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June 6, 2009

Green tea Coke hits Japanese stores Monday



A new kind of Coca-Cola lands on store shelves in Japan this Monday, June 8: Coca-Cola Plus, green tea flavor. It contains green tea extracts and no calories.

The target audience is "health conscious" women in their 20s and 30s. The drink leaves a slight green tea aftertaste, which is hard to believe when you think about how undelicate the Coke flavor is, and has tea antioxidants called "catechins."

What next? Basil-flavored Pepsi? ...

Actually, yes.

This is weirdly disturbing news. I get it if you drink Coca-Cola and say, "I don't care if all those empty calories are bad for me. It tastes great and I love it. And it's an American icon." Or, "I drink diet Coke because I worry about my weight, but I don't pretend it's good for me."

But to promote it as a health drink just seems wrong. And yet maybe the new product is better for you than regular or diet Coke. Which is even more disturbing.

(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 5:29 AM | | Comments (62)


Coca-Cola saved my life.

I would have given it a different name;even if green tea is good for you I'm curious what else is in it.

Way to ruin a good Coke. I remember when that nasty Vanilla Coke came out. It lasted 2 years and went bust. This too will go the way of Crystal Pepsi...

Pepsi Ice Cucumber has been out for two years.

Is Pokari Sweat still around?

CokeLover -- Vanilla Coke is readily available nowadays in the Baltimore area at Giant and Safeway.

Dahlink -- Pocari Sweat is still made, although I can't say that I've ever looked to buy it around these parts.

jl wrote: "Coca-Cola saved my life."

You can't just throw that out there without any explanation. What happened?

jl, LJ, I get confused

It now takes a full minute to process a comment.

Didn't Diet Coke also make a version with all kinds of vitamins added in? It was more or less the same food science that gave us Wonder Bread.

LJ, but I did just throw it out there. And I feel fine!
I was in Nicaragua, eating local, rural local, iguana rural local. Way out there. My beverage of choice (because there was no choice) was warm Coke. Went off the Coke one day, got sicker than a Tarantino flick*. Got right back on the Coke: life saved.
* Think ear scene in Reservoir Dogs.

Wonder Bread and Diet Coke. I'd rather subsist on plain water and peasant bread, thank you very much.

Pocari Sweat still exists, as does Coolpis and Calpis, plus of course Kidsbeer. One of the pis drinks is kimchi flavored

Beyond nasty. Who asked for so many variants on traditional products, anyway?

Coca-Cola saved my life.

What? You wrote the rest of this in invisible font?

Green tea and Coke ... there's a caffeine question here somewhere.

The Japanese have many good ideas and great foods but sodas just don't seem to be their strength. The last time we were in Epcot about 2 or 3 years ago, they had the most vile Coke flavors ever except the Lichee flavor which was unexpectedly delightful!

best all around favorite soda is the japanese melon soda-check it out.
don't like coke anyway and i prefer my green tea simple and neat...
pocari sweat is all over japan- all the vending machines have it. cracked my kids up when i took them there! of course they had to have some...

Oh, Japan.

I was in Tokyo exploring back in January. I remember the very first thing I saw after getting off the plane, before I even hit immigration. It was a giant Coca-Cola sign, with rainbow lettering under it saying "WELCOME TO JAPAN." Sponsored by Coke, apparently.

Also, I think it's worth noting you can't really find Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi/anything of the like very easily in Japan. As a Tokyoite friend put it to me, in America, you go to the store to buy some orange juice and there are a bazillion different types and brands and such. Not so there.

And to those wondering about Pocari Sweat, the taste is exactly what it says on the bottle. Blech.

Just the first time. I wrote the rest of the story, which is boring without the detail, below RoCK's vitamin Coke comment.

Didn't Diet Coke also make a version with all kinds of vitamins added in?

