Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Post: Strawberry Mille Feuille Dessert Milk Tea

Hey everybody! My name is Alice, and I'm going to be your host today. I'm a twenty-something girl living and working in Japan. You may know me as the former President of Otakorp Inc, the company behind Otakon, one of the largest Japanese Film and Culture Festivals in North America (ok, it's a really, really big Anime Con!) I also help run KawaiiBox! ( and am one of the leads of Super Happy Awesome Fun Time with Sean and Alice ( all about all the awesome there is to see and do here in Japan.

One of the things I love most about living in Japan is the multitude of excellent beverages available in handy 500 ml bottles. Vending machines and convenience stores hold a cornucopia of refreshing treats, and while some of the staples will be around for ever (Coca-Cola, Ooi Ocha, etc.) there is of course, the ever changing roster of insanity. Sarah has mentioned some of the stranger sodas found on the shelves, and I love carbonated sugar water as much as the next guy—probably more. But one of the areas where Japan truly excells is tea. A cliché, but there's certainly truth behind this one.

In the US, bottled tea is usually full of preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings. The most popular green tea at my local 7-11 was always an abomination called “Diet Green Tea”, which sounds redundant until you realize how many chemicals they fill it full of—all of the disgusting “flavor”, none of the calories of ingesting you know, actual food!

In Japan there are an amazing range of teas on the shelf, from pure, plain green tea to barley tea to roasted tea. And that's before getting into the sweet teas—lemon tea, peach tea, apple tea, countless flavors! My favorite is Milk Tea. Milk Tea is apparently imported from the British tradition, if the Engrish on many bottles is to be believed, though it doesn't taste particularly British—Lady Grey surely would have turned up her nose. It's quite sweet and milky, and distinctly Asian. A bit like Chai without the spices, or like a Bubble Tea without the tapioca pearls. I can't drink it every day, but it's a delicious treat once in a while.

If you've ever been to the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, you know that there is a tasting area with different Coke products from around the world. Well, this is one for the hall of fame—I'm talking today about the newest offering from the Kochakaden Desserts Series—the same people who brought you Sakura, Mango, and Caramel Almond Milk Teas. What insane new flavor of tea has Coca-Cola brought us this time?

Strawberry Mille Feuille.

That's right, not just strawberry, not just cream, but the creamy, layered insanity of a Strawberry Napoleon dessert, in tea form. But what does it taste like?

Upon opening the bottle, one is hit with an overwhelming slap of artificial strawberry flavoring. And the sweetness. Oh, the sweetness. I practically felt a diabetic coma coming on after just a few sips. But after the first drink or two, the flavors mellowed, and I noticed the overwhelming nostalgia and familiarity I was feeling. Why? What was making me miss a hot summer's day at the pool?

It tastes exactly like Strawberry Quik.

The milky creaminess on my tongue, the scent of plastic strawberries drifting through my nasal passages. It was actually pretty drinkable, as long as you don't mind feeling like an 8 year old sipping pink milk. Luckily they didn't feel the need to fill it full of artificial coloring, so it's a normal tea color. I didn't get much Mille Feuille flavor—there were thankfully no chunks of pastry floating in the bottle!

I doubt I'll buy it again (ok, maybe one more bottle...) but it was certainly good for a blast from the past. Thanks, Coca-Cola, for a strange new flavor that doesn't, in the end, taste very new at all.

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