This is the sweetest shower of rain we’ve ever seen!

Kyoto is best known around the world for all its beautifully preserved shrines and temples, but in amongst the traditional landscape you’ll find a bustling cafe scene that’s continually pushing the envelope with new and innovative menu items. A walk around the ancient capital will take you to the living room pug cafe, filled with real dogs, a mineral cafe where you can dine on meals inspired by precious stones, and a traditional townhouse serving cat parfaits that people travel far and wide for.

Now there’s a new reason to travel to Kyoto, and this time it’s for a special item called the Cloud Drink, which has been dreamed up by the team at Alpha foods & drink, conveniently located just around the corner from Nijo Castle.

Our Japanese language reporter Masami headed down to the cafe to try the new treat, and when she arrived she picked out two items from the menu immediately: the Cloud Drink and the Pot Plant Dessert.

When her dessert arrived, it looked so adorable she decided to dig into it – literally, as it came with a cute little shovel for a spoon.

While it clearly looked like a tiny plant growing in a mound of soil, beneath its earthy exterior lay a treasure trove of sweet cream. The combination of whipped cream and chocolate biscuit crumb topping was accented with the flavour of frozen banana. According to the cafe, the flavour of the pot plant changes seasonally.

What Masami really came to try, however, was the amazing Cloud Drink, which created a dreamy setting at her table when it arrived. Consisting of a cotton candy cloud held over a cup of tea, looking closely at the clever setup, she could see strands of cotton candy falling into the drink like a shower of rain.

Customers can choose from a variety of base drinks like cold fruit-flavoured milks, hot cocoa, coffee, matcha au lait and hot milk tea, but Masami chose to go with the traditional milk tea when she visited. The dissipating cloud effect works best with hot drinks, though, as the heat from the beverage slowly dissolves the cotton candy cloud above it, allowing the sugar to fall gently into the liquid.

The owners suggest using a spoon to plop parts of the cloud into the drink, but seeing as Masami was here for a show, she sat and let the cloud dissolve into her tea on its own. After 15 minutes, the cloud had totally disappeared, wafting away like a real cloud into the sky, only this one had found its way into her drink instead.

Masami suddenly realised that drinking a cloud is something she’s always wanted to do, so she took a sip with thoughts of fluffy white clouds dancing around in her head. She was pleasantly surprised to find her tea tasted beautifully light, and despite the size of the cotton candy, the drink had a perfect sweetness.

The only thing she noticed was that the rim of the cup had become sticky from the shower of cotton candy, so if you’re going to give the drink a try, she suggests positioning the cup in a way so that the strands of sugar fall into the liquid and not onto the cup itself.

The Pot Plant dessert retails for 550 yen (US$4.82) while the Cloud Drink retails for 650 yen. When you order both items together on a weekday, you get 100 yen off the total cost, which is a great incentive to try a taste of earth and sky while in the area!

Cafe Information
Alpha Foods & Drink / アルファ フードアンドドリンク
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Nishidaikokuchō 327
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Bar menu from 6:00 p.m. onwards) Closed Wednesdays and other irregular days.

[ Read in Japanese ]