Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick Review: Japanese Green Apple Marble Pop

If you would like to read a more thorough review, please go here.
If you don't know what Marble Pop means, please check out this video.

I'm not sure the name of this soda because it is in Japanese. I got in an Asian food market in Boston, so you could look there I suppose. This soda is absolutely fantastic. The marble gimmick is super fun to play with and as a standalone soda it is absolutely wonderful. The flavor is very subtle and mostly defined by the citric acid. It's also healthy to boot! It has only 10 grams of sugar, 4 milligrams of sodium and 60 calories. I personally think it would go amazingly with a lunch, especially one featuring fruits.
If you happen upon this soda buy it on sight, it is really great although it will be pretty difficult to find.

Review: Japanese Green Apple Marble Pop

If you would like to see a shorter review, please go here.
To see what it looks like to use this "marble pop" gimmick check out this video.

Before Drinking
Background: During this past school year I went on a trip to the Boston Aquarium. It was purely for fun and after we finished up at the Aquarium we were allowed to wander the city as we pleased. My friends and I decided to just walk around and go down any street that looked interesting. We looked down a long street and saw a giant Asian gate. It looked cool so we went in and found ourselves suddenly plunged in to China Town. We went in to an Asian food market and I found all sorts of neat sodas. I got this one for $1.39 and I have no idea where you could find it or what its name is. So let's continue our streak of extremely legit foreign sodas!

Neat ribs
Bottling: The bottling is of course really cool. The whole marble pop gimmick is really fun and makes for a nice piece to put on a shelf after you are done. The interesting bits of this bottling is that for one it has some cool ribbing in the skinny part of the bottle. Very different from the other variations I have seen. The other awesome part is that absolutely everything is written in Japanese! It makes this a really unique find, I would definitely have trouble getting this anywhere but an Asian food market. Even the nutrition facts had to have an English sticker put over it to meet FDA requirements.

This makes it kind of hard for me to judge the font and logo. It's just really super Japanesey. It obviously has Japanese written all over it but it also has cute Anime-esque green apples will adorable little faces. One part of the writing that I quite like is the cool symbol put at the lip of the bottle.
Cool symbol in question

Nutrition facts are pretty interesting, only 10 grams of sugar! Most sodas are in the 35-40 range so this is going to not be very sweet at all. Additionally it has only 4mg of sodium and 60 calories. It's really quite healthy for you! I'm guessing almost all of the flavor will be coming from the citric acid. The other ingredients are pretty odd as well. It uses sugar and glucose to sweeten it, I don't think I've ever encountered glucose before in a soda so this should be pretty interesting.

During drinking
Soda everywhere
Got on my beloved keyboard
I popped the marble in and immediately tragedy struck. The soda really just exploded everywhere, it got all over my keyboard and basically made my entire desk a sticky mess. I had to pour water all over my $115 mechanical keyboard to save it from being a sticky mess and now it needs a day or so to dry out. So I'm typing this from a crappy Dell keyboard, with my keyboard wrapped in a towel behind me. Be strong, buddy!

The only difference I did this time was use the fleshy part of my thumb to push the marble in. I think this made it hit with greater force than the it created a seal on the top. This created a ton of pressure to build up in an extremely short amount of time, causing the explosion. I highly recommend you use the end of your thumb when pushing the marble in and do it over something you don't care about, like a sink or a counter top.

But the review must go on! I won't be judging the carbonation too harshly because the soda has been sitting out for a while now.

Nutrition facts laid over Japanese writing
Oh how utterly delightful! Wow, this is an absolutely amazingly subtle yet present flavor. It really does taste like green apple but it is not over powering at all. This is honestly one of the best flavors I have had in a very long time. It is so perfectly fruity without being over the top. The problem that most fruit sodas run in to is they start tasting like liquefied lollipops. This has very little sugar so the sweetness is not over powering and it really lets the appley flavor come through. It really does taste genuinely like taking a bite right in to a green apple.

Carbonation is not bad at all, the faster you chug the more carbonation you get because of the way the marble creates carbonation. The spout is a bit awkward to drink from, it's just really small so it feels strange to not fully wrap my lips around it. I also don't like the fact that the lip is made of plastic. I can understand why it has to be that way though. The carbonation is definitely much stronger than on the Americanized version that I had last time. This is definitely a good thing.

The amazing subtlety and simplicity of this flavor is awesome. It reminds me a lot of Cas Cal in that it is a nice, calm flavor that would go great with a fruit salad or really a lunch of any kind. I think the way that the sweetened it and the fact that it is high on Citric acid is what really made it so amazingly subtle.

The marble, fizzing away
One big downside is that there is not much liquid in here. I have taken maybe 4 or 5 sips and it's basically all gone already. I would love to see some bigger bottles of this, though that is most likely just due to me being an American and being used to the hugely gigantic cans we get over here. Ohhh the weird indentations on one side of the bottle make sense now. When you are low on soda tipping the bottle up can make the marble fall in to the cap, causing the cap to get blocked and stopping the flow of soda in to your mouth. The indentations hold the marble in place and stop this. Very clever!

