kottke.org posts about Coca-Cola
Burn this guy at the stake because he's a witch! You can't separate out the water from Coca-Cola with a simple water filter. Coke is elemental, inviolable. It's The Real Thing. Coke Is It. A Coke is a Coke.
In the spirit of I, Pencil, here's how a can of Coke makes its way from the bauxite mines of Australia and the forests of Sri Lanka to your local grocery store shelf.
Coca-Cola is made from a syrup produced by the Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta. The main ingredient in the formula used in the United States is a type of sugar substitute called high-fructose corn syrup 55, so named because it is 55 per cent fructose or "fruit sugar", and 42 per cent glucose or "simple sugar" -- the same ratio of fructose to glucose as natural honey. HFCS is made by grinding wet corn until it becomes cornstarch. The cornstarch is mixed with an enzyme secreted by a rod-shaped bacterium called Bacillus and an enzyme secreted by a mold called Aspergillus. This process creates the glucose. A third enzyme, also derived from bacteria, is then used to turn some of the glucose into fructose.
Simply Orange juice is actually not all that simple. The taste of the the Coca-Cola-owned brand is governed by a complex algorithm that allows for the 600+ juice flavors to be tweaked throughout the year to ensure consistency. I liked The Atlantic Wire's take on the news:
The explanation behind Coke's complicated new orange juice scheme is nothing short of ironic. Basically, all of their customers are realizing the soda is really bad for you, so demand is shifting to healthy -- or at least healthy-seeming -- alternatives like juice. Coke also figured out that people are willing to pay 25 percent more for juice that's not processed, that is, not made from concentrate. Enter Simply Orange. It is indeed just oranges, but boy have those oranges been through hell and back.
This is like White Zombie's More Human Than Human except More Orange Juice Than Orange Juice.
Note: Illustration by Chris Piascik...prints & more are available.
Update: I updated the post above to point to Businessweek's original report on Coke's OJ business.
Well, sorta kinda maybe almost not really discovered it. But the story is still well worth a listen...I've never heard Ira Glass quite so on-the-edge-of-his-seat giddy.
The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most jealously guarded trade secrets in the world. So we were surprised to come across a 1979 newspaper article with what looked like the original recipe for Coke. Talking to historian Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country and Coca-Cola, we were even more surprised when we found reasons to believe the recipe is real.
If you'd like to mix up your own batch of Coca-Cola, here's the original recipe and instructions.
This is one of my favorite quotes from anyone; it's from Warhol's 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.