View Full Version : What makes cola's 'brown'? Moreover, why are some colas clear?

12-19-2005, 05:35 PM
ok, i'm 17, and ive never seen a cola that was clear. I used to know a scientist (my teacher) who worked for coca cola and said they actually put a small amount of caramel in it, thus camarel color.

But what makes it brown? If you take kola/koka leaves and put it in, will it make it brown? I've always wondered this. Also, was Crystal pepsi any good?? I'm sorry for asking so many questions..

I might just email pepsico or coca cola and ask them. Im as much as a fan of colas as any of you other guys! smile.gif

DJ HawaiianShirt
12-19-2005, 05:40 PM
Caramel is not put in Coke, although their flavoring might have a little caramel-inspired flavor to it.

Most sodas on the market could be clear if they wanted to. All the colors you see are articifially added for marketing.

SEV smile.gif

12-19-2005, 05:42 PM
What is the reasoning behind this? Why would 'brown' soda appeal to people? of course, I can't imagine drinking a soda that isn't brown, but this is probably just due to the fact of the stigma attached to drinking only brown soda my whole life...I guess once you drink 'clear soda' your mind thinks "wait, this isn't real cola", heh.

I wonder why it is brown..

12-19-2005, 06:33 PM
Did you know that Bourbon is clear? The makers add food coloring(loosely speaking) to give it that "brown" color.
This is the same with most sodas. Do you think that Sunkist is naturally that bright orange color?
It's part of what they are selling/marketing.

12-19-2005, 06:38 PM
Of course not. But why would they want to make it brown? When you think of kola nuts (most people dont) do you think of brown liquid? heh

I understand the situation with the sunkist, but not with cola, in fact, it seems unappealing.

12-19-2005, 07:01 PM
Well, It is Caramel Color that is added to make the color "brown"

12-19-2005, 07:13 PM

12-19-2005, 07:26 PM
Maybe it was brown to cover up that cocaine they used to mix up in it. Back in the day, there were probably all sorts of little granules floating around that made it impossible to market as "clear". And then once people are used to it, why change an appearance that works? Like you said, it's something everyone is used to. This is why Crystal Pepsi (which I liked, btw, the one time I had it, when all soda still came in glass bottles) didn't go over so well, I guess.

That's my theory. I really don't know much about it at all.

DJ HawaiianShirt
12-19-2005, 10:45 PM
You also need to realize that there is no "kola" in cola. Much like the "caramel", there is instead a kola flavoring in the syrup.

greg, are you sure bourbon is clear? Most liquors and spirits are clear until they're aged in barrels, where they acquire a brownish color.

SEV smile.gif

12-20-2005, 02:43 PM
As far as I know bourbon is clear. The barrels used for aging are wiped down with charcoal, hickory, or another type of flavoring system. So yes , the barrels help with coloration. I stand corrected.

Nick Laugher
12-20-2005, 03:25 PM
I've always assumed it was caramel as well.

12-20-2005, 04:04 PM
I found this on the makers of Evan Williams website.

. It is within the walls of the barrels in the rickhouse that the hot Kentucky summers and cold winters have their effect, forcing the spirit in and out of the carmelized, "red layer" of wood beneath the char, and giving the Bourbon its distinctive amber color and vanilla/caramel.

Like it matters,LOL

DJ HawaiianShirt
12-20-2005, 11:33 PM

Although a connoisseur I'm sure could tell.

SEV smile.gif

12-21-2005, 02:01 PM
I read my original post and I noticed I did not state that they(bourbons) are originally clear and then colored..
Once again my fingers typing faster than my brain can think....happens all the time.

Yes a connoisseur could "school" me well in this subject.

12-22-2005, 08:41 AM
maybe the original pharmacist who concocted coke put color in it, just so people would know that there was "something" in it, besides water... sugar.

also, keep in mind, wasn't the original coke used as a type of "medicine"? and, maybe, "caramel brown" looks more "serious" than clear.

it's an interesting question though. i'd like to find out the real answer.

12-23-2005, 08:01 AM
i just read on wikipedia.com that the original formula of coke was... GREEN!

not sure when it was switched to caramel brown.

12-24-2005, 12:42 AM
Why is coca cola spelled in cursive?

Mr Zabe
12-24-2005, 12:53 AM
Would you believe the original Coca Cola graphic artist had a condition call "Right Slant Hand", and the rest was just Coca Cola not wanting to spend the money to correct his funny looking logo.LOL

I believe it was just a matter of style and creativity of the artist. I would bet there is no real explination for using cursive lettering for Coca Cola's logo.

12-25-2005, 07:24 PM
i'm sure they had no idea at the time that it'd become the most famous logo in history.

it's very attractive though... especially with the "wave" added in.

for a while, wasn't even pepsi using a cursive logo? it's not as good as coca-cola's... but... it seems they tried.

12-26-2005, 06:50 PM
Pepsi's logo was in cursive from their very first registered trademark - which they didn't even utilize, a more streamlined version of that logo was used starting in I think 1906, and with only minor modifications, that one stayed around til around 1951, when it was streamlined further. It didn't begin to be phased out til 1962, when the block capital PEPSI lettering started showing up. The modern red/white/blue "bookend" logo didn't start showing up on returnable bottles til the early 70s in some areas, with some bottles up through 1978 still using the white/red script.

I was pretty surprised last winter when Pepsi used the 51/later script logo on the Holiday Spice graphics, as Pepsi rarely "looks backwards" in their marketing the way Coke does.


01-19-2006, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by SodaAddict:
Why is coca cola spelled in cursive? I just saw your question... let me answer it:

The Coca-Cola cursive logo (named by The Coca-Cola Company as the spencerian script) according to some books about Coke history, was created by Frank M. Robinson, who in the Pemberton era was the responsible for the marketing of the product, Frank Robinson had a weird writing, according to "Coca-Cola Superstar" Pemberton saw the word Coca-Cola written by Robinson in his notebook, Pemberton considered the shape of the word so original that adopted it as a logo...nowadays is the most known logo in all the world, and all because the weird writing of Frank Robinson...

[ 01-19-2006, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Ramón Coca-Colero ]

DJ HawaiianShirt
01-19-2006, 11:58 PM
Wow, thanks Ramon.

SEV smile.gif

01-20-2006, 12:00 AM
You're welcome! :D

04-06-2006, 09:56 PM
carmel coloring is added to cherry coke. it's also added to alot of prepackaged foods you buy. I am sure it is added to coke.

04-06-2006, 11:54 PM
I think the "natural" color of Coke and Pepsi is still something other than clear. How else would you explain the funny taste of Crystal Pepsi.

04-08-2006, 01:05 AM
Originally posted by popologist:
i just read on wikipedia.com that the original formula of coke was... GREEN!

not sure when it was switched to caramel brown. I saw somewhere that that was an urban legend...I think it was simply a lighter brown color, probably from the kola nuts