What is Calpico? (Ultimate guide to Calpico)

What is Calpico? (Ultimate guide to Calpico)

Nov 18, 2022 Tags 

Calpico is one of the first names that come to mind when you think of a cool Japanese soft drink. If you've ever visited Japan, you've probably seen Calpico bottles in the country's iconic blue and white summertime polka-dot bottles at vending machines, convenience stores, supermarkets, and even in widely-viewed Japanese media and on television.

The milk-based soft drink Calpico is very well-liked in Japan. Calpico was founded in 1919 and has a history spanning more than 100 years. It is known as "Calpis" in Japan, but the name is changed to "Calpico" outside of Japan because it may be confusing to English speakers.

Call it 'Calpis' or 'Calpico,' there is no doubt that this iconic Japanese drink deserves to be known as it is too good to be missed out on, and so here we are today with a guide to everything you need to know about this fascinating Japanese drink.


Are Calpico and Calpis the same?


Calpico Bottle


Yes, Calpico and Calpis are the same. They are a non-carbonated Japanese soft drink known as Calpis in Japan (pronounced Karupisu) or Calpico overseas. It has a flavor that has been compared to a blend of yogurt, buttermilk, and milk. It tastes remarkably similar to Yakult, the Japanese probiotic beverage, except it is more refined and mellow. It is mild, sweet, somewhat acidic, and cooling. It looks smooth and hazy white. As a division of Asahi Breweries, the Japanese company Calpis Co. Ltd. manufactures Calpis. Since milk is a primary ingredient, the name Calpis combines the letters "Cal" for calcium and "Pis," which is derived from the Sanskrit term "Salpis," which describes the fermentation and improvement of milk's flavor as well as the "five flavors" of Buddhism.

The majority of Calpis offered in Japan comes in a concentrated form that must be diluted with milk or water before use. Although the concentrated form is the original, it is also offered under the name "Calpis Water" in a ready-to-drink form that has already been diluted. The flavors available in the concentrated and ready-to-drink variants include strawberry, lemon, grapes, melon, and others. With their "Calpis Soda," a fizzy, carbonated version of Calpis, Calpis has you covered if you want your soft drinks bubbly. These are offered for sale in various-sized paper cartons, cans, and plastic bottles of plastic.

To answer the question of whether "Calpis" and "Calpico" are the same, the answer, again, is yes. Both products are made by the same firm and share the same main flavor. However, there is one important consideration regarding Calpis and Calpico. While "Calpico" is originally available in the ready-to-drink format, "Calpis" is more likely to be in the concentrated form. Having said that, Calpis and Calpico are both offered as ready-to-drink, flavored, and carbonated concentrates; you must be informed of which one you are buying at the time of purchase.


History of Calpico


Calpis History


Calpico's origins can be traced back to a traditional beverage created and consumed by nomadic people living in the Mongolian mountains, despite the fact that we are only familiar with the modernized version of Calpis. Quite intriguing, huh? In 1904, Kaiun Mishima, the creator of the Calpico company, visited Mongolia on business. He came across a traditional sour milk beverage prepared from fermenting horse milk while touring Inner Mongolia's mountains. This beverage is called Airag (also Kumis in other parts of Asia). Mishima was taken aback by the drink's energizing sweet-tangy flavor as well as by how much it helped with digestion.

He began working on starting a business in Japan in 1915 using the concepts and motivation he had acquired from the Mongolian beverage. Calpico began to be introduced for the first time in Japan on July 7th, 1919. Calpico quickly gained popularity once it was introduced thanks to its distinct flavor and lengthy shelf life. Calpico was offered in concentrated form, which allowed it to maintain freshness without refrigeration for a considerable amount of time in pre-war Japan.


What does Calpico taste like?


Calpico Flavors


Imagine yogurt, milk, and buttermilk mixed into a smooth, creamy, yet light mixture for Calpico's sweet and somewhat tangy flavor. It is the ideal balance of sweet and sour. Lactic acid fermentation gives Calpico its tart flavor. Although Calpico's traditional flavor is the most often consumed, the product is also offered in other fruity varieties.


Nutritional aspects of Calipco


You may be prepared for your first Calpico purchase and declare, "I want one in every flavor," now that you have heard so many positive things about the product. We advise you to familiarize yourself with the nutritional aspects of Calpico before consuming any of its products, so that you are aware of its advantages and any potential dietary and health risks.


What is Calpico made of?


Calpico Can


Water, sugar (sources vary according on flavor kind and country), and non-fat dairy milk processed with lactic acid culture are the main components of Calpico. Depending on the variant, Calpico may also have both artificial and natural tastes.


Does Calpico have caffeine?


Since Calpico is completely caffeine-free, it can be eaten without risking the disruption of your sleep cycles even before bed. Children can safely consume it because it contains no caffeine.


Is Calpico lactose-free?


Calpico contains lactose. Lactic acid produced during the fermentation of milk is one of the dairy components included in Calpico. Consequently, Calpico might not be the greatest beverage for someone who is lactose sensitive. But that's not the end of the story—Calpico is now also available in a completely secure non-dairy, lactose-free variant. "Calpis Green," a plant-based Calpico that will be available in 2020, is free of lactose and has no components derived from animals. Soy milk and fermented soy milk give this Calpico its milky flavor and taste, making it safe for anyone who is lactose intolerant to consume.




Does Calpico have alcohol in it?


