REVIEW: Pepsi Black (Japan)

Pepsi Black

Like a vampire completely sucks the blood out of its victim, the Instagram Inkwell filter removes color from a photo, and Toddlers & Tiaras completely destroys my belief in humanity, Pepsi Black from Japan made my mouth feel like it was being completely robbed of its ability to taste.

Pepsi Black had a pleasant lemon aroma, and for a brief moment it tasted like a Diet Pepsi mixed with lemon cleaner. While its initial flavor sounds a little bad, what quickly followed was much worse.

I could describe Pepsi Black’s flavor as almost nothingness, but I could also say it’s as if Pepsi Japan figured out a way to bottle sadness and give it a flavor.

Thankfully, Pepsi Black’s bleak flavor disappeared soon after the liquid passed my oral cavity, but my taste buds experiencing sadness is a feeling they won’t soon forget.

So what makes the limited edition Pepsi Black taste more like Pepsi Bleck?

My guess is the fact that it’s a significantly reduced sugar cola. According to the bottle, it has 50 percent less sugar than regular Pepsi.

Using the power of mathematics, I calculated a 490 ml bottle of regular Pepsi in Japan has around 54-56 grams of sugar. So this Pepsi Black should have around 27-28 grams of sugar.

Because I can’t read Japanese, which makes my ancestors weep, I’m not sure if Pepsi Japan replaced the sugar with artificial sweeteners, but it doesn’t taste like they did. Since Pepsi Black tastes like depression, I wonder if they used artificial saddeners by mistake?

Pepsi Black is quite possibly the second worst soda that has ever passed through my parted lips, with Jones Bacon Soda being the worst. It’s not refreshing or tasty. Instead, it’s liquid depression.

(Nutrition Facts – 100 ml – 24 kcal, 0 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 8 milligrams of sodium, 5.8 grams of carbohydrates, 5.6 grams of sugar.)

Item: Pepsi Black (Japan)
Purchased Price: Received as gift
Size: 490 ml
Purchased at: 7-Eleven Japan
Rating: 1 out of 10
Pros: 50 percent less sugar than regular Pepsi. Limited edition. Pleasant lemon aroma.
Cons: It’s taste more like Pepsi Bleck. Chemically lemon flavor, which was replaced by depressing nothingness. Not refreshing. Liquid depression. Not being able to read Japanese. Toddlers & Tiaras.

9 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi Black (Japan)”

  1. Some years ago (dare I say 25-30??) Pepsi had a product called Pepsi Lite, which was a lemon-flavored semi-diet soda pop. It really was awfully good, but they gradually got rid of it; maybe it wasn’t selling well, who knows. But any other pop that’s come along since then, that’s lemon-flavored, does indeed remind one of cleaning products. Wonder what made that old Pepsi Lite better? Probably something that got banned from use in beverages!

    1. I remember Pepsi Light too (I’m pretty sure they spelled words correctly back then.) That was some really good stuff. I don’t think I’ve had a Pepsi Anything since they discontinued it.

  2. As it contain 50% less sugar than other, i will definitely try this. It looks healthy.

  3. Following in Jones Bacon Soda’s footsteps truly is a feat. It’s probably best that you can’t read Japanese.

  4. I’d really like to know if it is popular there. I know Some cultures prefer a less-sweet taste or a lighter flavor (like, say, plain green tea). I am a geek for culture stuff!

    1. Indeed, Japan generally does prefer their sweets to be less sweet. But that doesn’t seem to be making this popular. It was around for a week or two, and then it seemed to vanish. I checked everywhere and eventually managed to find some, but what had once been ubiquitous was suddenly gone. Unless there was a distribution glitch (I live in Tokyo), it’s just not selling well.

  5. I had seen this in all the conbinis and ignored it because it still had too many calories for my taste. On reddit’s r/japan section, everyone said it was horrible, so I decided it was for the best that I hadn’t had any. But then a guy there did a video with himself and his two kids taste-testing both this and Salty Watermelon. His two-year-old daughter pronounced this wonderful, so I decided I would give it a try. After failing to find it for a few days – when it had just been everywhere the day before, I swear – I finally came across it. So I got it.

    First reaction: What did I just put in my mouth?

    Now, I am a diet soda drinker. In the US, exclusively so; here in Japan, primarily so, but I make allowances for the weird ones. (Got some Salt Soda the other day…huh.) I like diet soda. Regular soda is way too weird now. So you’d think the reduction in sugar would have made it more like diet soda, right? Nope…because diet soda has artificial sweeteners added, and this does not. I can read enough Japanese to read most of the label, and if there’s an artificial sweetener in here, it’s not one I’m familiar with. Hence the disgustingness.

    I’m never taking advice from two-year-olds again.

    1. Forgot to mention: I’m the same Meredith who sent you Pepsi Baobab a couple of years ago. I’m in Japan again, for a longer time, and I’ll send you more stuff if you like. 🙂

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