Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in the world and yet ask anyone what is in it and they won't be able to tell you. Ask Coca-Cola and they won't tell you either: the company has always kept the main flavouring ingredients in the drink a closely guarded secret. There have been rumours: did it really contain cocaine? Now you can find out, because Paul’s Pleasure Pad can now reveal the secret formula. Recently, an author named Mark Pendergrast was researching the history of Coca-Cola and found a book in the company's archives called:


Account and formula book
belonging to Dr. J. S. Pemberton
while a druggist in Columbus


John S. Pemberton was the inventor of Coca-Cola, and as Pendergrast looked through the old pages of the formula guide he came upon a page that was unlabeled except for an 'X' at the top of the page. Sure enough, he had found an original Coca-Cola formula. This is the formula that is shown below:

1 part syrup is mixed with 5.5 parts of carbonated water to make the finished drink. The "F. E. Coco" is the "Coca" in Coca-Cola and means fluid extract of coca (the plant that produces cocaine — this part of the recipe has now been taken out). The "Cola" in Coca-Cola comes from kola nut which was used to produce the caffeine ("Citrate caffein") in the drink.

The Formula now

Asa Candler, who bought the rights to Coca-Cola changed the formula, changed some of the ingredients shortly after he acquired it, to stop imitators. He added glycerine as a preservative, removed the cocaine, reduced the caffeine, and replaced the citric acid with phosphoric acid. In later years there may or may not have been further minor changes, but certainly corn syrup is now used in the USA as the sweetener instead of sugar. The flavouring component was also changed by Chandler. He referred to it as 7X, yet Pemberton's formula only had 6 ingredients. Most likely, Chandler added Lime Oil to the flavouring base and removed much of the lime juice (chemical analysis bears this out).Chandler wanted to keep his version of Coca-Cola completely secret, and he created a system whereby the ingredients were stripped of all labelling, and were referred to by numbers 1 to 9. Asa Candler and Frank Robinson were the only two individuals who knew the Coca-Cola formula or were even permitted into the lab. Lastly, all invoices were intercepted by Chandler. When the company grew to the point where he could not handle the invoices himself, he had his suppliers use his numbering system of 1 to 9 on their invoices. This numbering system has since been figured out, and been reported in several books, and breaks down as follows:

1 is sugar
2 is caramel
3 is caffeine
4 is phosphoric acid
5 is a coca leaf & cola nut extract
6 is probably lime juice, but was incorporated into merchandise no. 7 as an oil
7X is the flavouring mixture
8 is vanilla
9 is probably glycerine, but is no longer used

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