Last week, most of us in Japan were minding our business and then out of nowhere, tea got mixed with coffee — and got commercially distributed.
Yes, you can now pick up this tea-coffee hybrid called (surprisingly enough) “Wonda Tea Coffee” at most local grocery and convenience stores. Released last week, the beverage that can’t quite decide what it wants to be, is the creation of one of Japan’s biggest drink companies, Asahi Soft Drink Co, for part of the new Wonda Coffee lineup with the slogan “Life… it’s all about having fun!”
It’s supposedly marketed toward young people who are “not strong enough” to go all in with a straight coffee. That’s according to a press release by Asahi about a new commercial nationally broadcasted with actor Ryunosuke Kamiki, former AKB48 member Rina Kawaei and renowned director and comedian Takeshi Kitano (aka Beat Takeshi) to promote the tea-slash-coffee drink.
This is pretty shocking for most of us die-hard coffee or tea people who would never dream of mixing the two, but this type of drink is already popular in Hong Kong. There, it’s called yuenyeung and is made from coffee and milk tea. Swirling on the internet is also talk of the beverage not necessarily being popular in the West, but “existing.”
In the past decade, even Starbucks had it on some sort of “secret menu” reportedly as far back as 2010. (One of the nicknames for a version of it is “Dirty Chai” — decidedly less tame than the Japanese version.) However, unlike in Japan, it seems like a drink you order at a café, not something you have on your grocery list.
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