Taste Test: Takagi Ramen’s new Chilli Crab Matcha Macchiato
This beverage is not for the weak of heart.
When Takagi Ramen launched its Chilli Crab Matcha Macchiato, I raised my eyebrows.
Chilli crab and matcha sounded like an odd combination to begin with. Despite the past trends of sweet and salty foods, I found it hard to believe that this unique blend could fully live up to the $5.90 it was worth.
But seeing the successes of these past trends, I decided to give it a shot on Apr 15 when the drinks were launched, and anxiously ordered the chilli crab matcha macchiato with milk and the one with coconut juice together with some sides.
For a start, the drinks definitely looked questionable. The orangey pink of the chilli crab milk foam contrasted against the murky green of the matcha suspiciously, oozing with ominous intent.
The staff told me to mix the beverages before drinking, which confused me because the milk foam and the liquid in a macchiato is typically enjoyed separately.
I shook the cups a little, but the foam barely mixed with the matcha at all because it was too thick. As such, I still enjoyed the macchiato the traditional way, by sipping the foam first.
To my surprise, the foam didn’t taste like chilli crab, but neither did it taste like milk. I didn’t know what I expected chilli crab milk foam to taste like, but it wasn’t this for sure.
At times when I tried hard enough, I could taste a tiny bit of each flavour, but it hardly tasted anything close to the sweetness of chilli crab, nor the smoothness of milk. It was somewhere on the spectrum, just nowhere near either side.
Disappointed with what was supposed to be the unique selling point of the drink, I sunk my straw deeper to taste the matcha. Contrasting to the confusing taste of the foam, the matcha was overwhelming. Both its texture and taste were thicker and stronger because of the milk that intensified it. However, when I tried to enjoy the matcha and the foam at the same time, the foam simply became blobs of chilli crab sauce in my mouthful of matcha.
I wasn’t too satisfied with the macchiato with milk, so moved on hesitantly to the coconut juice. It tasted slightly better, but not good enough to be considered impressive.
Because the coconut juice wasn’t as thick as matcha and milk, I could taste both the chilli crab foam and the matcha clearer. But now it was easier to tell that this combination was not working out.
The flavour felt forced. The taste of the chilli crab was distinct from the matcha, and two flavours clashed. The only thing the coconut juice highlighted was how the various components of the drink just did not complement each other.
After finishing up my food, I dared not take another sip of either beverage in fear that I might actually throw up.
It’s hard to even give this complicated concoction a rating, but I’d hazard to give the chilli crab matcha macchiato with milk a one out of 10, and the one with coconut juice a three.
I wouldn’t encourage anyone to try this drink even if you’re feeling adventurous, not because it was weird in general, but because I was especially disappointed with how it all came together.
Chilli crab and matcha is a strange match in the first place, so I never expected it to taste mind-blowing. What I did wish for was the milk foam to taste like a creamier chilli crab sauce instead of the questionable milk blobs I got, and the matcha could have been smoother so it wouldn’t contribute to the chaos that was this drink.
If you’re still up to the challenge, I recommend pairing the beverage with some appetisers like gyoza. The saltiness of the sides makes the drink easier to swallow, and they’re not filling enough to make you too full.
Alternatively, there is also the Milk Foam Macchiato, which definitely isn’t as wild, but is easier on the taste buds.
I hope whoever proposed this drink got a bonus for their creativity, but please never pull a stunt like this again.