What Is the Meaning of Coca-Cola?

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Coca-Cola is the copyrighted trade name for the popular carbonated cola beverage, derived from the primary ingredients in the original recipe for the drink, namely coca leaf and kola nut. Although cocaine is an extract of coca leaves, there is no evidence to link the addition of refined cocaine to any Coca-Cola product recipe.

John Stilth Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, began selling his first concoction as an herbal tonic drink in Atlanta in 1866. It was sold at the soda counters common to that time as a syrup extract to be mixed with carbonated water just before serving. Pemberton had initially named it “French Wine Cola,” but a business partner of his, Frank M. Robertson, coined the beverage name “Coca-Cola” in reference to its main ingredients.

Both kola nuts (with their high caffeine content) and coca leaves are powerful stimulants, and as such, Coca-Cola was being marketed as an energy drink. As noted by Snopes, Coca-Cola began diminishing its use of coca leaf in its syrup recipe around the turn of the 20th century so that by 1904, it was at barely detectable levels, and by 1929, it was completely coca free.

As of 2014, Coca-Cola still uses kola nut for flavor and even adds additional caffeine beyond that provided by the kola nut.