Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Putting The Coke Back In Cola

Putting The Coke Back In Cola

It's a tough lesson, but when you finally realize that you can't put the genie back in the bottle and accept that as a fact, your life will get a whole lot easier. It's no surprise that at one point Coke actually was made with trace amounts of cocaine.. which of course comes from the coca plant.

But since discovering how powerful that drug is, not to mention expensive - they took it out. Now Coke is completely safe... right? Well, in Bolivia they are trying to put that genie back into the bottle.
Coca Colla hopes to create a buzz in Bolivia

By Andres Schipani
BBC News, La Paz, Bolivia

The beverage has a red-and-white label, tastes ultra-sweet, gives you a buzz and - says its producer - it keeps you awake.

But it is not the drink with similar effect and a similar name you might think it is.

An unlikely newcomer has made the world of soft drinks a little more crowded: Bolivia has started producing a new fizzy drink using the coca leaf.

It is called "Coca Colla" after the Colla people, the Andean tribes who cultivate coca in the areas bordering Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

For some a matter of indigenous pride, for others another sign of Bolivia's growing anti-US feelings, this humble local initiative has set its sights on competing domestically with giants such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull.

The new "energy soft drink" is made by a private company, with a modest initial investment of a $1,000 (£650), but it is backed up by a government policy of industrialising the cultivation of the coca leaf.

The leaf is a key element in the Andean people's culture and economy. However, it is also cocaine's raw material.

That association with drugs is a motivating influence on the drink's creator Victor Ledezma.

"I want to get to the whole world with my coca-leaf-based drink," says Ledezma, a coca farmer from El Chapare region in central Bolivia.

"Coca has a lot of potential … this can change the image of Bolivia as being a drug-trafficking country," he believes.

According to Mr Ledezma, Bolivia's new ally, Iran, has already expressed an interest, having ordered two million bottles.

And some countries in the region, members of the left-wing Alba bloc - mainly Venezuela and Paraguay - are considering not only importing, but also financing Mr Ledezma's project.

"I've developed my own secret formula. I started making the drink at home, based on my beloved but otherwise reviled coca leaf and outsourcing the bottling process," Mr Ledezma says.

"Now we are building a plant in Santa Cruz and aiming to have investments for at least $1m. That's for a start. The whole world should know that coca, besides from its good taste, is good for body and the soul," Mr Ledezma adds.

Now I'm going to get my smug on for a second and just say that I seldom ever drink soda anymore If I do, it's like a rare instance and it has to be something that isn't Pepsi or Coke. There's too much crap in it and the calories seem like a waste on something so mundane. Let's be honest here. Is there any reason that having mild amounts of cocaine in a soda would be worse for you then the massive quantities of HFCS, guarana and caffeine found in most energy drinks like Red Bull and Volt?

It's pretty cool that Evo Morales himself is a coca grower. Just think about how much pure cocaine rules. This is cool because it shows people like drugs and hate American puritanical bullshit. Just think of the motto that could go along with it. Coca Colla - It's A Hell of a Drink! But really, this isn't really any different than what people already drink. One more thing for tourist to do in Bolivia now while they o on that tour where you can buy a shitload of dynamite and blow it up in the middle of nowhere.

On a serious note, Coca production could actually be made a harmless and useful part of the South American/North Andean economy. Not through soda alone, but why would that be a bad thing? Oh wait, I'm encouraging reasonable drug policy? Ha! Yeah it's already in tea. In Peru you can get yourself some coca tea. And no, you won't be addicted to tea afterwords.

Finding alternate profitable uses for coca would do more to decrease cocaine production than any policy the US has taken on the war on drugs in the last 30 years. Same goes for Afghanistan, finding alternate uses for poppies would be an infinitely better solution than literally destroying the livelihoods of rural farmers who would be 1000x more useful as stable and useful allies against the Taliban.

then again US still bans hemp, so yeah. That's not changing any time soon, right. If it wasn't for the pervasive influence of regressive Catholicism, you'd get a lot more of this and a lot less of "GM chicken causes the gay" from socialist latin American leaders.

A couple of days ago was the 25th anniversary of the introduction of New Coke. Just think of how much of a change it would be if Coke actually got in on this. Besides, how does coca cola get away with selling a product called coca cola that contains neither coca nor kola? Oh, what am I saying. Coca Cola still contains coca. The extract is however de-cocainized and the process overseen by the DEA. See, the Chemistry needs to be respected.

Fun Fact: The only reason that coca isn't a mainstay of acceptable western society like other plants from the new world is because coca plants couldn't survive the voyage back to Europe. I can't wait till Latin America and Asia figure out that they possess the perfect situations for growth and export of things every last country on Earth wants, and in return for it, all American can do is give you a pill to keep your boner longer.

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