Outlandish Japanese flavors: Azuki (sweet bean) Pepsi

Not long ago you could find green tea flavored coca cola at convenience stores around Japan. Thankfully that scourge seems to have passed, but the age old rivalry between Pepsi and Coke wages on, and Pepsi has fired back with… sweet bean flavor? all…. right….

azuki pepsi bottle sweet bean

A bottle of Azuki-flavored Pepsi

Azuki is a bean commonly used in traditional Japanese sweets. I’m not sure if the bean itself is sweet or not, but it is nearly always used with a ton of sugar.

Azuki beans

Azuki beans

Personally, I’m not really a fan of them. I like sweet things but Japanese candies made with azuki are usually just too sweet for me. But, since I have a blog about Japanese stuff I kinda feel obligated to try these things.

So, how is it?

Not bad. Better than the pizza-flavored instant yakisoba I had recently and the flavor does resemble azuki if you use your imagination a little. But something about it didn’t seem quite like azuki to me, so I checked the ingredients list for a hint…

azuki pepsi ingredients

Ingredients list on the back of the bottle.

A-ha! So that’s your secret: grapes. Actually, after reading that my mind picked up on the grapey-ness of the drink a lot better, and now I actually think it tastes more like grape than azuki. So, if you’re a grape soda fan, give azuki Pepsi a try! The drink contains no actual azuki, so it’s not like you’re drinking anything disgusting (well, not any more disgusting than a regular Pepsi).

Actually, Pepsi releases flavors that no one wants on a seasonal basis, probably in an attempt to try and build brand awareness and grab market share from Coca-cola, who is much more strongly positioned in the Japanese market. You can read more about stupid Pepsi flavors here: Shiso Pepsi and links to other silly flavors.

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Posted under Japan's "Special" Side by Nihonshock.

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