Review: Inca Kola

Lets travel to Peru and enjoy a nice, yellow-tinted sip of Inca Kola. It is, after all, “The Golden Kola”… or something like that.

Inca Kola

Inca Kola

So, exactly what is this stuff. Well, since Coke owns the trademark on this drink everywhere but in Peru, let’s reference their Product Descriptions:

Inca Kola is a very successful soft drink in Peru and a great source of pride for Peruvian people, referred to as the “National Beverage” in that country.

Inca Kola was developed in 1935 by an English immigrant family in Lima, Peru, and quickly became a top-selling soft drink there. The unique quality of Inca Kola is that everyone who tastes it senses a different flavor. Some describe a pineapple flavor, while others say it tastes like a fusion of lemon-lime or banana-strawberry.

The Coca-Cola Company acquired the Inca Kola trademark everywhere but in Peru in 1999. In Peru, the Inca Kola trademark is owned by Corporacion Inca Kola Peru S.A., which since 1999 is a joint venture between The Coca-Cola Company and the Lindley family, former owners of Corp Inca Cola.

I picked up this bottle at our local Hispanic supermarket here in Chicago. The design is based off yellow, obviously, with hints of blue shaping the logo. You get the feeling that this drink tries hard to reference Incan history and style… even though it’s pretty much a yellow carbonated drink.

Pop the cap and you are greeted with a syrupy scent that I felt was more bubble gum-like, though I could see how others may be able to interpret it as a variation on pineapple, like Fanta Pineapple or Big Pineapple.

The drink itself is syrupy as well, and not very appealing overall. It tastes fake and not at all refreshing. Minus the “Inca” gimmick, I’m not sure it would stand very well on its own in a flavor lineup. It starts out very zingy, then mellows to a gum-like aftertaste… that just lingers unpleasantly on your tongue.

While Inca Kola may be a beverage of national pride in Peru, it’s not much to write home about here in the U.S.

Inca Kola
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose, citric acid, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), caffeine, artificial and natural flavors, Yellow #5

A 20 oz. bottle contains 250 calories, 75 mg sodium, and 65 g carbs (26 g sugars).