Jam sessions with Best Ugly Bagels and Karma Cola

As far as collaborations go, this one is one of our favourites. Here’s why. 

Best Ugly Bagels and Karma Cola have put their creative hats on and are proud to introduce the ‘Karma Bagel’, made with cherry and cola jam for the month of June, in a bid to raise money for cola families in Sierra Leone.

Long before advertising and catchy jingles, people living in West Africa have said, ‘He who brings cola brings life’. The tag line comes from the same place real cola grows and it really does bring life. In Sierra Leone cola nut is chewed for energy, it’s used in rituals to celebrate birth and marriage, and to bring people together.

And now it’s bringing people together across the four Best Ugly Bagel locations in Auckland and Wellington.

For Every Karma Bagel sold, $1 will be donated to the Karma Cola Foundation, which supports cola farmers and their families in Sierra Leone. These families are still trying to get back on their feet after a ten-year civil war and recently Ebola.

Says Karma Cola founder Simon Coley, “the foundation supports a lot of initiatives like educating children, building infrastructure, future proofing food supplies and helping people set up their own businesses. Ideas that help eight villages become independent through trade rather than dependent on charity”.

The Karma Cola Foundation has given over NZD150,000 to the people of Boma and Tiwai communities in Sierra Leone since they’ve been trading.

Best Ugly Bagels and Karma Cola have been experimenting together for a while now, adds Coley.

Best Ugly Bagels founder Al Brown and Karma Cola Founder Simon Coley

“Best Ugly Bagels support the Karma Cola Foundation by stocking our drinks but we wanted to do something else. We decided to create a special bagel that combines their talent and flavour with our cola and does something more than just taste great.”

Al Brown, chef and founder of Best Ugly Bagels says support the Karma Cola Foundation was a no-brainer.

“It’s great to see companies getting out there and doing genuine good: and we love to be able to support the people that support us. For me it’s not just about raising funds, it’s also about raising awareness of a great initiative.”

As for the recipe, “one of our talented team members used cola concentrate for the jam, extracted from West African cola nuts,” says Brown. “Cola is extremely bitter, unlike anything found in New Zealand, and we experimented until we got the right mix of sharp and sweet.”

The Karma Bagel is available at all Best Ugly Bagels stores for the month of June. The ongoing tally along with more informaiton will be posted on


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