Iyoshi Cola is bringing cola back to the streets, back to the people.
Whenever we think of cola, usually the product of a major corporation comes to mind be it Coca Cola, Pepsi, or your own regional counterpart. It’s a drink so widely consumed yet most of us never take a moment to consider making it ourselves.
We brew our own coffee and tea, squeeze our own juice, and even creating our own beers and wines in the comfort of our own home has become a mainstream hobby. Is cola such a mysterious concoction that only it cannot be done as a DIY project likes its peers in popularity?
These are the thoughts that suddenly rushed into our writer Tasuku Egawa’s mind as he came across Iyoshi Cola at a farmers’ market in front of the United Nations University building between Omotesando and Sibuya Stations in Tokyo.
The menu was almost embarrassingly modest: “Craft Cola 500 yen (US$4.40).”
And yet, those simple words unlocked a world of imagination. Despite being little more than a food truck, the Iyoshi Cola store itself had a whimsical otherworldly feel. Random ingredients were lying around like yuzu citrus fruits, kola nuts, spices, and shelves lined with bottles of mysterious looking items.
Even as Tasuku approached the vehicle a bizarre “whoosh” sound emerged from it as if the surprisingly good-looking counter person were using some ancient, arcane arts to craft a magical elixir.
Whatever it was, it must have been good judging by the crowd of people waiting for a taste of “craft cola.” So Tasuku took a number and waited too.
After a little while his turn came and he approached the dashing young shopkeep, whom Tasuku later learned was Cola Kobayashi, the founder of Iyoshi Cola. Kobayashi handed Tusaku a plastic resealable bag with a strange brownish liquid inside that looked more like a savory dipping sauce