1891 - Parliament perked up by cuca

Messrs Root & Co made a special recipe cocoa in 1891 with cuca leaves – relatively harmless in themselves, although they are the source from which cocaine can be extracted.

Medical opinion at the time considered cuca to be a useful stimulant for the poorly, and a Cuca Cocoa advert said it was a valuable throat tonic, good for singers and actors.

Annually from 1892 to 1896 it sponsored The Cuca Cocoa Cycling Race, a 24-hour endurance event that only a handful of riders generally finished, and which attracted up to 20,000 spectators.

Root's & Co claimed it was the only cocoa used in the House of Commons, and it was one of very few cocoa products included in the Harrods wholesale catalogue for pharmacists.

A stimulating experience
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