A mug of Kofola via Martin Strachoň / Wikimedia Commons.

Coke, Pepsi, or Kofola?

For expats and tourists in Prague, Kofola has its way of accidentally becoming the center of questions and attention at least once. What exactly is Kofola and where did it come from? Why is it trying so hard to be the new Coke or Pepsi?

The Kofola story begins in 1960, when it was first introduced in what was then Czechoslovakia. During this time, the communist regime was set in place and this meant that western brands such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi were not allowed into the country. To compensate, however, Kofola was born as the non-alcoholic go-to beverage.

After the communist regime came to an end in 1989, Coca-Cola and Pepsi entered and dominated the Czech market as being the new taste from the west. Once the trend died down a bit and when the late 90s hit, Kofola came back in full power and took back its rightful place.

So what’s exactly in Kofola? The basis of the drink is Kofo syrup along with some caffeine and a mix of 14 herbal and fruit ingredients. This Czech drink doesn’t contain phosphoric acid and has one-third less sugar and 50% less caffeine than Coca-cola or Pepsi. Perhaps that’s why it’s more favorable than its counterparts? Will we ever know the real reason other than it is here to stay in the Czech Republic.

You can now find several flavor variations of the drink in stores – like vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon, amongst others. Haven’t yet given it a try? It seems you’ll either love it or hate it. First get your hands on classic Kofola, and have a taste for yourself. Now, what’s it gonna be – Coke, Pepsi or Kofola?