Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make Your Own Coca Cola

This week Ira Glassman's This American Life (I am sourcing their Facebook page because their homepage has been overwhelmed) has an interesting exploration on Coca Cola - and its taste.

We all know the story that the Coca Cola recipe is a guarded secret because it cannot be replicated. Well, Ira used a published potential original recipe from the Atlanta Journal Constitution to see if he could replicate it.

Here's the recipe I transcribed:

Coco Cola - From 1897

To create the flavor base mix the following:
20 drops Orange Oil
30 drops Lemon Oil
10 drops Nutmeg Oil
5 drops Coriander Oil
10 drops Neroli Oil
10 drops Cinnamon
8 oz Alcohol

In a separate container mix:

2 oz of the Flavor Base
3 oz Citric acid
1 oz Caffeine
2 1/2 Gallons Water
2 pints Lime Juice
1 oz Vanilla
1.5 oz Caramel Coloring
30 lbs sugar
Fluid Extract of Coca (yes - the one with Cocaine)

Ira Glassman had this made up by Jones soda and Sovereign Flavors- only to discover that it is not necessarily about the generic ingredients but the source of the ingredients that can make a difference. And that flavor technology and tastes have come a long way since the 19th century.

In my experience a good flavor technologist can  replicate the taste of Coke - or Pepsi. The guys at RC used to test my taste buds by presenting store bought Coke vs their lab-made sample. I could not pick the difference - and often preferred their lab sample.

Is the above recipe correct? Or an abandoned ancestor? Tough to know. But it also shows that it has become the strength and distribution of the brand that is as or more important as the taste or efficacy off the product.

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