Yes, and I tried it in Atlanta last year on one of my trips to Baltimore. I think it was called Diet Coke Plus. It tasted mostly like Diet Coke with a little "extra". I didn't like it, and if I remember correctly, I threw half of it away.

Has anyone tried Coke Black? Its the coffee-flavored Coke.

Coke Black was vile. The same people who made me taste all of the Thanksgiving Jones Soda flavours fed me on.

Those people would be my *former* co-workers.

That salmon flavour soda was the most vile thing I've ever tasted, and, over 3 years later, my stomach still cramps painfully when I think of it or see a Jones Soda bottle.

I tried Coke Black. In two words, not good.

Remember folks, "things" go better with Coke. Just wait until green tea beer hits the bars.

Suburban Club Golden Ginger Ale !!!!
Green Tea Coca Cola ????

Green tea vodka and liquer has been around for a while. Minato's Sushi Bar makes some cocktails with it. It pretty good.

Hmmm... hey BG remember the day that I drank all your gizmo Japanese sencha?

There is/was a diet Coke which was sweetened with Splenda. I really liked the taste of that.

It's something which is really hard to find now. As I will now and then see it, I guess they still make it. But it must have not done well as it's not as easy to find.

Though, they didn't advertise it well and the markings on it stating it was sweetened with Splenda weren't too big, so that may have been part of it's demise as many didn't even realize this product was available.

I wonder if the profit margins for diet coke with splenda were significantly different from regular coke and regular diet coke that it made pricing an issue.

Now, you could say just charge more if that is the case, but it is difficult to charge more, especially in places like vending machines.

Stan, you might want to try a diet RC cola. It is sweetened with Splenda.

If I drink a diet RC Cola, I can have two Moon Pies.

My Dad drinks the diet RC cola, but I don't like it. It gives me a headache and has a nasty after-taste.

I think I have seen the Coca-Cola Green Tea at my local Giant or other supermarket. I will check this afternoon.

OK. So, this is something I've actually been WAITING to have happen! LOL! I'm in Korea at the moment (kimchi flavored Coke?! Really?! As if Coke didn't ALREADY give me heartburn?!) and there are SOmany differnet types and STRANGE drinks here! I LOVE it! Some of them are AWESOME (like this one called 'Ambasa' which uses milk in it and tastes VERY good on a hot day^^, and another that has small pieces of skinless grapes put into the can and is coconut flavored- MY FAVORITE: Co-Co-Pam {코코팜}) and others just TURN ME OFF (like Shikae flavored {a sweet rice drink that when is TRADITIONALLY made tastes WONDERFUL}. I REALLY like soy milk, now, since I got here! It's FABULOUS! I don't drink a lot of soft drinks, due to my diet, but I DO like Chilsung Cider MORE compared to Sprite or 7-Up (always liked Sprite more than 7-Up, though) because of the KICK it gives you.^^ Pocardi Sweat is something that you can find in almost EVERY vending machine in Korea and actually isn't that back. It kind of reminds me of american electrolite drinks with a smoother taste~ Although, many of us are STILL trying to figure our what a POCARDI IS and why its sweat APPARENLY gives us stamina... -_-oo Oh! And there's this new drink that I'm not sure of the name that if you shake it,it turns into a sort of JELLO drink, but if you don't, is just a regular soda. I don't remember the name (it has something to do with shaking it and a Korean onomonapia for shaking), but it's interesting, to say the least, and pretty good, too.^^

Captain Ducky, your paragraph makes my eyes burn. How about a courtesy line break now and then. And the random CAPS look like Tourette's.

Captain Ducky's post is a bit hard to read. Judging from the time of the post, perhaps he's just come home from a night out on the town?

From what I understand, Pocari Sweat is a gatorade-like drink. The Japanese company that makes it (Pocari) tried to pick an English word that would mean something you drink after a workout. I understand Japanese doesn't translate all that easily, since its a symbol language and English uses letters.

