Company has, on occasion, introduced other cola drinks under the Coke brand name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, with others including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime or coffee.

The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, by John Pemberton, originally as a coca wine called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a European coca wine.

In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a non-alcoholic version of French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal.


When launched, Coca-Cola’s two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola (the “K” in Kola was replaced with a “C” for marketing purposes).

Coca – cocaine
Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose. However, in 1891 the formula contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola once contained an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass.

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. Coca-Cola now uses a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.

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.

Kola nuts – caffeine
Kola nuts act as a flavouring 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 flavour 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 (9.8 mg per 100 ml).

Coca-Cola 375 mL cans – 24 pack (AU)


  • Carbonated water
  • Sugar (sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup depending on country of origin)
  • Caffeine
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Caramel colour (E150d)
  • Natural flavourings

A can of Coke (12 fl ounces/355 ml) has 39 grams of carbohydrates (all from sugar, approximately 10 teaspoons), 50 mg of sodium, 0 grams fat, 0 grams potassium, and 140 calories.]

Coca-Cola formula of natural flavourings
The exact formula of Coca-Cola’s natural flavourings (but not its other ingredients, which are listed on the side of the bottle or can) is a trade secret. The original copy of the formula was held in SunTrust Bank’s main vault in Atlanta for 86 years. Its predecessor, the Trust Company, was the underwriter for the Coca-Cola Company’s initial public offering in 1919. On December 8, 2011, the original secret formula was moved from the vault at SunTrust Banks to a new vault containing the formula which will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta.

A popular myth states that only two executives have access to the formula, with each executive having only half the formula. The truth is that while Coca-Cola does have a rule restricting access to only two executives, each knows the entire formula and others, in addition to the prescribed duo, have known the formulation process.

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 a 1979 newspaper. The formula found basically matched the formula found in Pemberton’s diary.

Open source cola is any cola soft drink, produced according to an open sourced recipe. Unlike the famously secretive Coca-Cola formula, these recipes are openly published and their re-use is encouraged. The OpenCola and Cube-Cola recipes are published under the Gnu Public License.

Like many soft drinks, the colas are produced as a flavour concentrate or syrup that is then mixed with bulk ingredients to produce the drink. The complicated, expensive and difficult to obtain flavourings are in the syrup. Completed flavour concentrates are sold by some of the open cola producers.

The bulk ingredients include those such as sweeteners (sugar or artificial), caffeine and the source of acidity, phosphoric or Citric Acid. As these are added later, after the complicated flavour blending stage, it is easy to tailor the sugar or caffeine levels per batch to a market’s particular taste.

Coca-Cola’s own flavouring syrup is known in-house as “Merchandise 7X”. Variations on this name are often referred to in the open recipes.

A typical recipe is based on eight Essential Oils.
in approximate order of decreasing volume)

  • orange oil
  • lime oil
  • cassia oil
  • lemon oil
  • nutmeg oil
  • coriander oil
  • lavender oil
  • neroli oil

These are based on the ‘Pemberton formula’. Although claimed as the Coca-Cola recipe, this has been denied by the Coca-Cola corporation. One ingredient that is missing from these recipes is the eponymous kola nut.

The use of lavender oil is considered something of a personal taste. Neroli is frequently omitted altogether, owing to its high cost and relatively small contribution to the overall flavour. Neroli alone may represent a third of the concentrate ingredients cost.

As well as the basic list of flavouring ingredients, there are other ingredients such as Gum Arabic and a considerable degree of ‘art’ in its manufacture. The precise quality and sourcing of ingredients makes an appreciable difference, particularly in the process of emulsifying the concentrate. Small quantities of alcohol may be used to facilitate this process; as an open recipe, this is under the control of the manufacturer who may avoid such ingredients if halal or similar rules would require it.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Usually shipped in drums. Normally carries well but can deteriorate rapidly upon exposure if containers become damaged. Susceptible to damage by high temperatures.