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Calpico Melon is a Japanese cultured milk drink under the Calpis brand. Calpico makes a variety of fun fruit-flavored drinks, and Melon is one of the most refreshing. It has a creamy yellow-green color, with notes of sweet honeydew, and has the similar low viscosity texture of all Calpis drinks. Flavor profile is a combination of Asian melon, yogurt, and slightly fermented milk.
Milky Drinks rating: 3.5 / 5
This is one of my favorite flavors in the Calpico family. In my opinion, it is generally better balanced than many of the other drinks between the characteristic taste of cultured milk (sweet, semi-sour palate) and the fruitiness.
I mentioned in the Calpico White Peach review that I’ve decreased my consumption of Calpico drinks in recent years due to the sugar content. Calpico Melon is a bit of an exception – despite it having slightly more sucrose than White Peach, the sweetness is more subtle and balances out the sour yogurt taste well.
Pastel green as a color is commonly used in asian drinks to indicate melon. Calpico’s light green shade is very inviting when paired with the packaging – it looks fresh, highly drinkable, and very delicious. The drink itself is non-carbonated and watery, but still packs a strong taste. Interestingly, under a strong white light the drink has a lot of yellow tones and looks almost neon yellow-green!
When opened, the drink has a distinctive melon smell with notes of yogurt. It smells like honeydew or sweet Korean melon on a summer day.
When you taste the drink, it has a nice intermingled mix of yogurt and also honeydew notes. Although it mixes the sour and sweet characteristic of Calpico drinks, the flavors balance themselves out and it is difficult to distinguish both from each other. The melon flavor is noticeable but also very subtle at the same time.
As you continue to drink the beverage, the drink does become increasingly sweeter. However, the yogurt aftertaste lingers and cuts against the sweetness, resulting in a fairly balanced profile. This is one of the drinks that I can drink in an entire sitting without feeling like I need to brush my teeth afterwards!
Calpico Melon tastes the best if it is chilled. If you end up drinking over a long period of time, it’s better to refrigerate as it contains milk products. It definitely tastes a bit strange the next morning if it’s been left out at room temperature for a while, so please save your stomach and store it in a cold place (or finish in one sitting!).
Similar to the rest of the Calpico line, Calpico Melon contains lactic acid bacteria. Calpico Melon contains lactic acid bacteria and uses lactic acid fermentation on non-fat cow milk to cultivate its yogurt and cultured milk flavors. The drink as a result may taste similar to Yakult and Kefir. Sugar and melon concentrate added to the drink give it its melon taste, and the green food coloring also promotes the association with honeydew melons.
Lactic acid drinks are generally probiotic and are thought to help in digestion with health benefits such as improving gut digestion and overall gut health. They seem very healthy so I would recommend trying this out if you want to remedy some stomach issues.
Calorific content is 8.3 calories per fl oz, a fairly light ratio. Calpico Melon has slightly less sugar and sodium than Calpico White Peach – my guess is that White Peach more fructose whereas Melon relies more on the added sugars. More on the ingredients below.
Ingredients & Nutritional Information:
Water, sugar, nonfat milk, maltitol syrup, lactic acid, melon juice concentrate, natural and artificial flavors, soy fiber, citric acid, pectin, cultured nonfat dry milk, sodium citrate, sucralose, salt, yellow 5, blue 1; Does not contain gluten. Contains 1% juice.
|Serving Size: 16.9 FL OZ (500 ml)||Servings: 1 (1 bottle)|
|Calories: 140||Fat Calories: 0|
|Value||Percentage (based on 2,000 calorie diet)|
|Total fat||0 g||0%|
|Trans fat||Not a significant source||–|
|Cholesterol||Not a significant source||–|
|Total Carbohydrates||34 g||12%|
|Sugars||29 g (incl. 27 g added sugars)||Added sugars – 54%|
|Vitamin D – Not a significant source||Iron – Not a significant source|
|Calcium: 49 mg – 4%||Potassium: 86 mg – 0%|
Packaging rating: 4/5
Calpico Melon’s bottle is square shaped, has hard plastic, marks Asahi clearly on the bottle cap, and has a plastic label that wraps all the way around the bottle to the bottom with just a little bit of transparent plastic at the top.
