Cola is a generic name for a sweet carbonated beverage containing extract from the cola nut (cola extract) and other flavorings. The best known cola beverages are Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola, but several other cola brands are produced world wide.
Some colas are flavored with fruit juices like cherry cola. Clear colas without color are often referred to as crystal cola.
The cola nut (kola nut) is a nut grown on Cola acuminata and Cola nitida, evergreen trees of the cocoa family (Sterculiaceae). The tree is native to tropical Africa and cultivated extensively in the American tropics. The 2 inch long brown nut, containing caffeine, tannin and theobromine, is collected by hand and dried in the sun for commercial use, mainly as an ingredient of soft drinks and medicine. American and European soft-drink manufacturers, however, do not use the cola nut. Instead, they manufacture synthetic chemicals that resemble the flavor of the cola nut.