金曜日, 9月 10, 2004

What's that in my green tea?

    Until recently, I was unaware that there are two different kinds of Sokenbicha, a popular brand of green tea sold in many vending machines. Therefore, I didn't know why sometimes when I buy it I get a pleasantly refreshing green tea beverage, and other times it tastes like a mouthful of random herbs and lawnmower cuttings. It turns out that the one I like is called Sokenbicha Green Tea Blend. It has the bracingly cool, slightly bitter taste of unsweetened green tea. The other one is the original Sokenbicha. What kind of weird things are they putting in there? I compared the ingredient labels to find out. At first I thought that the name "Green Tea Blend" meant several different varieties of green tea blended together, but the truth is a little different.

    You can go to Sokenbicha's website for fascinating information on the health-giving properties of these ingredients (Japanese text only).

Here's the list:

Regular Sokenbicha

ハトムギ "dove wheat" - I don't know what this is, but the website asserts that it has been enjoyed in Japan since the days of yore and includes "high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals."
玄米  Brown rice
緑茶  Green tea
オオムギ Barley
プーアル茶 Pu-ehr tea (Chinese weight-loss tea)
ナンバンキビ "barbarian millet"
どくだみ "a bad-smelling perennial plant of the family Saururaceae"
はぶ茶 "Habu" tea - haven't a clue
チコリー Chicory
月見草  Evening primrose
ビワの葉 Loquat leaves
ビタミンC  Vitamin C

Green Tea Blend

緑茶  Green tea
クマザサ Low, striped bamboo (Sasa albo-marginata)
オオムギの若葉 Young leaves of barley
紅茶 Black tea (wait a minute...)
シソの葉 Shiso leaves (Perilla frutescens crispa)
キダチアロエ - a kind of aloe
ビワの葉 Loquat leaves
みかんの皮 Tangerine peel
カンゾウ Licorice
ビタミンC Vitamin C

    Sokenbicha - it means "refreshing, healthy, beautiful tea." It's made by the Coca Cola company. How come Coca Cola doesn't sell healthy things like this to Americans? Are we really that bad that the beverage companies are justified in thinking we won't drink anything without a ton of sweetener in it? I couldn't find the sales figures to support this assertion, but it seems like in today's health-conscious market, Sokenbicha is selling much better than, say, Coke.



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