Packaging is clean and modern and seems to have been redesigned in recent years, with fun illustrations on the lower half of the label of hands holding a smartphone, a drink, and a melon. The primary label with text includes an image that is clearly melon with crackled exterior and green fruit on the interior.
There are also lime green dots speckling the label, a likely tribute to the original Calpico dots that are representative of the milky way. The primary packaging color is lime green and a pastel-like turquoise.
Since I purchased this drink recently and in the US, the bottle is mostly in English with minimal Japanese text. Japanese text only appears minimally in the primary label, translating to Melon and Calpico (in Katakana). Nutritional information is in english and fully translated.
Calpico drink bottles have nearly identical physical dimensions regardless of flavor – all drink bottles measure around 8.2 inches height x 2.25 inches width/depth. Many Calpico drinks are a white color and are virtually indistinguishable from a distance, but Calpico Melon has a distinct green design enhancing the creamy green color of the beverage itself, and therefore is spot on a shelf.
Calpico Melon is also likely one of the more popular flavors as I find it almost everywhere, even more so than Calpico Original. It can definitely be found at asian grocery stores, but I’ve also seen non-asian boutique grocers also pick this drink up for sale, speaking to the Calpico brand’s universal appeal.
Overall this is a good drink choice if prefer more mildly sweet drinks and like the yogurt flavor characteristic of cultivated milk drinks. I can drink Calpico Melon in a single sitting, and like to enjoy it in the summer and after a workout. Highly recommended that you try this out, even though the color may be a bit surprising if you’re new to asian drinks.
|Milky Drinks Rating||3.5 / 5|
|Packaging Rating||4 / 5|
|Milk Type||Cow milk, soymilk|
|Sugar %*||Brix meter: 7.3% sucrose (22.5℃)Interesting that this has more sugar than Calpico White Peach, despite tasting milder|
|Dietary Restrictions||Vegetarian (product contains cow milk), gluten-free|
*Sugar content is measured by a brix meter (amazon link to popular one). Brix meters are refractometers that use light to measure the level of sucrose in a particular solution. You can learn more about them here.
There are many sister products of Calpico Melon. Calpico makes many flavors!
There are also other formats of Calpico sold in stores:
- Calpico Soda
- Calpico Original (in a can)
- Calpico Concentrate Original
- Calpico Concentrate Strawberry
- Calpico Concentrate Pineapple
- Calpico Mini
About the manufacturer
Calpico is the non-Japanese brand name of the Calpis brand. As a brand, Calpis is typically sold in Japan and packaged as Calpis concentrate form. Calpico is the international label and is usually sold already diluted, pre-packaged, and ready for immediate consumption.
Calpico drinks have a variety of flavors such as Calpico Original, Calpico Mango, Calpico Lychee, Calpico Strawberry, and Calpico White Peach. New flavors also get released on a limited edition basis occasionally, so keep an eye out for that. Their drinks span from non-carbonated to carbonated, and are packaged in plastic, cans, concentrate, and mini packs like Yakult.
Calpico is currently owned by the Asahi Group, a Japanese beer, spirits, soft drinks and food business group that makes many popular drinks such as Asahi beer. The Calpis brand was originally founded by Kaiun Mishima in 1919. He traveled to inner Mongolia where he encountered nomades that drink Kumis, a fermented horse milk beverage with many supposed health benefits that is typically prepared during the nomadic summer. He released the first version of Calpico/Calpis in 1919 and the drink continued to increase in popularity over the years.
The brand was eventually acquired by the Asahi Group in 2012 for approximately $1.5 billion USD. Asahi Group operates globally across multiple continents, and sells their products to a large audience. You can learn more about Asahi Group here: https://www.asahigroup-holdings.com/en/.
Where to buy
I typically buy from the following locations: