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A glass of cola served with ice cubes
TypeSoft drink
Country of origin United States
IntroducedMay 8, 1886; 138 years ago (1886-05-08)[1][2] (as Coca-Cola)
ColorCaramel (with certain exceptions such as Zevia Cola and Kola Román)
FlavorCola (Kola nut, citrus, cinnamon and vanilla)

Cola is a carbonated soft drink flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, citrus oils, and other flavorings. Cola became popular worldwide after the American pharmacist John Stith Pemberton invented Coca-Cola, a trademarked brand, in 1886, which was imitated by other manufacturers. Most colas originally contained caffeine from the kola nut (Cola acuminata), leading to the drink's name, though other sources of caffeine are generally used in modern formulations. The Pemberton cola drink also contained a coca plant extract.[1][3] His non-alcoholic recipe was inspired by the coca wine of pharmacist Angelo Mariani, created in 1863.[3][4]

Most modern colas have a dark caramel color and are sweetened with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup. They come in numerous different brands, with Coca-Cola and Pepsi being among the most popular.[5] These two companies have been competing since the 1890s, a rivalry that has intensified since the 1980s.[6][7]


The primary modern flavorings in a cola drink are citrus oils (from orange, lime, and lemon peels), cinnamon, vanilla, and an acidic flavorant.[8][9] Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace flavorings to create distinctive tastes for each brand. Trace flavorings may include a wide variety of ingredients, such as spices like nutmeg or coriander. Acidity is often provided by phosphoric acid, sometimes accompanied by citric or other isolated acids. Coca-Cola's recipe is maintained as a corporate trade secret.

A variety of different sweeteners may be used in cola, often influenced by local agricultural policy. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is predominantly used in the United States due to the lower cost of government-subsidized corn. In Europe, however, HFCS is subject to production quotas designed to encourage the production of sugar; sugar is thus preferentially used to sweeten sodas.[10] In addition, stevia or an artificial sweetener may be used; "sugar-free" or "diet" colas typically contain artificial sweeteners only.

In Japan, there is a burgeoning craft cola industry, with small-scale local production methods and highly unique cola recipes using locally sourced fruits, herbs, and spices.[11]

Clear cola[edit]

In the 1940s, Coca-Cola produced White Coke at the request of Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov.[12][13]

Clear colas were again produced during the clear craze of the early 1990s. Brands included Crystal Pepsi, Tab Clear, and 7 Up Ice Cola. Crystal Pepsi was repeatedly reintroduced in the 2010s.

In Denmark, a popular clear cola was made by the Cooperative FDB in 1976. It was especially known for being the "Hippie Cola" because of the focus on the harmful effects the color additive could have on children and the boycott of multinational brands. It was inspired by a campaign on harmful additives in Denmark by the Environmental-Organization NOAH, an independent Danish division of Friends of the Earth. This was followed up with a variety of sodas without artificial coloring.[14] Today many organic colas are available in Denmark, but, for nostalgic reasons, clear cola has still maintained its popularity to a certain degree.[15]

In June 2018, Coca-Cola introduced Coca-Cola Clear in Japan.[16][17][18]

Health effects[edit]

A 2007 study claimed that consumption of colas, both those with natural sweetening and those with artificial sweetening, was associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The phosphoric acid used in colas was thought to be a possible cause.[19]

One 2005 study indicated soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in the American diet and that of those who drink more sweetened drinks, obesity rates were higher.[20] Most[how?] nutritionists advise that Coca-Cola and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, riboflavin, and vitamin A.[21]

The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence (caffeine dependence),[22] and can reduce sleep quality.[23] A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men).[24] This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk for women was found to be greater for sugared and caffeinated colas than diet and decaffeinated variants, with a higher intake of cola correlating with lower bone density.

Many soft drinks in North America are sweetened mostly or entirely with high-fructose corn syrup, rather than sugar. Some nutritionists caution against the consumption of corn syrup because it may aggravate obesity and type-2 diabetes more than cane sugar.[25]

Regional brands[edit]


MOJO is a cola drink brand in Bangladesh
  • Air Koryo Cocoa Honeydew, a 'Coca-Cola-style product' manufactured by the national airline in North Korea[26]
  • Amrat Cola, popular in Pakistan
  • Big/Real/Royal Cola, popular in Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria and throughout South America
  • Campa Cola, India's most popular brand prior to the reintroduction of Coca-Cola and Pepsi to the Indian market in 1991
  • Est Cola, a local brand in Thailand
  • Future Cola, a local brand in China
  • KIK Cola, a local brand in Sri Lanka[27]
  • Laoshan Cola, a local brand in China
  • Mecca-Cola, sold in the Middle East, North Africa, as well as parts of Europe
  • Meadows Classic Cola, a DFI brand in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Kampuchea
  • MOJO, a popular local brand in Bangladesh.
  • MyCola, a local brand in Sri Lanka[28]
  • Pakola, popular in Pakistan
  • Parsi Cola, popular in Iran
  • Red Bull Cola, popular in Thailand
  • Sparkling Super Cola, sold by the A.S. Watson Group (PARKnSHOP, Watsons) of Hong Kong
  • Terelj Cola, sold in Mongolia.[29]
  • Thums Up, popular in India
  • Topsia Cola, popular in Iran
  • Vita Cola, produced by Vitasoy of Hong Kong
  • Zamzam Cola, popular in Iran and parts of the Arab world


Bottles of Berry Cola, a soft drink produced in Indre, France

North America[edit]

A small glass bottle of Coca-Cola, the first cola

South America[edit]


  • LA Ice Cola is an Australian cola owned by Tru Blu Beverages, similar to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, its rivals.
  • Billson's produces a Heritage Cola, inspired by recipes dating back to the Temperance movement in Australia.

Defunct brands[edit]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "History of Coca-Cola · InterExchange". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Coca Wine". Cocaine.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  4. ^ 최재원 (April 2015). "코카콜라의 스토리텔링을 통한 감성마케팅 응용". 마케팅 (in Korean). 49 (4): 19–28. Archived from the original on 2019-11-06. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
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  11. ^ Wallin, Lisa "Japanese Craft Cola is the Beverage You Didn't Know You Needed Archived 2021-11-26 at the Wayback Machine", Japanese Food Guide
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External links[edit]