Would You Care For A Handful Of Kola Nuts?

Call ’em what you want—kola nuts, cola nuts, uppers, soft drink ingredients—it’s all the same thing. Kola nuts are the drug of choice for many African cultures, giving ceremonial and recreational users a jolt of caffeine during mastication. In the West, on the other hand, we prefer to drink our kola. In fact, it’s damn near the most popular drink here outside of water and breast milk.

Now it’s true that Coca-Cola probably does not use actual kola nuts in production anymore, and it certainly doesn’t drop these sketchy-looking capsules into the syrup as it rolls down the assembly line. But, like the company does with the ingredient that inspired the first part of its name, there could very well be some sort of derivative of the kola tree in today’s formula, ground up and synthesized into an unrecognizable replicant. Of course, there are probably easier ways to put caffeine in a soda. Like just dumping it in there out of a big truck bed.

Nevertheless, a practiced “psychonaut” is unlikely to get much out of these “dietary supplements”. Kola nuts themselves are only about 2% caffeine. Most over the counter caffeine tablets, on the other hand, clock in at about 200mg. Our intrepid host doesn’t really seem all that alert, really, but perhaps he had a few too many hits on the ol’ cucumber pipe.