Continuing on with this year's theme of 'Wa' flavours, Pepsi's newest flavour release 'Pepsi Azuki' tries to kill two birds with one stone. Unlike last year where they just released random, bizarre flavours, Pepsi Azuki focuses on two areas that are close to Japanese people's hearts; their love of gimmicks, and their love of traditional food.
For Westerners the thought of beans may conjure up images of chili, soup, and vegetarians, (not to mention copious amounts of gas), but anyone who's lived in Japan for any length of time will soon figure out that here, beans are more often eaten for dessert. You'll find them in buns, on ice cream, in cakes, in kit kats, and the list goes on. Actually I couldn't really muster up much surprise when beans finally made their way into a soft drink, nor think up much in the way of witty or satirical comments. To be honest I was thinking more along the lines of 'What took so long?'
So do beans and fizz create a winning combination on the same scale as Pepsi Shiso? Well first impressions are good, the colour is a pleasant cranberry red with a slight purplish tinge, pretty much exactly what you'd expect red bean juice to look like in truth.
Upon opening the cap you'll be hit in the face by a powerful beany smell, and it isn't exactly pleasant. Have you ever opened up a can of red beans and smelt that strange tinny smell that red beans give off after being kept in a closed space for a long period of time? Same thing here, which is pretty amazing seeing how red beans are nowhere to be found on the list of ingredients.
But then you'll take your first hesitant sip, and if you're me, you'll end up being pleasantly surprised! It may not be quite as good as Pepsi Shiso, but it's still miles ahead of the flavour purgatory Pepsi was mired in last year. Of course it helps that I'm one of those gaijin that actually likes azuki beans. If you don't like em, don't bother trying Pepsi Azuki. Why? Because it tastes exactly like red beans taste! (with fizz). Damn those guys that mix up those fake flavour chemicals are getting good!
Congrats Pepsi, two wins in a row for you! Time for one more Japanese flavour before the end of the year?
Pepsi Strong Shot
Goya Champuru Candy
Cake Lighter Than Air
Vinegar and Milk
Coke Plus Fiber
Pepsi Azuki - Red Bean Pepsi
Kit Kat's Flavour Fetish - Part 4
Sports Drink Conspiracy
Pepper Flavoured Gum
I Need Western Food, Stat!
Grilled Lamb Caramels
Pepsi Shiso (Beefsteak Plant)
Green Tea Coke