12 BIZARRE CURIOSITIES ABOUT COCA COLA
If there is one thing that will never go out of fashion, it is our beloved fizzy drinks, with their sugary flavors and their thousand “super powers” that stimulate us and make us feel perky and awake. Whether it’s for the massive marketing and trade strategy behind our passion for soft drinks, or for the special place we reserve for it in our hearts for every happy party and event we spent with our family or friends, gulping down liters of it, it is and remains a truth.
We have already talked about many of these soft drinks and their secrets and curiosities in this article, but we could only dedicate a special one to one of the queens of sodas, Coca Cola.
Fresh and ineluctable, this drink is a nice dark brown color if you pay attention to it, even if for everyone it remains the ultimate black drink.
As for the first part, and without wasting any more time, let’s go and discover what fun the history and fame of Coca Cola can offer us.
1) HAS THE ORIGINAL COCA COLA ALWAYS BEEN GREEN?
We always remember this drink not only for its sweet and effervescent taste but above all for its famous and consolidated dark brown color which is now an indelible brand that has distinguished itamong the countless soft drinks on the market.
Among the many ranges of colors, from the orange of the Fanta to the yellowish of the Schweppes, the blackish of the Cola beats them all in exuberance.
But has Coca Cola always been this color? Well yes. Did you expect anything else?
Unfortunately there is no original version of the green color of hope…
This is a normal and very widespread conception about Coca Cola, which probably originated from the coloring of some of the older bottles, which were green, and could give the impression that the drink had that color.
There were times, in fact, at the beginning of the production and sale of this soft drink and before it became a global product and phenomenon as famous as it is now, where producers had to make use their promotional skills inorder to ensure that their delicious product could be successful among customers.
The recipe is composed of various ingredients, some not really healthy as we will see later, but the fundamental one is the “caramel“, used not as a sweetener as you might think, but as a food coloring, which makes the drink of that so characteristic brownish color.
And you are wondering, why the brown color, in its anonymous and unpleasant personality, was chosen to conquer the eyes and palates of the people?
It should be known that in those days, another type of drink was very popular: tea. And this product, stolen from China by the British unable to let this elixir escape from the lands of Asia, had now become an integral part of the lifestyle of the people, who even drank it as a tradition (So much so that our perception of tea is mainly linked to the culture of the UK and not China).
So that the brown color of the tea inevitably approached that of Coca Cola, which soon became a success. Or so they tell.
2) COLA AND COCA
Surely you would have wondered at some time, reading the label of the bottle of Coca Cola in those brief and idiosyncratic moments of boredom, why they chose this curious name to define the brand and where it derived, perhaps, the first assumption that came to mind for the word coca was “coca” as it is known on the streets and a little everywhere; that substance known by the common name of cocaine. But surely this couldn’t be the origin, could it?
And here’s the revelation: Coca Cola, in its initial recipe, actually contained cocaine, and hence the name.
The shock is understandable, but it is appropriate to attach some explanations to this, not to play down the fact but to contextualize it.
In the not so distant 1885, Coca Cola was far from being the friendly companion of today’s parties, first of all because its use was restricted to the medicinal one.
Yes, you read that right. The Coca Cola was a medicine in its beginnings. You can use it as an excuse the next time someone tells you that you are drinking too much of it.
The name in fact emphasized its main ingredients: coca, extracted “probably” from coca leaves (I say probably because the complete recipe is conveniently a secret of the company), and cola from the nuts of the kola plant. These respectively conferred the doping effect of cocaine and the energizing effect of caffeine to a syrup capable of revitalizing anyone, even the dead…
It is not that it surprises us so much though, you will agree with me that many modern syrups and medicines such as those for coughs for example, bring us a lot of strong substances, that between being sick and the medicine itself, we all feel like drug addicts in a dissociated state. Certainly not as cheerful as the people of 1900, but close enough.
Undoubtedly interesting to note that in that historical period, society was much more worried that people would fall victim to alcoholism, and therefore had no grudges against all other “entertainment” that did not include alcoholic beverages, giving the free pass to “recreational drugs” and other extravagances of the time, if we want to call them that.
Strange how social concepts twist nonsensically as the years pass, right? And we still listening to them nonetheless.
The drugs were not frowned upon as now, and it was more regrettable the alcohol than some “natural” substances, so their use was exquisitely abused.
Respectable people didn’t drink, but taking drugs was common and even useful.
And get a shot of Coca Cola took on a completely different meaning.
The Coca Cola was the remedy for the ills and the elixir that brought the smile on your face and made you feel at the “top”.
Now we can finally understand those commercials so exalted by the actors who, when they drink it, seem over-excited and euphoric. The real recipe would have generated the same effect on us too, I assure you.
Obviously, when the fickle society of those times realized that drugs might not be such a good alternative to alcohol addiction, the restrictions began and it was here that the Coca Cola Company, ecstatic by the speed with which people fell desirous of their dark elixir thanks to the help of coke, they certainly took this sudden and inconvenient change of morality badly.
