Wednesday, 6 January 2010
I always love trying out weird and wonderful exotic fruit I've never heard of, so I was certainly game for testing out these Yumberry fruit drinks, especially with a name like that ! The fruit's real name is Yang-Mei but say it with a Chinese accent and it does sound incredibly like Yummy - how cool is that ?! The blurb on the packaging explains, "When we first came across it, the name sounded so much like yummy that we started to call it the yum-berry and thus our name was born". I've tried lots of tropical fruits but I have to admit, I'd never even heard of Yang-Mei. As they say on the bottle, "Yang-Mei has been known in China for 5,000 years but has been a secret to the west all this time." The website explains : "The yang mei is a spherical red dimpled fruit with a soft skin and flesh and a hard stone in the middle." Judging by the picture on the bottle, it looks vaguely like a lychee, but has a dark red colour.
There are two different Yumberry drinks available - a pure organic juice and a blended juice drink. I started off with the pure option, tasting the 100% organic Yang-Mei juice (made from concentrate). It's very sharp but not unpleasantly so, so if you like grapefruit and other acidic fruit, you should like it. To be perfectly honest, if it had been served in a glass without the bottle in view, I would have assumed it was cranberry juice because to me, it tasted very similar to that. They even say on the website, "It has a unique taste that has shades of many red fruits such as cranberry, cherry and pomegranate". I liked it straight from the bottle, chilled in the fridge, but the girls found it a bit too tart and preferred it with a generous splash of orange juice so if you use your imagination, you could come up with some very funky cocktails (with or without alcohol) !
This similarity with cranberry juice made me wonder if it offered the same health benefits - I know cranberry juice is recommended in urinary tract or kidney infections and is packed full of healthy antioxidants. Looking on the website, "In yang mei fruit we find a range of nutrients. Tests have shown that the fruit contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and folacin. In fact 100g of yang mei fruit gives you nearly a quarter of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C as well as 13% of your folacin and 12% of your biotin RDA. In addition, yang mei contains selenium which enhances the activity of vitamin E when consumed in conjunction with it. More than this, scientific evidence shows the presence in yang mei fruit of ellagic acid, quercetin and myricetin." I have absolutely no idea what all that means but I do like the sound of this bit : "Yang mei fruit has been used in Chinese folk prescriptions for many years now and is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the great masterpiece of Chinese Medicinal literature the Ben Cao Gang Mu the yang mei is said to "cure muddle head condition". Now that definitely has to be a good thing !!
I thought I wouldn't like the blended juice drink as much as the pure stuff but it is equally as nice. It's still a very natural drink, containing 50% yang-mei juice (from concentrate), water, fructose and citric acid. In other words, it's watered down and sweetened up so if you find the pure juice too sharp, try this one instead. It still tastes like cranberry juice to me and is neither too watered down nor overly sweetened. The girls preferred it so it's probably more kid-friendly than the pure juice.
The fact that the label says the product is grown and packed in China suggests that this is an authentic, exotic drink - for once, "made in China" on the packaging has positive overtones ! They also say : "We hope that you enjoy this uniquely flavoured fruit and look forward to bringing you many other new and unusual flavours soon." I'll definitely be looking out for the other new drinks to see what unknown flavours and fruits I can discover. It's certainly a lot more exciting and exotic than the usual boring glass of orange juice in the morning anyway, and it is so tangy and fruity that it leaves me feeling really refreshed and wide awake. Maybe that's what they mean by the cure for muddle head condition ! It's a healthier alternative to caffeine-laden energy drinks so gets a big thumbs up from me.
star rating : 4/5
£2.29 Yumberry Yang Mei Juice Drink (500ml)
£2.55 Yumberry Organic Yang Mei Pure Juice (300ml)