I was in the grocery and had settled on “Namacha” from Kirin, when this caught my eye. With a name like TeaO, I HAD to try it. Apparently, Asahi had ceased sale of this in 2004 and was now reviving it, aiming it towards men in their twenties and thirties. The appeal is not immediately obvious to me, but I am A. Not male and B. not Japanese, so what do I know?
This tea’s “thing” is that it tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any sweeteners. Instead the sweetness comes from something they call the “golden drop” which seems to refer to, from what I understand although admittedly I didn’t put THAT much effort into it, the deliciousness of the last drop of tea in the pot. So…I guess they collected all of those drops and made it into tea? What did they do with the rest of the tea?
The ingredients, however, pretty clearly list sweeteners as the second entry, so I have no idea what that’s about. Is it because the “no sweeteners” on the front label uses a different kanji compound than the one in the ingredients? The one on the front can also mean “saccharides” while the one in the ingredients is “sweetening materials” and includes three words, the first two I have no idea on (oh wait no, one is xylitol. can’t think how I didn’t immediately get that from kishiritooru), but the last on is sucrose. So yeah. Asahi advertising scandal blown WIDE OPEN, you saw it here first, steeples!
The taste is interesting. It’s only very lightly sweet and the sweetness has an interesting quality to it that I could totally be fooled into thinking was a property of the tea itself if I didn’t instinctively mistrust everything that advertisements tell me. The tea itself is lightly perfumed – I’m almost getting a hint of rose here (are you SURE you’re marketing this to dudes, Asahi?), light in color, and fairly light in terms of the black tea taste as well, although definitely present.
If you absolutely MUST sweeten all your black teas, Japan, I guess this is the way to do it, although your weird marketing ploy seems a tad dishonest, not to mention lazy since you don’t even try to conceal the ingredients. Or maybe the fact that you don’t bother hiding them circles it around back to honest? I don’t know. Still, it mars my enjoyment of this tea and that makes me sad because it was quite enjoyable.