We can say that, according to some, they were reluctant to its elimination from the drink because without it the label of “Coca”-“Cola” lost its meaning and with it its economic power that had taken in those years, but we all know that it was more a question of the fact that they did not want to detach customers from the addiction to their product that they had so easily obtained.
Unfortunately they had to give up sooner or later because they saw that people were starting to be more “conscientious” at least in these public aspects, but they resisted until 1929 before finally eliminating it.
They probably saw that it was inevitable, or they saw that with the right manipulation of the masses and global sales strategy, they could very well do without physical addiction, and devote themselves to the social and psychological one, more profitable, politically correct and much more difficult to abandon.
And perhaps they also noticed that sugar addictionwas a much heavier, dangerous and more habit-forming drug than cocaine itself…
3) COCA COLA NUDE
The amber brown color of Coca Cola depends on a particular color additive, a special caramel compound (which we explore in curiosity number 9), but without this, our beloved drink would stop being blackish and would have no color at all, very normal like any sparkling water from the supermarket.
If you are curious to see it “natural” however, and you happen to be in Asia, do not forget to go and look for Coca Cola Clear on the shelves, the version of the drink without any color but with the same sugary taste that distinguishes it.
Of course you don’t expect much, because the appearance will be that of a sparkling water, but you will certainly be surprised to taste the familiar flavor, which is exactly the same as the original.
It was originally made in Japan, but can also be found in China and Taiwan if you’re around there too.
A historical fact concerning this Clear version of Coca Cola is the particular historical attention it received together with the Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov in the period of the Second World War, who seeing the great success that the drink was obtaining all over the world, he decided to try it too.
Unfortunately for political reasons, Coca Cola had inevitably become an American symbol, and he could not afford to be seen promoting American propaganda during political debates.
So he took advantage of the version without caramel, the Coca Cola White, or the modern Clear version.
4) COCA SYRUP
As we have said, Coca Cola was in its beginnings patented as a medicine, and although it is strange for us to associate it as such as we are used to seeing it as a soft drink, it was literally sold in all pharmacies in the United States as a syrup for the throat and other ailments, and given the substances of which it was composed at the time, this syrup with caffeine and cocaine helped to soothe any pain and apprehension, and thanks to its very high addiction rate, it even managed to decrease the morphine addition, which was then another of the drugs in vogue, even managing to replace it almost completely among the population.
The original version of the recipe, but without the drugs ofcourse, can still be bought today in Atlanta for a dollar an ounce.
5) A “LATE” INVENTION
Surely the idea of making a cocktail of drugs that inhibited pains and accelerated the minds and then commercialize it, was a very ingenious conceptif you think about it, but even if they exploited it very well, in reality this invention did not belong to the Coca Cola Company.
It could be said that they were “inspired” in part by the French, who had long before discovered that the exceptional qualities of cocaine werewell combined with the stunning qualities ofalcohol, in particular obviously those of the wine they appreciated so much, to create an explosive mix not really “light”.
And just think that, in 1884, a year before the Coca Cola Company made its corporate debut, the Spanish company Kola Coca was created, with their main product made with kola nuts for caffeine. Coca Cola acquired itlater in 1953 to cover the tracks.
6) A GAZZOSA BEFORE GOING TO BED
If we analyze the history of fizzy drinks, we will notice that many of the most popular brands were born as medicines, sold in pharmacies to children and the elderly, and not only Coca Cola but also drinks like Seven Up and Pepsi have a rather controversial past in this aspect.
So it was normal at the time to think that these effervescent “drinks” with such “beneficial” effects, were even good for the body, and were therefore administered to patients and sick people.
Often when you felt heavy on your stomach these were used as a natural digestive and as a homemade medicine.
Now with all the careful studies that have been made, we know very well the reason for their advantageous virtues, since the countless substances they contained within them were unique in their kind, and not really unobjectionable nowadays because they alter the psychic state; the commonly called drugs.
7) THE SECRET RECIPE OF COCA COLA
The entire hegemony of the multinational on the soft drinks on the market is based on the ingredients of Coca Cola, and it is normal if we think about it, that they wanted to keep it secret to reserve exclusivity on the product.
As far as we know, the grandeur of this drink is reduced to normal water, to carbon dioxide that gives it the effervescence, to sugar or other sweetener depending on the light zero version, etc., a little phosphoric acid, the colorant e150d (also referred to as ammonia sulfite caramel), the obvious amount of caffeine, and natural flavors.
That’s all. So what’s stopping us from making our artisanal Coca Cola at home, you ask?
Well, as you may have noticed, of all the ingredients that I have listed, in the last one I was a bit vague.
In that innocent and simple denomination of “natural flavors” lies the key to Coca Cola, as the 7x aroma resides in it.
The 7x aroma presumably consists of the extract of coca leaves, which is still used today in modern Coca Cola, created by the Stepan Company exclusively for our CC company.
Obviously the dopant present in it is removed entirely in its refining process.
Even the measures with which these ingredients are mixed together is not known to us, so we understand that the trick lies in the dilution of sparkling water and secret syrup that is produced only by the parent company.
