Kwangdong Jerusalem Artichoke Tea Drink
Dear Reader (hi Mom!),
I admit that I’m a fan of Jerusalem Artichokes. They are the roots of a type of sunflower. Here in Toronto, they’re pretty expensive and rare to find in grocery stores. I don’t eat them often.
When I saw a drink made with them I jumped at the chance to try it out.
This drink smells like an old twig. The flavour is a bit like burdock and dry fall leaves. At the same time, the mouthfeel is smooth like water and the flavour itself is too weak to leave any sort of impression. Strangely, this drink would’ve been better if it had a stronger flavour and a thicker texture. This drink is just bad. The only good thing about it is that it doesn’t leave a lingering taste.
This drink must’ve been made as a herbal supplement.
One sunchoke out of five.
Qingshijia Aroma Milk Beer
What is a “Milk Beer”?
Was I about to take a sour swig of the famous fermented mare’s milk of Mongolia?
This strange milk beer is lightly fizzy and has a crisp passionfruit smell. It tastes like passionfruit, with a milky mouthfeel that’s a little bit thicker than water. The milk-powder that’s part of this drink gives it a semi-opaque look.
Apparently, the “beer” label on this soft drink landed it on the radar of Beer Bros everywhere as they look to add this drink to their “gotta taste all the beer, every beer, gimme beer” scorecard.
I liked the flavour. But after getting a quick second opinion, my mystery Co-Taster said that it is cloyingly sweet.
This Milk-Beer drink has 20 grams of sugar for every 100ml of drink. This is double the sugar in a Sprite and in Coke (according to Coca-Cola’s Canadian site).
For that reason, I’ll give it 3 passionfruits out of 5.
Hey, did you know that this is what a passionfruit flower looks like? I had my mind blown when I saw these growing on a trellis at the local botanical gardens.
Yeo’s Chrysanthemum Tea Drink
It’s a steamy night in August. I open this handsome cold can with a satisfying psssssssttttt. I take a whiff.
It has a faintly sweet, oily smell. A bit like a homemade compote.
Taking a long sip, this chrysanthemum tea is very sweet and flat. (So what went “psssssstttt”???) . Yeo boasts that this drink “brings you delicious refreshment” but it tastes only mildly floral – like grass jelly drink, with notes of old paper, a dusty herbalist’s shop. The proprietor will be with you in just a moment.
Mouthfeel is light. No lingering taste or claginess – even though it tastes like it’s loaded with sugar.
Verdict: one upright flower out of five 🌹🥀🥀🥀🥀. This drink really proves that chrysanthemums should be looked at and not sucked on:
Yanwee Sweet Drink
I look at the plump strawberry on the label. I open the unique tab on top and think “Hey, I’m in for a sweet strawberry treat”. I think: “Hey, things are pretty swell and looking better all th… hm…. ugh….” I take a sniff of the top and something ain’t right.
This drink has a granny-smelling, slightly strawberry aroma.
“Granny” in my world is cheap musky perfume, old carpets, low-quality paper. You see, dear reader, I have Soviet grannies and those 3 things are key pillars of how their home smells.
Taking a gulp of Yanwee, you’re punched in the mouth with sweetness. It envelops your mouth. It is a bright sweetness, like a Japanese Ramune drink. It is a muted taste that’s equal parts milky and strawberry.
The aftertaste that’s left is sweet and like a slightly musty strawberry flavour. Notes of old bubblegum. Like somebody dissolved a strawberry flavoured lollipop in some milk and tried to gaslight you, swearing that this is an actual pop drink that a serious company produced.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. There are 3 kinds of sugar listed in the ingredients: white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and “edible glucose”.
Also listed is “Lactobacillus casei“, which is used in yoghurt fermentation – but I got no hint of fermented acidic flavours.
This drink is so sweet it is just terrible.
Dear reader, sometimes I wonder how far you need to push a man to make him want to drink something like Yanwee Sweet Drink. To think that this drink is enjoyable. And this darkness makes me shudder.
1 fetid strawberry out of 5 fetid strawberries: 🍓
Binggrae Korean Banana Milk
My negative experience with Yanwee put me on an interesting trail. “Flavoured milks” are apparently a big category in Asia. In Korea, banana milk is particularly popular ( our Mystery Friend of the Blog says “the Korean youtubers drink it all the time”).
Setting out to try banana milk, I got a juice-box of the top brand – Binggrae.