You all sure are rough on people around here :-)

The Japanese have tons of goofy products using English names and words. They are marketed to Japanese, so they care what Americans think. There is a whole site dedicated to this called
It's funny.

Oops. It was Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale. Both regular and diet. Haven't tried it (and probably won't). If I want green tea I will brew my own, without ginger flavor or carbonation.

I've been smoking Crack with Green Tea and Goji Berries® I can't wait for Creme de Menthol.Crack.

I'm an American living in Japan. My husband's in the Navy and he's stationed at Yokosuka about an hour south of Tokyo. The Green Tea Coca Cola got to our local 7-11 today and I bought a few bottles. It wasn't bad, is only available in diet, didn't have as much a green tea taste as I expected and wasn't nearly as good as White Pepsi or Blue Hawaiian Pepsi. Can't wait for Shiso (Basil) Pepsi later this month!

Wait a minute, Katie--shiso is not the same as basil!

Shiso tastes nothing like basil. I like it, but many people don't. It's that funny bitter leaf on your sashimi. Mmmm... oishi desu ne.

I was talking to a Japanese friend about it today and she had no idea about the Coke or the Pepsi. She said shiso is a bitter leaf kind of like basil. Everything I've read and heard said it's basil, but after talking to her and seeing your responses I'm not so sure! Guess I'll have to taste for myself on the 23rd when it comes out!

Katie, believe me--they are two different plants. I grow several kinds of basil and my neighbor grows shiso, and there is no comparison!

goji berries, I have a pound of them from the same place I get those killer pistachios. And quinoa, walnuts, dried apricots and strawberries...their veggie mix is excellent as well.

Eating goji berries plain is like eating tar, they are that chewy. But mixed in with cereal, hot or cold, they are pretty good and very good for you.

EL -- I also think the "Ken" post is nothing more than a shill for some commercial website that has nothing to do with food. Delete it, too?

And poof! They're gone. :-) EL

Please delete the garbage above. Cheese and crackers, you dolts can't even make an effort to look like a real comment?

hmpstd, you're asleep at the switch :)

LL, feel free to join in the fun when shillers are concerned. ;-)

Meanwhile, for EL's benefit:

Shill at 7:21 AM! This time, it's from the affiliated multi-country, multi-website group hawking alleged European vitamin pills and other "remedies" -- still just as bit as annoying as that electronics group.)

And, also for EL's benefit:

Shill on July 22 at 9:23 AM! (This text of this post consists of links to two websites which themselves consist of multiple links to what appears to be a Chinese vendor of knockoff designer shoes of dubious provenance at best.)

I hope I got them all. Thanks. EL

Since this post first appeared I have since learned that shiso and basil are in the same plant family--but still not identical.

I had some green tea with ginger ale recently--it wasn't bad.

Spam/shill posts at 5:28 AM and 5:33 AM! This time, the poster (who I bet is the same for both posts) copied legitimate comments from PCB Rob and me (from last June), and then added links for two related Chinese websites (selling more knockoff merchandise).

The 8:04 comment chastising a spammer appears to also be spam.

The 9:17 PM post is a recurring spammer.

Shill at 5:50 am. We've been spammed by these folks before, maybe ban the IP?

Lissa, if I recall correctly, EL has indicated that Tribune has been reluctant and/or unable to ban IPs. In any event, the domain name is registered to a business in China, which should be warning enough to anybody.

The 10:33 comment is spam.

Being lectured by a spammer in hmpstd's voice is hysterical.

I almost hated to delete it. To copy and paste part of someone else's comment is a new low in spamming. EL

EL, the next one will probably have your comment incorporated into it.

Yeah, it was a new low, but it was a very funny low. It was the same spammer I'd complained about before, so the whole thing was very circular.


1:48 and 1:47 are spam.

Dahlink, I think you gave them ideas.

Sorry, Lissa!

Link spam at 1:27 AM! (It's another counterfeit footwear shiller.)

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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