After getting drunk on a bottle of white wine Saturday night, I made a drunk-person purchase at 7-11. Placed side-by-side in the soda refrigerator were Shiso Pepsi and Green Tea Coke. The Green Tea Coke was on sale for 125 yen, marked down from the standard soda price in Japan of 150 yen. This was a rare opportunity to gross myself out in the process of doing something I don't usually do - drink soda.
Both are marketed as healthy drinks, with Green Tea Coke having the additive catechin and Shiso Pepsi having the tagline "Refreshing Japanese Flavor" written on it against a green leaf background.
Green Tea Coca-cola
This had no hint of Green Tea flavoring. The only thing I could taste that was unusual was the artificial sweetener they must be using to make this a zero-calorie drink. The aftertaste was gross and I just felt like I was drinking maximum strength diet coke. I was disappointed that they didn't even add some deep green food-coloring to at least fool us into thinking that we were drinking something new and different. I guess I will just have to take their word for it that they actually put some catechin in there.
This tasted and looked like cleaner. If I was in seventh grade, I would probably be all over this. I will give more points to Shiso Pepsi than Green Tea Cola-cola, because it was a shocking color and it did smell quite strong of shiso, albeit shiso essence manufactured by a food lab. The cleaner-drinking experience was enhanced by the fact that the lemony tones of the shiso flavoring was excessively strong.
The fact that Green Tea Coca-cola was on sale makes me suspect that this drink is not doing well at all. Drinks generally fly off the shelves here in Japan and unless it's a total dud, all sodas and teas are priced at 150 yen. Shiso Pepsi is also an oddity, I can't really imagine their target market. That being said, both drinks should survive out the summer since there are enough drunk people stopping by convenient stores making odd purchases.