Continuing our look at Japan’s variety of interesting soda selections, we take a look at three Pepsi products today. Pepsi is probably the most prolific purveyor of wacky sodas in Japan. Coca-Cola seems to be the main soft drink wherever you go, so Pepsi is trying hard to carve themselves a name by coming up with multiple novelty flavors every season. Take a look at these:
After tasting Pepsi Shiso, I was pretty enthusiastic to try Pepsi’s next original flavor. Sadly, Pepsi Baobab was nowhere near as good as their shiso-flavored soda. If you’re wondering what a baobab is, you’re not alone. All I knew about them was that they were some kind of African tree. I had no idea that you could eat baobab before seeing this, and the label didn’t really communicate that very well either. The distinctive lack of baobab-flavored snacks in the snack aisle, baobab fruit in the grocery stores, and baobab-based cuisine in restaurants could have been a cue to Pepsi that this wasn’t going to be the hit they hoped it would be. It’s not so much that Pepsi Baobab was bad, as is the case with many original soda flavors… but it just wasn’t very good. I wasn’t sure what a baobab tasted like before drinking this, and after drinking it I still couldn’t tell you what the flavor really is. I can’t imagine any scenario where someone would ever choose baobab Pepsi when regular Pepsi is just as available.
After baobab-flavored Pepsi, Pepsi’s next concoction, Caribbean Gold, did very little to stir up hopes of a return to their prior success. This one is flavored with sapote, a Caribbean fruit found in Mexico, Central, and South America. Like its golden predecessor, Caribbean Gold wasn’t awful, just… not good. It basically tasted like bubbly sugar water (which of course is all that soda really is) but you hope for a flavor that tempers and complements that taste rather than emphasizing it. Drinking this, I could almost feel my teeth rotting out of my mouth. Add on top of that that, as with Pepsi Baobab, the color is not exactly appealing. I’m not sure why Pepsi headquarters thought that golden yellow would be a great color for a sugary beverage, but after these two I haven’t seen another golden soda yet…
Pepsi Ice Cucumber
This was one of the strangest concepts for a drink I have ever come across. Aside from the fact that cucumbers have barely any taste at all, what possibly could “ice” have to do with the flavor? If this drink gets warm, can you no longer taste the ice? In any case, Pepsi Ice Cucumberdid not restore the confidence in Pepsi that was lost with the previous two flavors. It was a struggle to taste the “flavor” of ice and cucumbers, but unlike baobab and sapote, I actually know what a cucumber tastes like, and with a bit of concentration I was able to pick out a hint of artificial cucumber over the sweetness of the sugar in the soda. “Ice Cucumber” certainly sounds refreshing in name, but I think in actually eating a real cucumber would probably have been more satisfying.
I think these three had some potential, but more could have been done to emphasize the flavors of their ingredients. Each of these had an identical amount of sugar to regular Pepsi, but did not have the same strong flavor of cola to balance the sweetness. Had these been made with only half the sugar, they might have been memorable as more than just colored sugar water.
What do you think? Do any of these sound appetizing to you? Have you ever tried one of these flavors? Let us know in the comments!
More on Japan’s sodas tomorrow!