The real real thing

The can on the left is an energy drink that gets its kick from real coca leaves.

It’s called Coca Sek and was created by the indigenous Páez people of Colombia, partly in protest at the association between their traditional plant and the cocaine trade, which makes the illicit drug by processing the leaves.

The indigenous people of South American have used coca for thousands of years for its mild stimulant effects. Coca Cola originally used coca leaf extract for its kick, hence the name, but now apparently only uses ‘denatured’ leaves for flavouring.

It has only been relatively recently that the plant has been of interest to narcotraffickers, leading to the stigmatisation of the plant and its use to fund violence.

In 2005, the Páez people decided they would make a series line of home products based on coca, partly as a form of income and partly as a way of rehabilitating the image of their sacred plant.

They launched the drink to much fanfare, including coverage by the LA Times, only for the Colombian government to pressure the major supermarkets to take it off their shelves in 2007 because of its association with drugs.

However, the product lines, including energy drinks and tea bags, are still available in market stalls and health food shops around the capital.

Link to somewhat sparse Wikipedia page on the drink.


  1. Harold
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    so very sad we have enough problems already

  2. Posted January 10, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    well i bet that really does give you a bit of a boost would be nice to try maybee not probably make me paranoid to mutch cafeen useually does that to me

    • Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      Yea too much coffee makes me anxious, I’m ready to try a new alternative.

  3. kurt
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    link to the la times broken

  4. cavall de quer
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Where can we get it?

  5. Posted January 12, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    With all the energy drinks out there ya figured something like this was bound to pop up eventually.

    My question is, what is a “denatured” leave?

    Alex W

  6. Posted January 16, 2011 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    While I understand this is a natural kick, I have to wonder if it is one people should really intake.

  7. Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    A nice move up for the coca plant. It would be very interesting to do a study in say 20 years to see what kind of effect this has on the cocaine industry.

  8. Posted September 12, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Found you site via aol I have to admit I m amazed with the blogposts!

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