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kola nut


Botanical name: Cola acuminate



The kola nut is native to Africa and is cultivated predominantly there, although it is possible to grow it in all tropical regions. Depending on the variety, it can be planted at altitudes of up to 1000 m.


Kola nuts are usually sold in the form of powder. This is frequently found at regional markets but seldom in Europe.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Botanically, the kola nut is not a nut but a follicle. In each capsule 4–10 seeds are formed that can weigh up to 30 g. The appearance of the seed kernel varies greatly; for instance, it may resemble a chestnut or a broad bean.

The taste is slightly bitter and earthy. The seeds are removed from the shell, dried and then normally ground to a powder.


The main source of energy is the carbohydrates; 100 g contain about 2 g of fat, 9.5 g of protein and 71 g of carbohydrates.

Compared with coffee, kola nuts contain more caffeine. In addition, theobromine and other polyphenols are present.

Harmful substances

In addition to the uplifting effect of the caffeine, when it is ingested in excessive amounts, the kola nut can lead to sleeplessness, nervousness and tachycardia.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

For centuries, the natives in Africa have broken the kola nut into small pieces and chewed them for several hours. This so-called kola chewing is popular because of the tonus-raising effect. The kola nut is also important in folk medicine in the regions where it is cultivated.

The powder that is extracted from the dried seeds is used worldwide in the beverage and confectionery industries. Coffee and kola nut are added to soft drinks and chocolate to give them a stimulating effect.

As may be supposed, there is a close connection between the kola nut and the soft drink Coca-Cola. The inventor, an American chemist / druggist, developed the drink in 1886 and added kola nut powder and an extract of kola leaves. As the costs of production using these ingredients were quite high, however, the recipe was slightly changed at some point. The powder, which was added mainly because of its caffeine content, was substituted with caffeine that was obtained in the production of decaffeinated coffee.





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