REVIEW: Coca-Cola Plus Ginger (Japan)

Coca-Cola Plus Ginger (Japan)

For most of my life I’ve thought of ginger as more of a medicine than an ingredient.

When I felt nauseous playing DOOM, I sucked on ginger candy. When I felt something funny in my tummy while watching someone play DOOM, I drank ginger ale. And when it felt like the room was spinning around every time I closed my eyes after playing DOOM, I hung out next to the toilet.

While ginger ale is quite possibly the most popular beverage with ginger, more drinks are being offered with it, like ginger beers, ginger kombucha, and, last year, Pepsi put some into their wonderful 1893 Ginger Cola.

Because of my love for Pepsi’s craft ginger cola, the first thing I sought out during my Japan trip was the new Coca-Cola Plus Ginger.

While Pepsi Japan comes out annually with limited edition soda flavors you’ve never seen in a PETE plastic soda bottle, Coca-Cola Japan keeps it simple by just adding a bit of flavor to the standard Coke and does it at an Olympics-like frequency. About three years ago, Coca-Cola Japan sold a delicious orange-flavored Coke.

It’s funny that the Pepsi Japan flavors are like ideas from a cocaine binge (cucumber, baobab, cherry blossom), while the cola that once had actual cocaine in it ends up being tame.

Much like the amount of orange flavoring in the last limited edition Japanese Coke I had, this soda had the right amount of ginger flavor. You can’t miss it, but it doesn’t overwhelm the cola. To be honest, it tastes right at home with the cola spices. Also, it didn’t burn, like it does with ginger beer. Coca-Cola Plus Ginger is such a great tasting soda that I bought two more bottles at the end of my trip.

If you enjoyed Pepsi’s ginger cola, you’ll like this, if you get your hands on it. It’s only available in Japan for a limited time (it was available in Australia in 2016) or from an online Japanese snack seller. If you think you’ll be able to replicate it by mixing Coca-Cola with Seagram’s Ginger Ale, you won’t because I tried using various ratios and none of them tasted anything close.

I really hope Coca-Cola Plus Ginger ends up in the United States, or at least be an option on a Coke Freestyle machine.

(Nutrition Facts – 100 ml – 44 kcal, 0 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sodium, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 130 Japanese Yen
Size: 500 ml
Purchased at: Lawson Station
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: If you’re a fan of Pepsi’s 1893 Ginger Cola, you’ll like this. Right amount of ginger flavor. Ginger complements the cola spices. Doesn’t have ginger burn.
Cons: Not available in the U.S., but might be available through online Japanese snack sellers. The nauseous feeling I got when playing DOOM.

REVIEW: Ripple Chocolate Milk

Ripple Chocolate Milk

If you told me a decade ago I’d be drinking pea milk and enjoying it, I’d laugh and tell you I’m not into that gross stuff. Then after explaining it’s p-e-a and not p-e-e, I’d again laugh and tell you I’m not into that gross stuff.

I don’t care for the pea’s texture, flavor, and ability to affect a princess’ sleep. I avoid chicken pot pies because of the chance I’ll eat one and I always throw out that one freeze dried pea you get with every Cup Noodles.

So it’s odd I ended up buying a bottle of dairy-free Chocolate Ripple Milk, which is made with flavorless pea protein. It’s not the green peas you’ll find swimming in a chicken a la king, it’s yellow peas. But it’s still peas. Although I don’t care for the vegetable, I might’ve bought this so that I can say in a pretentious tone, “Oh, you drink almond milk? Well, have you tried pea milk? No? You should try it someday.”

According to the Ripple website, a cup of Chocolate Ripple has more protein and less sugar than an equal serving of chocolate soy milk. Plus, it provides Omega-3 fatty acids.

Ripple is available in original, unsweetened, vanilla, and chocolate flavors. I haven’t tried any of the others, but this chocolate one reminded me of reduced fat chocolate milk. If you gave some to a kid and told them it came from a cow, they’d believe you. But I guess if you put cocoa into any milk it’ll do a great job at hiding whatever it’s made from, probably even pee milk.

While I enjoyed its flavor, I noticed an oddity with its texture. It initially was creamy in my mouth, but then it became thinner. However, I noticed it because I was swishing it around in my mouth, like some pretentious wine taster or Listerine burn lover. But I imagine most folks won’t notice since their mouth to throat transit time will be much quicker than mine.

There’s also the issue of price. Forty-eight ounce bottles retail for five dollars. A half gallon (64 ounces) of other dairy-free milks are about the same price or cheaper.

Overall, I do see myself buying Chocolate Ripple Milk again, if its price comes down. When it does, it’ll be the only way I’ll consume peas.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fl oz – 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 680 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 70% calcium, 45% vitamin D, 20% iron, and 4% magnesium.)

Purchased Price: $2.79*
Size: 12 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like reduced fat chocolate milk. More protein and less sugar than chocolate soy milk. Provides Omega-3 fatty acids. Conversation starter with vegetarian or vegan? Listerine burn.
Cons: More expensive than other dairy-free milks. Slightly changing texture is odd. Peas. Listerine burn. Bragging about all the dairy-free milks you’ve had.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Nestle Nesquik Protein Plus Vanilla Milk

Nestle Nesquik Protein Plus Vanilla Milk

Protein. We need it for body stuff.

Yeah, I don’t know what body stuff exactly. I have an English degree and got C’s in every class that ends with -ology or -ience.

