The recipe for Coca-Cola has been a closely guarded secret since the late 19th century.
Rumor has it that the handwritten recipe is kept in a locked vault and only two people--who aren't even permitted to travel together on the same airplane--know the true recipe.
So how is it that Ira Glass, host of NPR's "This American Life," revealed the top-secret ingredients on his show? "I am not kidding," he said at the beginning of the broadcast. "One of the most famously guarded trade secrets on the planet. I have it right here, and I am going to read it to you. I am going to read it to the world."
If you want to try to make your own Coke, here is the two-part recipe, as unearthed by NPR:
- Part 1: fluid extract of coca, citric acid, caffeine, sugar, water, lime juice, vanilla and caramel
- Part 2 (code named 7X): alcohol, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, coriander, neroli and cinnamon
Glass said he found the recipe, not through nefarious means, but rather in plain sight. It was in a column in the February 18, 1979 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Coke is headquartered in Atlanta. Glass says that on page 2B was a photograph of a page from an old book of handwritten pharmacists' recipes--and the one depicted was Coca-Cola.
Invented in the 1880s by pharmacist John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was originally sold only at drug store soda fountains.
ABC News reports that while Glass had a batch made up by the Jones Soda Co. in Seattle, it's difficult to replicate the recipe because it's almost impossible to get one critical ingredient: fluid extract of coca, which is coca leaves that have been stripped of cocaine. Coke has an agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration that allows the company to import the leaves. Only one factory in the United States processes the leaves exclusively for Coke.
So is Coke worried? "Many third parties have tried over time to crack our secret formula," spokeswoman Kerry Tressler told ABC News. "Try as they might, there's only one real thing. And that was not it."
--From the Editors at Netscape