Coke(99181)Credit: google imagesCredit: google images

      Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton.   It was concocted in a three-legged kettle in the back of his house.  Its original name was Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.  The flavored syrup mixed with carbonated soda was considered by those that tasted it to be an excellent drink.  Throughout the years we have all come to know the greatness that surrounds the  icon called Coca-Cola; better known as Coke.  What you may not know is this; one of the first key ingredients seem to be more urban legend than truth.  One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Coke is this question; was there ever cocaine in Coca-Cola?  Contrary to popular belief there actually was.  Leaves from the coca plant were used in the original formula for Coca-Cola.  

First Formula for 5 Cents

      When Coke was originally brought to the masses its main ingredients were cocaine and caffeine.   In 1891 Dr. Pemberton’s version of Coke contained five ounces of coca leaf to each gallon of coke made.   In 1886, the early marketing done by Mr. Pemberton claimed that Coke could be used for medicinal purposes and cured many ailments.  Some of the ailments included morphine addiction, impotence and headaches.   The initial price of a glass of Coke was five cent.    During the early days of Coke, health experts begin to figure out there were negative side effects to the use of cocaine.  Once this information was released to the public; Coke was modified so that it would have the same flavor without the coca leaves.  1903 was the last year that cocaine was added to Coke.

Who Removed the Cocaine from Coke

      The Stepan Company is the place that has the responsibility of removing the cocaine from the coca leaves before shipping them to the Coca-Cola warehouse.  The company in Maywood, NJ, is allowed by the Drug Enforcement Agency to import the coca plant, mostly from Peru to the United States.  They import over 100 metric tons of the leaves each year. Would you believe that the unused Cocaine is given to surgeons to be used as a local anesthetic for patients in need of minor surgeries?  This makes the Stepan Company the only U.S. supplier in the states of cocaine. 

      Coca-Cola has a long history of excellence when it comes to soft drinks.  Known the world over for its unique taste; Coke is the mother of all inventions.  Even though it came from humble beginnings in the 1800’s and went through three formula changes ; the Cocaine Era was by far the most interesting era. Coke syrup is still sold in small amounts in pharmacies for curing nausea and upset stomachs.   Oh yeah, about the secret formula; the myth says only two executives know the formula and each one only knows half.  Is that another urban legend?  Ask me that next time and I just may reveal the answer; until then have a Coke and a smile!