Taking out the little straw – big toddler grin on my face – it’s been a while since I drank one of these!
Taking a sip, and it tastes like milk with banana flavouring. I’d say that the milk flavour is a bit more dominant than the banana flavour. The banana tastes very artificial. It is a sweet drink but not cloying.
The texture is light and watery. Which makes sense because the top 2 ingredients are milk and water.
The drink leaves a light banana aftertaste and smell.
The box has a happy little cartoon illustration of singer Jimin, from Korean pop group BTS. Let’s just say that BTS, Jimin’s voice and his look are not my cup of tea. So I will be drinking my milkybox while listening to this banger from Korean group Monsta-X instead:
I’m going to conclude this review by giving two 🍌🍌 out of five bananas to this drink. If you want to properly walk off the cliff of artificial banana flavour, you’re better off with a caribbean drink called “Chubby” – available at every self-respecting convenience store in Toronto. It’s going to be terrible. It’s going to be beautiful. Your mouth will never forgive you.
Joying Shaddock Flavour Drink
After tasting some of the nastier drinks in this batch, I suspected that this drink would taste good. Because I tried a drink from the same company a month earlier when visiting Montreal.
This one is “Shaddock” flavoured. The exotic shaddock fruit on the label looked like a strange pear. Boy are we in for a treat!!!!
Further research shows that Shaddock is just… an alternative name for Pomelo. Apparently named after a “Captain Shaddock” who introduced the fruit to the Caribbean. Or… not. It looks like this captain Shaddock is a myth [archived link].
Pomelo is quite the noble citrus fruit. The three ancestral (sometimes characterized as “original” or “fundamental”) species in the genus Citrus associated with modern Citrus cultivars are the mandarin orange, pomelo, and citron. Almost all of the common commercially important citrus fruits (sweet oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, and so on) are hybrids involving these three species with each other, their main progenies, and other wild Citrus species within the last few thousand years.
(Or… not. What about Kumquats???)
My exotic Shaddock romp was turning into a barrel of lies.
Well, on to the tasting: opening the bottle, the drink smells like pomelo. It tastes like the yellow variety of pomelo.
It is very sweet, as sweet as a Coke. This drink leaves an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste that lingers. That bitterness is part of the fun flavour profile of an actual pomelo, but it definitely doesn’t work in a drink. The drink is also acidic and leaves your throat feeling dry.
On the positive side, the unique flask-type bottle that this drink comes in feels perfect in the hand. If you like reusing pop bottles then definitely get this one.
This drink gets 3 pomelos out of 5.
What I learned from writing this post
The “Jacob Eats” series is my excuse for impulse-buying weird stuff to eat. “HEY IT’S FOR THE BLOG, OKAY!?!?“, I sputter. Eyes wild. Little hands clutching way too many bottles at the H-Mart.
I was expecting to find an unexpectedly tasty one among these strange drinks, but I didn’t. They were all pretty awful to some degree. Which, I guess, is to be expected from the drinks that I would never ordinarily get.
With a fridge full of refreshing-looking drinks, I would find myself craving one. But these are for the blog. I have to take pictures of them, and then to sit down and write about the flavour notes (baaaa-na-na). Often, I would avoid having a cold drink when I really wanted it because it was too much work.
It was enlightening to realize that you can’t really mix real-life with your blog. Either you’re drinking at your leisure, or you’re sitting down to drink them all and write about them. There is no in-between.
In a small way I started to understand how difficult it is for Youtubers to show “their real life”. Your life becomes fake and performative. Or, you know, you rent a completely different apartment to create a facsimile of “your life” just to show on camera:
There was a subset of fans who were “apartment truthers” – the theory was, the apartment that Dan and Phil recorded in was not the same apartment they actually lived in. People were drawing up schematics of their floor plan, meticulously comparing shots from Instagram posts to shots in videos, and overall being INCREDIBLY invasive about the whole thing. But the most insane part? THEY WERE RIGHT. Dan and Phil addressed the theory five months ago (@10:33), stating that they did it because of privacy concerns, and also because they wanted a separation between their home life and work life.https://www.reddit.com/r/HobbyDrama/comments/11ea56p/youtubers_how_fans_kept_two_youtubers_in_the/
Share the yuck! Comment about your favourite/least favourite unusual drinks at the bottom. Or email me at “jacob@” this website.