Cola-Processed Coffee

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

What happens when cola meets coffee? Well, that would have to depend on when they meet. Cold cola and hot coffee would be a lukewarm caffeinated sugar trip, but there are other opportunities for the two beverages to meet. For Paradise Roasters in Ramsey the question has led to an experiment, and the experiment has led to the first and only cola-processed coffee in the world.

After coffee is picked the fruit must be removed. The cherries can dry naturally or can be removed through a process called pulping; cherries are pressed against a screen with holes that are small enough to allow the bean to pass through, leaving the skin behind. After pulping coffee is still covered with mucilage that must be removed. How the mucilage is removed will affect the taste of the coffee. The mucilage can be dried and removed naturally on patios or put in fermentation tanks where a water bath loosens the mucilage.

A comment on a coffee forum sparked the idea at Paradise Roasters to use cola in the fermentation tanks. Working with Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian, Paradise Roasters had 10 pounds of coffee fermented in Pepsi. For Paradise Roasters this is an experiment that is part of their Paradise Labs line of coffee. Aaron Meza says: “We don’t need to sell it, this is for our own internal experiments. We just want to open it up to the public to experience what we are experimenting with.”

Selling for $21.95 for 4 oz, it is a one-of-a-kind experiment, but the results are disappointing at best. The cola is not recognizable in the aroma or taste of the coffee. It yields a one-dimensional cup with a lack of depth and acidity. The taste is so smooth it is almost boring, but the thought of the coffee soaking in Pepsi in Hawaii is captivating. The taste of the coffee is not worth the price, but the idea of drinking the first Pepsi-fermented coffee is well worth the price.


  1. Faye Jordheim

    After reading this article, I would like to try Cola-Pressed Coffee. I drink both and from the description it sounds wonderful.

  2. Noah

    I feel I should warn you. I have tried mixing Coca Cola with coffee, and it is not a pleasant experience. It tastes exactly as bad as it sounds. Leave the cola coffee mixing to the professionals.

  3. Sabrina

    Disappointing result but should challenge you folks to do more processing experiments – longer soak/s, roasting time/s; different colas, blend; modified colas, etc. I am curious really to cup a superb robust cola- flavored caffeinated drink!

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