If you’re interested in Japanese pop culture, you might have heard of Ramune. It’s a delicious, sweet soda that’s ideal for hot days and the summer.
But if you’re scratching your head and wondering “what’s Ramune?”, then don’t worry.
In this article, we’re going to look at exactly what it is, and crucially, whether it has any caffeine in it or not, along with some other questions that’ll help you get a full picture of this drink.
What is Ramune?
Ramune is a Japanese soft drink that’s famous both for its flavor and for the way its bottles are designed.
Instead of a cap, the neck of the bottle is sealed by a round marble, thanks to the pressure of the soda in the bottle.
It was invented in 1884 by Alexander Cameron Sim, a British chemist who was living in the foreign settlement of the Japanese city of Kobe at the time. He based the drink on lemonade, though the original Ramune flavor is lychee.
In addition to that, there’s now a huge list of flavors that includes some pretty normal things like strawberry and mango, to a few more unusual ones like champagne and green tea (see also ‘Does Hojicha Have Caffeine?‘).
If you’re up for an adventure, perhaps you can seek out the more bizarre flavors like wasabi or curry.
If you’re wondering about the name, “Ramune” is actually the English word “lemonade” adapted to the sound system of the Japanese language.
Why All The Unusual Flavors?
In Japan, there is a huge appetite for limited editions of all kinds of popular snack products. You might have heard that there are dozens of flavors of Kit Kats in Japan, for example, and it’s no different with Ramune.
This can mean that some flavors are easier to find than others, though you’ll still probably have a lot of success searching online.
Even the takoyaki (octopus ball) flavored Ramune isn’t too hard to find online, for example.
This gives the drink a really fun, collectible aspect that’s especially appealing to kids and young people.
So, What About Those Marbles?
The proper name for these marble topped bottles is a Codd-neck bottle, named after the British soft drink maker Hiram Codd, who invented them. It’s also why Ramune was originally called “Mabu Soda” (from the English “marble soda”).
They fell out of fashion as screw-top bottles became more common, but Ramune has stuck with them for all these years.
They’re one of the major things that makes the drink unique, though there is also an Indian soft drink called Banta that also uses them.
Bottles of Ramune are sold with a small, plastic plunger to press the marble down into the bottle. It’s then held in place by the narrow neck of the bottle. This stops it from dropping into the bottle completely.
People who’ve never drunk Ramune before sometimes find it a little tricky, as it takes a bit of practice to stop the marble from blocking the flow of the drink. You’ll get it before too long, though.
Does Ramune Contain Caffeine?
The answer to this one is no – Ramune does not contain caffeine. This makes it an ideal caffeine-free alternative to caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks.
Children, in particular, can have strong reactions to caffeine, so you can be sure that you can give your kids Ramune without them getting too stimulated.
Compare this to Coca-Cola, which contains 8 mg of caffeine per 100g, or Monster, which has 36 mg of caffeine per 100g.
Is Ramune Gluten-Free?
The company behind Ramune says that its products are gluten-free.
They also say that their products are manufactured under strict quality control standards. So if you’re looking for a safe option for your children, Ramune could be perfect.
Does Ramune Contain Alcohol?
No, Ramune doesn’t contain any alcohol, which makes it a safe drink for anyone at any time!
That said, you can use it as a mixer with alcoholic drinks, and a few different recipes are floating around online if you’re interested in going down that route.
What Does Ramune Contain, Then?
The exact ingredients vary between the different flavors, as different flavoring agents are used.
However, they all contain sugar (in the form of glucose-fructose syrup), water, citric acid, coloring, and artificial flavorings.
Where Can I Buy Ramune?
You’ll find Ramune all over Japan, but even if you don’t live there, don’t give up hope. Ramune has recently become popular all over the world, and you might be able to find a store near you that sells it.
Even some mainstream supermarkets stock it these days. If you can’t find it anywhere near you, then you’ll still be able to order it online.
This also makes it easier to get the flavors you’re looking for, as some are more common than others.
Is Ramune Safe To Drink?
Ramune is perfectly safe to drink, and, as we’ve seen, it also doesn’t contain anything harmful like caffeine or alcohol.
The main concern you might have about drinking Ramune is the sugar content. While it’s still less than the amount found in some other sodas, it’s still a significant part of the recommended daily allowance for children.
So while Ramune isn’t quite as bad as most brands of cola, it’s still something you should keep an eye on regarding your child’s diet.
That said, there is also the benefit that Ramune, as we’ve seen, doesn’t have caffeine in it, which is another plus for your child’s health.
Ramune is a great choice for many reasons.
For starters, its lack of caffeine means that you can safely give it to your kids without worrying – because caffeine intake by children has been linked to hyperactivity!
There’s also all the fun of the unique Codd-neck cap design, which is exciting to open. That’s not to forget all the cool and interesting flavors.
If you’ve never drunk curry-flavored soda before, then Ramune will give you that chance!