After drinking
Almost no sugar and very little calories!
Overall, this is just a really nice tasting soda. The flavor is very well done and it is not overpowering at all. If you somehow happen to get a chance to try this out you definitely should. It tastes great and it's not bad for you. I would recommend this as a gimmick to hand around at a party, or to be had with an afternoon meal or even just to be hand on its own. It's just simply an awesome soda, I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick Review: Waialua Pineapple Soda

If you want a more thorough review please go here.

Waialua Pineapple Soda is a soda with great intentions that built up to be pretty good but fell flat in a lot of respects. First off, before you even open the bottle you can see that the bottle itself is completely generic. The labeling is equally bland, the fonts are pretty uninteresting and the logo is just generically Hawaiian. The soda itself is pretty boring too. The flavor isn't that strong but the carbonation is good. It includes Maui White Cane Sugar in its ingredients which is cool but the flavor is just not nearly strong enough. The company is actually based in Hawaii as well which is sorta cool. These minor coolnesses just don't make up for a low quality soda though. Don't go out of your way for this one.

Review: Waialua Pineapple Soda

For a summary of this review please go here.
Before Drinking

I got this soda from World Market for $1.49. It is also available online. I am quite excited for this soda because I have never had Pineapple soda before and it sounds really yummy. I have had plenty of pineapple before though, in fact once I had so much pineapple in a week that the acid made my mouth raw. Very uncomfortable, partly because of the pain of eating any salty but mostly because then I couldn't eat anymore pineapple for a month!

Generic, especially the fonts
Bottling: The bottle shape is quite standard, I think that they probably just buy something generic. There is a little bit less of a transition from the body to the neck than I am used to, but it isn't bad. Just really boring and kind of bleh, doesn't show at all what the soda will be like. The labeling is okay, font wasn't chosen very carefully and although it isn't ugly it isn't anything special. It doesn't feel like terrible professional labeling, the fonts are pretty normal and outlined for no particular reason. No clue why they put the logo in red besides it matching with the blue background. It's neat that they did the blue for the sky and the yellow circle for the sun. The logo is pretty cool, gives the Hawaiian feel for sure. I am also quite fond of the cap, it is simple and to the point.

Despite the pretty lame branding I am excited because this soda is so legit. When things have generic themes like "Hawaiian" it is often a concern that they are just doing it for marketing purposes. A lot of tourist traps do cheesy stuff like this. This soda is not messing around at all though. Not only is the company actually in Waialua Hawaii but the ingredients are even Hawaiian. The sugar used is a mix of generic cane sugar and Maui White Cane Sugar. That's awesome and it's probably going to lend a very unique flavor.

Ingredients are normal besides that. I wish that I saw some pineapple juice in the ingredients though. The nutrition facts are similarly normal. No sodium is a bit out of the ordinary and there is maybe 6 or 7 less grams of sugar than is usual, so nothing terribly exciting.

During Drinking
Popping the top made a nice sound and my nose is immediately filled with the flavor of pineapple. I can tell already this is going to taste amazing. There is no visible carbonation when I opened it which is a bit discouraging. First taste and the flavor isn't over whelming. Really a fairly subtle pineapple taste. Carbonation is a little bit stronger than most fruity sodas, but that's the way I like it. The lip of the bottle is fairly thin, which I really like the feel of. I feel like the flavor is just sort of underwhelming. Just last night I had a pineapple freeze pop (I'm a kid at heart) and it had a much stronger flavor. I think that probably the cane sugar is what is not doing this soda justice. Yes, I know that it is heresy but I think that pineapples as sticky and sweet. Sodas with high fructose corn syrup just simply have a lasting effect in your mouth, a sort of sticky sweetness that cane sugar does not offer. Cane sugar is a very clean flavor that gets washed down easily and that isn't something I associated with pineapples. I appreciate that they used the Maui Cane Sugar but I will always choose quality over pride.

After Drinking
I think that ultimately this soda falls flat in a lot of areas. It has a boring bottle, boring flavor, generic logo and dull fonts. I am still enjoying it because it is sugary and sweet, but I feel this soda could be so much more than it is. Pineapple is a flavor that could be so wonderful but they don't seem to let be as strong as it should be. The only thing I am thoroughly pleased with is the level of carbonation, that is really spot on. I feel this might just be an unfortunate tourist trap. Just marketing "Hawaiian soda!" without caring too much about the quality of their product.

Overall, I would say that if you happen across it you might as well give it a shot just so you can say you've had pineapple soda. I wouldn't recommend that you go out of your way for it though. Not a party soda, not a meal soda, not a gourmet soda. This doesn't really fill a niche other than people going "Ooo pineapple soda, I think I'll have to try that!"

I hate doing negative reviews. You can notice that the during section is always really short when I don't have things to gush over.