McCol, a Korean Barley-Based Cola Drink. McNotTasty.

IMG_1451i stopped by the local convenience store here by my airbnb in Seoul and was looking for my staple drink, Coke Zero. alas, there were only large bottles of regular Coke, but i spied, sitting on the bottom shelf, something called “McCol”.

i quickly googled it and saw it was some sort of barley-based drink, a milder Coke with a bit of a salty taste. no, it didn’t sound appetizing, but how could i resist?

it’s really not that great. i like barley tea. i like cola. so why not together? there’s a good reason why. it’s unpleasant! it’s savory (via barley) and slightly sweet, and slightly cola-y. according to a description (via a comment on a blog post i found about it) that no longer exists on the company’s website:

It is the first carbonated drink made of barley in Korea. It lately has attracted much attention because it contains a dietetic fiber called β-glucan. It is a representative barley soda produced via a sanitary facility system using high quality water from the Chojung mineral spring. Balanced with moderate amounts of soda, barley, vitamins and lemon flavor, it has a cool, refreshing and clean taste. Also, no antiseptic treatment is applied to this product. Vitamins contained in this product are; vitamin C which strengthens the immune function and operates as an anti-oxidizer, vitamin Bq, which is known as a nutritious source essential for carbohydrate metabolism, and vitamin B2, which is necessary for nutrition metabolism operating as various enzymes do in a living body.

welp, i have about 1.3 liters left to drink of it…wish me luck! it may be healthier than cola, but i think i’d rather take my chances. (as far as i can tell, it doesn’t have caffeine, either — anyone know for certain? sigh.)

if you’re familiar with Eastern European kvass, it’s sort of like that, but less bready and no alcohol at all. why i keep trying random drinks i don’t know. (but i won’t stop!)

3 Comments on "McCol, a Korean Barley-Based Cola Drink. McNotTasty."

  1. Meanwhile … have you tried LIVE Kombucha cola? My 14yo really likes it and since I don’t let her have soda (unless she cops out on the street when I’m not there), it is a good sub for The Real Thing. 🙂

  2. I seem to recall that in his book on traveling in Korea, Simon Winchester described McCol as tasting like a combination of corn oil and methylated spirit, and smelling like mercaptan (the stuff they put in propane so you can tell there’s a gas leak). Mm! Made me want to run right out and find some.

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