Ok so can anyone tell me what the cola flavor is comparable to or even describe how it tastes?
This should be in the useful/useless info thread.
The little-known nut that gave Coca-Cola its name
By Veronique Greenwood September 2016
The kola nut has long been popular in West Africa – but more than a hundred years ago it came to Europe and the US. BBC Future looks at how it helped create one of the world’s biggest products.
You may have heard that Coca-Cola once contained an ingredient capable of sparking particular devotion in consumers: cocaine. The “coca” in the name referred to the extracts of coca leaf that the drink's originator, Atlanta chemist John Pemberton, mixed with his sugary syrup.
At the time, in the late 19th Century, coca leaf extract mixed with wine was a common tonic, and Pemberton's sweet brew was a way to get around local laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol. But the other half of the name represents another ingredient, less infamous, perhaps, but also strangely potent: the kola nut.
The pod of the kola nut, if you've never had the pleasure of seeing one yourself, is about two inches long, and green. Inside the shell are knobs of fleshy meat like you might find inside a chestnut, but reddish or white in colour. In West Africa, the kola nut's native habitat, people have long chewed them as stimulants. That's because the nuts contain caffeine and theobromine, substances that also occur naturally tea, coffee, and chocolate.
Europeans did not know of them until the 1500s, when Portuguese ships arrived on the coast of what is now Sierra Leone, Lovejoy relates. And while the Portuguese took part in the trade, ferrying nuts down the coast along with other goods, by 1620, when English explorer Richard Jobson made his way up the Gambia, the nuts were still peculiar to his eyes.
By the late 19th Century, kola nuts were being shipped by the tonne to Europe and the United States.
One extremely popular medicinal drink was Vin Mariani, a French product consisting of coca extract mixed with red wine. It was created by a French chemist, Angelo Mariani, in 1863, and Pope Leo XIII was a devotee, appearing on Vin Mariani posters; Queen Victoria, Thomas Edison, and Arthur Conan Doyle were also said to be fans. But this was just one stimulating tonic among many, in an era when such nerve potions claimed positively glorious effects.
So when Pemberton, the American chemist, created his concoction, it was the latest incarnation in an ongoing trend. And while cocaine eventually fell from grace as a beverage ingredient, kola-extract sodas – also known as “colas” – proliferated
These days, the Coca-Cola recipe is a closely guarded secret. But it's said to no longer contain kola nut extract, relying instead on artificial imitations to achieve the flavour.
The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree (Cola acuminata and Cola nitida), indigenous to West Africa. The trees, which reach heights of 40 to 60 feet, produce a star-shaped fruit. Each fruit contains between two and five kola nuts. About the size of a chestnut, this little fruit is packed with caffeine.
Kola nuts have a bitter taste when chewed fresh. When they’re dried, the taste becomes milder and they reportedly smell of nutmeg.