What I do know is that protein is big. A big money maker. Everywhere you look in the grocery store, companies are putting the stuff into everything they possibly can. And I guess Nesquik Protein Plus Milk, is Nestle’s way to get a little bit of that sweet, sweet protein drink money.

Some of you might be thinking, regular Nesquik is milk so it already has protein. That’s true, but it just has more. According to the bottle, Nesquik Protein Plus has “10% more of the daily value for protein per 8 fl oz than regular Nesquik.” A cup of it has 13 grams of protein, while regular Nesquik has 8 grams.

Wait.

I got C’s in every class that ends with -athematics, but I’m pretty sure the difference between 13 grams and 8 grams is more than 10 percent.

Anyway, this protein enhanced milk gets its protein from the milk and an ingredient called milk protein concentrate. What’s milk protein concentrate? Again, C’s in every class that ends with -ology or -ience.

Nesquik has always been a brand that targets kids. But Nesquik Protein Plus is for adults, or as the bottle says, “For Adults Young At Heart.” But from afar, it looks like any Nesquik bottle. So other adults are going to look at you and think to themselves, “Oh my God, how can you drink that? You’re not lactose intolerant?”

As for its flavor, well, if you’ve had regular vanilla Nesquik milk, you will know what this tastes like. It’s sweet, creamy, it’s better tasting than a vanilla protein powder shake, and I enjoyed drinking it. The added protein doesn’t affect its flavor.

Yes, it does have a good amount of sugar in it (22 grams per serving). But the bottle does say it has “28% less sugar than the leading Protein Enhanced Flavored Milk.” So, there’s that. Although, as we’ve learned earlier, this bottle isn’t good at stating accurate percentages.

But if you want to consume a lot of protein, be young at heart, and satisfy your sweet tooth, this milk is a tasty way to do it.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 14 fl oz
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 170 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 450 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Glaceau Breeze-e Strawberry Watermelon VitaminWater

Glaceau Breeze-e Strawberry Watermelon VitaminWater

Glaceau’s Breeze-e Strawberry Watermelon VitaminWater is the best tasting VitaminWater I’ve ever had.

Okay, I might be exaggerating and the previous sentence could be the heat talking.

It’s frickin’ hot. I’ve gone through my second shirt of the day. I’m sweating like I’m guilty of something I don’t want to admit, like murder, fraud, or enjoying TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. My body is at the point where it will say anything to get some fluids into it to replace whatever was in those two shirts. Garglepuss whoop whoop meow fart.

Drinking.

Drinking.

Ahhhh.

So I just finished all 32 ounces of it, which I believe now officially makes me hydrated, and I still think it’s the best tasting VitaminWater I’ve had. My taste buds get two flavor vibes from it. Although it supposed to be strawberry watermelon flavored, it reminds me of strawberry kiwi beverages I’ve consumed. Also, at times it tastes like an overripe strawberry. It’s not overly sweet and the flavor isn’t light like some other VitaminWater varieties.

Breeze-e has overtaken VitaminWater XXX as my favorite flavor. But it has not passed XXX as my favorite VitaminWater name.

Speaking of names, what does the extra E in Breeze-e mean? Does it honor rapper Eazy-E? No. Extraneous? No. Easy way to get folks to buy VitaminWater? No. Breeze-e provides electrolytes (It’s what plants crave) and a sad amount of the antioxidant vitamin E.

So if you’re frickin’ hot and you happen to be at a 7-Eleven (it’s an exclusive flavor this summer) looking for something to cool you down, might I recommend my new favorite VitaminWater flavor.

Purchased Price: $2.49*
Size: 32 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl oz) 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 60% vitamin C, 60% vitamin B6, 60% pantothenic acid, 15% zinc, 15% vitamin E, and 60% vitamin B12.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

QUICK REVIEW: Limited Edition TruMoo Cookies ‘n Cream Lowfat Milk

Limited Edition TruMoo Cookies & Cream Lowfat Milk

I’m sure Home Depot has in stock a color that’s similar to the Limited Edition TruMoo Cookies ‘n Cream Lowfat Milk. I’m not sure what the various paint companies call this color, so I shall give it my own name — Underground Villain Hideout Gray.

It’s a depressing color. But it’s an appropriate color for a slightly depressing beverage.

According to its carton, “TruMoo Cookies ‘n Cream Lowfat Milk is more than just delicious. We start with white lowfat milk that provides everyday nutrition. Next we add cocoa and cookie flavor for the creamy cookie ‘n cream combination you love.”

Most of the creamy cookie ‘n cream combinations I’ve loved have been in the form of Oreo cookies, Hershey’s Cookie ’n’ Creme Nuggets, Cookies-n-Creme Twix, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream, cookies & cream ice cream, and cookie ‘n’ cream ice cream. But this milk’s flavor doesn’t quite match those experiences.

Now let me just state kids will probably say they love it, even though I feel that’s the liquid sugar in it that’s doing the talking. But it’s not the same cookies ‘n cream that I know and love and have gained several pounds from. It has a mild cocoa flavor that isn’t too sweet and there’s a nice balance between it and the “cream” part. It’s not bad tasting, but it’s not a flavor that’s so good that it makes me want to go out and buy another carton.

It’s a great source of calcium and vitamin D, has 11 grams of protein per cup, the milk comes from cows that haven’t been treated with artificial growth hormones, it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, and it might go great with a bowl of chocolatey cereal, but it’s a less satisfying take on cookies ’n cream.

Limited Edition TruMoo Cookies & Cream Lowfat Milk 2

Purchased Price: $5.89*
Size: Half gallon
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 160 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 540 milligrams of potassium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.