Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marble Pop Original Flavor Review


Background
I actually have a bit of a history with Marble Pop. When I was in middle school there was a spot downtown called Digital Ops and I would go there with friends all the time to play games on their computers. Naturally we would want food and drink and there was an Anime store next to it that sold all sorts of Japanese stuff like Marble Pop and Pocky. I would get Marble Pops and play games a lot so it has some fond memories for me.
Marble Pop is also the Americanized version, this was originally a Japanese treat by the name of Ramune. Ramune was introduced back in 1876 and has had many different versions. In modern times Ramune is seen as a symbol of summer time and is a popular drink. Here's the full Wikipedia article if you are interested. I can't remember where I bought this but my dad bought me a bag of 4 or 5 various flavored Marble Pops so plan to see some more of those fairly soon!
Review
Here's a short video explaining why Marble Pop is so unique:
You push down on this bit
I really do like the mechanism a whole lot. Of course it is a gimmick but it is a really cool one and something that is completely unseen in other sodas. I like it as it adds a certain level of interactivity with what you are drinking. It really does take a lot of effort to pop the marble in, much more than I expected which is why I needed a second take when making the video above.
It is very pretty!
I absolutely adore the bottle design. It is called a "Codd-Neck" bottle because it was named after the inventor Hiram Codd. It was designed for the specific purpose of holding a marble and rubber top. Interestingly enough they don't have to use any machine to force the marble into the cap, the bottles are filled upside down and then the pressure of the gas forces the marble into the cap, making a tight seal. The bottle design is also strangely humanoid, it has 2 indentations that look sort of like eyes and I like it, it's so different.
The labeling is interesting from a marketing standpoint. It uses a robot which is sort of rounded and bubbly looking which is obviously trying to emphasize that this is futuristic in the way it does bubbles. There are also some bubbles come off of him and an eye in the O of Pop. I quite like the lettering on Pop but all the other typography is pretty dull, then again what can you really ask for?

All the frilly bits of this soda are very good, but unfortunately it falls very flat when it comes to the actual soda inside of the bottle. Upon first tasting it I could not place the flavor at all, it honestly just tasted sort of sugary and then the after taste was somewhat like Cotton Candy. I really like Cotton Candy but it is not what I was expecting. It's definitely very sweet and I think that the HFCS is well placed because otherwise this would taste so bland. At the moment the flavor is sort of not there besides just sweetness. It also isn't very thick which makes me want to drink it quickly and also indicates there isn't much flavorings in it. I also really don't like that the top is plastic. When you are drinking from a glass bottle it feels weird to have this plasticy feeling against your lips. Glass bottles just have much more of a presence than this did. Also the opening was strangely placed. I didn't know whether to put my lips all the way around or drink it like a normal soda with more of a waterfalling action.
The carbonation is lackluster. It is a cool gimmicky way to deliver the carbonation but it ends up being pretty weak overall. It had me burping at the start but that was at it's peak and now that I am halfway down it really has almost no carbonation at all. The thing is it gets bubbly as it washed over the marble and the marble just simply can't do all that much. It has carbonation in it but it just simply doesn't get bubbly.
It is only 90 calories unsurprisingly, it also only has 19g of sugar so my ideas are confirmed. This is just a weak soda. There's some Iron in there as well which is sort of perplexing. I hate that they can list "Artificial Flavorings" as an ingredient, I understand that they have to keep their recipe secret but it still sucks from a reviewer and consumer standpoint. There is no artificial coloring at all which I quite like, I am scared of a lot of those extremely vibrant sodas. There is also very little liquid in the bottle. I was drinking away while I was thinking of what to type next and I ended up downing half the bottle. It has only 6.76 fluid ounces which is significantly less than the typical 12 ounce soda can. I suppose this is just meant to be a quick treat and not a drink, which I quite honestly became the norm for sodas.
I also took the time to chill this one more, I usually drink it at the temperature of my basement which is pretty cool. I figure that soda is usually drunk colder so I tried this out, it ended up not really making a huge difference so I'm going to ignore it for now.

Overall, I fell like it's underwhelming as far as a soda go, the bottling is cool, the gimmick is really really awesome but the actual soda is so meh. This is a great soda to show your friends because of the way that the marble works out but if you are just alone and want a solid soda I'd pass. I think just having it once to try out the gimmick and have some fun is great but I would not recommend this as a drink with a meal or to buy like it were other sodas. This really is a candy treat much more than any other soda I have encountered, which I really like conceptually it's just that the flavor isn't enough like candy to justify it.

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