This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
This is the dried leaf of a shrub cultivated on the mountains of Peru and Bolivia, also in some other parts of South America, as Colombia, Brazil and the Argentine Republic. The branches of the coca plant are purplish-brown with a leaf about the size of tea leaves, which bears a yellowish flower. The leaves, when collected, are carefully dried in the sun to preserve their green color. Coca is valued for its stimulating properties, and in medicine its alkaloid is variously employed as a-narcotic. In its native country the inhabitants chew the coca leaves to impart strength and invigorate lacking power of endurance. The smell of the leaf is agreeable and aromatic, and when chewed it gives out a grateful fragrance, accompanied by a slight irritation which excites the saliva. Tea made from the leaves has much the taste of green tea, and when taken has a tendency to excite wakefulness. When used to excess, it is, like everything else, prejudicial to health; but taken in moderate quantities, is most soothing and invigorating. The coca plant should not be confounded with cacao (often incorrectly called cocoa) or chocolate-tree, an error liable to be made by many unfamiliar with the differing significance of the two names. The former is a leaf, while the latter is a bean or seed of the cacao tree, and extensively employed in the manufacture of chocolate.