“Natural” and “world heritage” aren’t words often used to describe cola.

Cola is a beverage often associated with junk food and large corporations, but in recent years the trend of “craft cola” has been bringing the art back to cola production. From roadside stands selling handmade drinks to homemade recipes, the limits to cola can go far beyond just “Coke” and to exotic places like Yakushima.

Yakushima is an island off the southern tip of Kagoshima Prefecture, renowned for its carefully preserved natural beauty and designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its lush, moss-covered forests and ancient trees are said to have inspired the backdrops of Princess Mononoke.

However, with the ongoing travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, it’s not as easy to get there as it used to be. It would be great if one could take all the age and beauty of Yakushima, bottle it up, and send it to us, so that’s just what the cola craftspeople of Biground have done with Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola.

This cola contains turmeric that has been grown in Yakushima and infused with the essential oils and minerals of the land. Cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are also added and this mixture is all sweetened with muscovado and unrefined sugars from the neighboring island of Tanegashima.

The water in this cola is also from Yakushima, where it is said to “rain 35 days a month.” This high precipitation, combined with the pristine ecosystem of the island, generates a distinctly “ultra soft water” that gives Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola an unmistakable taste.

Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola is currently being launched through a crowdfunding campaign on Japanese site Makuake from 14 April to 24 May. Those who pledge 2,900 yen (US$27) and up can get one or more bottles of it sent to their home.

One bottle is only 250 milliliters (eight ounces) but contains syrup rather than ready-to-drink cola. By cutting it with the recommended 3:1 ratio of carbonated water along with a suitable squeeze of lemon, it should be possible to get about a liter (34 ounces) of proper cola.

But since it’s syrup, the possibilities don’t end there. Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola syrup can also be used as a sundae topping, cocktail ingredient, or seasoning in a sauce or other culinary treat to give it that unique hint of Yakushima.

Biground is taking that flexibility one step further and offering kits of raw ingredients for pledges of 2,500 yen ($23). This includes the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and turmeric from Yakushima, as well as the sugars of Tanegashima and water of Yakushima. With these ingredients you can create whatever you like or try your own hand at producing some Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola from scratch and fine-tune it to your liking.

The way things are looking these days, a trip to Yakushima probably won’t be on the cards for a while. So, the next best thing might just be this literal taste of it for now.

Source: Makuake/Yakushima Millennium Craft Cola, PR Times
Images: PR Times
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