The Bissy Powder Cola or Kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of evergreen trees of the genus Cola, primarily of the species Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. Cola acuminata, an evergreen tree about 20 metres in height, has long, ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends with a leathery texture. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the caffeine.
The kola nut has a bitter flavor and contains caffeine. It is chewed in many West African countries, in both private and social settings. It is often used ceremonially, presented to chiefs or guests.
In folk medicine, kola nuts are considered useful for aiding digestion when ground and mixed with honey, and are used for coughs.
Kola nuts are perhaps best known to Western culture as a flavoring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavored beverages, although kola nut extract (or kola flavoring) in commercial cola drinks is no longer used.