What does the word ‘Cola’ mean in Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola etc.?

Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are famous carbonated beverages sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines worldwide, except for Cuba and North Korea. In most places, Coca-Cola is introduced under the name of Coke. Asa Griggs Candler led the marketing tactics that made Coke world-famous.

Coke first produced the drink and was then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers internationally. Bottlers have the right to distribute the products in cans and battles and even combine it with filtered water and other sweeteners. They then merchandise the product and its different variants to retail stores. These refreshing variants include Diet Coke, Diet Coke Caffeine-free, Caffeine-free Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coke Zero, Coke Vanilla, and special limited versions with lemon, lime, or coffee taste.

Meanwhile, Pepsi-Cola is an American food and beverage company. It took its name when the Pepsi-Cola Company merged with Frito-Lay during 1965.

History of Coca-Cola & Pepsi-Cola

A red can of iconic Coca-Cola beverage

Coca-Cola was invented by a Georgian pharmacist, Dr. John Pemberton, in May 1886. He was determined to create something new after sustaining a life-threatening injury while serving the army. This drink is made of mixed coca leaves and kola nuts that he converted into a syrup and added carbonated water. This mixture formed cola, which he sold for five cents a glass as a medicine to improve energy levels.

On the other hand, Pepsi-Cola was created by an American pharmacist Caleb Bradham. Bradham hoped to duplicate the success of Coke two decades ago. He named his sweet cola-flavored drink Pepsi-Cola. However, the company was heavily affected during World War I and needed to recover for several occasions.

The first outdoor Coca-Cola advertisement was painted in 1894 in Georgia. Back then, it was sold as an over-the-counter drug for stomach aches. However, a year later, Coke tried to change their formula, publicizing it as “New Coke.

Production of Cola Drinks

Coke’s main ingredients were cocaine for coca lead and caffeine from kola nuts when it was first launched. Pemberton uses five ounces of fresh coca leaf per gallon of syrup mixture. It then became the center of national debate because cocaine is a highly addictive substance.

Today, Coca-Cola’s ingredients include carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel coloring, and natural flavoring. A typical 335 mL can of Coke contains 38 grams of HFCS sugar, 50 mg of sodium, and 140 calories.

Pepsi has similar ingredients, but with added citric acid and uses sucralose instead of HFCS.

The company’s natural flavorings are a trade secret. The original copy of the Coke’s secret formula was hidden in SunTrust Bank’s main vault for 86 years. It was then moved into a new vault in Atlanta in 2011.

Brand Name

The logo and the name Coca-Cola were created by Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885. He came up with a name and chose the distinctive cursive font known as the Spencerian script. However, Coke’s logo stirs controversy in Egypt because of a conspiracy theory that when the symbol is reflected in a mirror, it will spell out “No Mohammed, No Mecca” in Arabic.

Coca came from the coca leaves they traditionally used while cola was derived from the kola nuts, their primary caffeine source. Pemberton taught it would look cooler to change the letter K into the letter C.

Pepsi followed Coke’s footsteps. However, before it finally became “Pepsi,” the original name of Bradham’s product was “Brad’s Drink” as a reference for himself. However, he renamed it into Pepsi because of the pepsin enzyme in the drink.

Kola Nuts

Kola nut as an offering in the African Tribes

Kola nuts come from evergreen kola trees that are native in the rainforests of Africa. They are relatively large, with one night about the size of a chestnut. Inside the fruits were white shells that contained the seeds of the kola nuts. Kola nuts have a bitter taste but gradually become sweeter when chewed. For the Nigerians, kola nuts are an important cultural symbol. It is used as presents for weddings, funerals, and offerings to make guests feel welcome in their village.

Aside from being a cultural symbol, kola nuts have reported health benefits. Its caffeine is known to boost metabolism and increase blood circulation. When turned into powder, kola nuts aid digestion by promoting gastric acid production, it can also improve energy levels and stops the growth of several harmful bacteria. A kola nut can be chewed, boiled, extracted into a liquid form, or ground into a powder before consuming.

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