It is said that whoever manages to master the arcane dosages, will be able to obtain a power that is granted to a few mortals, and an era of peace and prosperity will reign over all creation.
8) THE RIPPING OF “NATURAL FLAVORS”
Among the many unethical things that companies and multinationals throw at us simply by buying few things at the supermarket, one of our “rights” that we are granted as consumers should be to know what we are buying, at such high prices too. What a blatant and unreasonable request, right?
Despite them it has been accepted as valid (again for this shaky superficial morality that society adheres to according to the mood of the decade), and Coca Cola, like all food and non-food products, are technically obliged to make public and available to us the list of the composition of their products, so that consumers can know the chemical characteristics and the possible effect when taking them (see allergies, diets or health problems related to them, etc.).
So how come many products that are sold legally, as is the case with Coca Cola, can come out unscathed with the discovery of the mysterious natural aromas?
It is a legal obligation, but we know very well that the law does not apply to everyone; not for those who can find a way to cheat it.
In fact, there is a way. There is always.
And even those of Coca Cola, like everyone in the market, have not wasted time in using it.
Just publish the “standard” and non-controversial ingredients in plain sight on the label, and limit yourself to naming with “natural flavors” all those secret and not convenient ingredients whose use can be limited.
Because for the flavorings it happens that transparency with the consumer is not legally required.
So, it was enough to call them aromasto everything that you don’t want to include in the public recipe.
What a cool idea, don’t you think?
9) THE THOUSAND SECRETS OF COCA COLA
Speaking again on the ingredients of Coca Cola, let’s dwell a little more on the food dyethat has made this drink famous all over the world: the colorant E150d, technical name for ammoniacal sulphite caramel.
This particular caramel is far from being a simple variant of the caramels on the market, because this is produced through a chemical reaction linked to ammonia and as such is composed of 4 methylimidazole or 4 MEI.
Curiously, it is the same substance found for example in the dark and blackened part of burnt foods, which as we know is carcinogenic.
Yes, we weren’t finished with the surprises about our beloved Coca Cola and its mysterious, tasty and questionable components.
The reason why this is probably a fact unknown to most is certainly due to the marketing censorship that the company has implemented in this regard, because believe it or not, this fact has been reported.
But alas, only in California, in the United States of America.
A committee of associations has been campaigning for the rights of products free from dangerous and carcinogenic substances such as food coloring e150d and similar, and have managed to rid at least the state of California of this harmful food dye by replacing it with a healthier one.
Sadly, for the rest of us who don’t live in the land of the sun and are still under capitalist grip, we should coexist with the odds of cancer with every sip of Coke.
10) BREAKING MYTHS
I think the time has come to disprove another of the most popular urban legends about Coca Cola, which can also be extended to other carbonated drinks.
We’ve all heard that with a glass of Coke, lunch is digested better, right?
And we could have confirmation of this given its origins as a digestive and medicine, which is in fact so.
In homes there has always been talk of these drinks, which being acidic, are able to demolish food, helping its digestion.
Now you will know that it is technically wrong tosay that with coca cola you digest better because it is acidic, as in reality the only acid that composes it, as I listed in the recipe of number 7, the phosphoric acid has a pH of 2.4, therefore, the pH value present in the stomach under normal conditions, which varies from 1 to 2 of acidity, is much more acidic. Just for simple curiosity and comparison, gastric juices have a pH of 1.5.
11) HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
As a short anecdote about the caramelized drink, for the 100 years of the Coca Cola Company in all its ambiguous rise to success, in 1986 in Chile, a huge inscription ofthe Coca Cola logo was built, with colossal dimensions of 30 to 120 meters made entirely from bottles of the brand, in fact the largest in the world.
A nice gift to immortalize this international symbol, which with many beautiful slogans and advertising tactics has made its way into the homes of millions of enthusiastic customers.
12) THE “BIZARRE FLAVORS” SECTION: COCA COLA EDITION
And as for the first part on carbonated drinks, Coca Cola also has its own list of flavors and versions, some unusual and interesting.
Of fruit flavors, there is cherry Coca Cola (CC Cherry) and raspberry (CC Raspberry), which I don’t know how they can taste good along with the flavor of cola but you never know, you should try it, then there is Coke Cola peach version which is a must flavor in sodas apparently (CC Peach).
Then the flavors extend to the most absurd combinations such as the unfortunate Coca Cola with vanilla (CC Vanilla) and the coffee one (CC Blak) that with a sip of this you have already lost two nights in a row due to caffeine insomnia.
In the international varieties, we have Mexi Cola, with a taste similar to the original but “more natural” since the sugar used is cane sugar.
In Asian countries, Coca Cola with green tea could not be missing to return to the origins of the brown color (Cola Green Tea) which as a combination is difficult to imagine.
Finally, there are many others such as Inka Cola, with a sweet, fruity flavor and the characteristic dark yellow / light brown color that gave it the name of Champagne Cola.
As always, if anyone has tried any of these versions, leave us a comment below to let us know your experience and comment if they are worth or are an aberration of the unique and inimitable flavor of Coca Cola Original.
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