Calpico is a soft drink that doesn't include any alcohol. On the other hand, you are in luck if you prefer an alcoholic beverage with Calpico flavor. "Calpico Sour," a pre-made canned cocktail by Asahi Breweries, is a vodka-based sweet-and-sour drink that is ideal for adults who enjoy Calpis to start their weekend.


Is Calpico probiotic?


Calpico is a cultured milk beverage that contains lactobacillus culture, which is good for the intestines. In addition to being found in foods like yogurt, which is often seen as being beneficial for digestion and bowel motions, lactobacillus is a type of bacterium that lives in our digestive systems and supports and promotes healthy digestion. Calpico is therefore thought to be beneficial for digestion. It should be noted that it is not advertised as containing live or active probiotics. Live bacteria or yeast supplements known as probiotics are beneficial to your health, particularly the digestive system. This means that although though Calpico is a cultured milk beverage made from milk that has undergone fermentation caused by lactobacillus bacteria, it does not include active or live probiotics.


Is Calpico healthy?


Calpico Variations


Although technically not a "health drink," Calpico has been shown to have positive effects on health. Compared to many other sweetened soft drinks, it is a healthier choice. It is prepared from non-fat dairy products and is free of caffeine, alcohol, and gluten. To investigate the health advantages of Calpis, Calpico teamed up with RIKEN, a renowned Japanese scientific research organization, in the 1970s. Calpico has been found to have qualities that decrease cancer cells, boost immunity, and lengthen life.

Additionally, studies on humans showed that cultured (fermented) milk from Calpico could help to maintain healthy blood pressure as well as lessen weariness and stress. These results have allowed Calpico to be marketed as a Food for Specified Health Use (FOSHU). There are some other factors to look into regarding Calpico that can give us a good understanding of the nutritional value of Calpis.

One factor to consider when ingesting Calpis is the sugar content. It goes without saying that the concentrate version of Calpico has more sugar than the ready-made version. Having said that, you can hydrate the concentrate however much you like by adding water, ice, milk, etc. You might be able to limit your sugar intake more effectively as a result.
Calcium: Since Calpico is made from dairy products, it is a source of this crucial nutrient for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.


How to dilute the Calpico concentrate? The perfect ratio.


Calpico and Calpico concentrate forms, as you are already aware, can be diluted to your preferred level depending on how strong you want the Calpico taste to be. For this dilution, a ratio of 1:4 (1 part Calpico concentrate to 4 parts water) is advised, while a ratio of 1:6 is advised if you wish to mix it with milk. However, Calpico advises you to experiment as much as you like until you get the ideal flavor and taste for your Golden ratio.

Also, the dilution necessary doesn't have to be with just water or milk. The mildly sweet and sour taste of Calpico is compatible with many different kinds of taste and flavor, opening doors to endless possibilities – lemon juice, plain soda, liqueurs, fruit juices, yogurt, and the list goes on! 

Pro tip: The best way to enjoy diluted Calpico is with plenty of ice cubes. The ice cubes make the drink even more fresh!


Original Calpis Recipe Ideas


Calpico is quite good in its original form as a straightforward but filling beverage. But it goes far beyond than that. You'll be surprised to learn that Calpico may be used in a plethora of different ways, from producing specialty cocktails to baking, making dips, and even as a component in fish recipes! The best course of action would be to stock up on Calpico, begin experimenting, and use all of your ingenuity and creativity to use this wonderful ingredient in your unique recipes. We have gathered some tried-and-true uses for Calpico to give you an idea of how it can be put to use.

As a topping for summer desserts like "Kakigoori," a well-known Japanese delicacy composed of shaved ice, is one of the most popular uses of Calpico concentrate in Japan, both at home and in cafés. Additionally, cappico can be the primary component in sweets like ice cream, sorbet, and gelato. At Japan, it's common to find pre-made Calpico-flavored ice cream and popsicles in shops and supermarkets.

Calpico can be combined with various ingredients to make creative beverages that are both hot and cold and are both refreshing. Think about juices, milkshakes, lassis, and smoothies. There are countless options! A recipe for a beverage including Calpico and tomato juice can be found on the official website of the Japanese brand!

Calpico soft drink recipes here: 

  • https://calpisbeverageusa.com/recipes-restaurants/soft-drinks/
  • https://www.calpis.info/cafe/softdrinks/

Create creative cocktails with Calpico by incorporating it into your happy hour drinks to take them to the next level. Calpico can be blended with a variety of spirits, including whiskeys, vodka, rum, shochu, etc., as well as various fruit tastes to make stunning and revitalizing cocktails.

Find Calpico cocktail recipes here:

  • https://calpisbeverageusa.com/recipes-restaurants/cocktails/

Calpico is a fantastic ingredient for baking delicacies that are not overly sweet because of its reviving tanginess. The official Calpico website offers a variety of baking recipes that use Calpico, including cheesecake, muffins, doughnuts, mochi dessert, jellies, and chiffon cake.

Find Calpico Baking and dessert recipes here:

  • https://www.calpis.info/cafe/desserts/

For dips: Calpico pairs beautifully with common dipping ingredients like cream cheese, yogurt, and mayonnaise thanks to its yogurt flavor.

For savory meals: The creaminess of calpico can help to give your savory foods more richness. Fried chicken batter, Japanese curry, potato salad, a mackerel fish in miso dish(!) and other intriguing savory recipes can be found on Calpico's official website.

Calpico based savory dishes and dips recipe recommended by Calpico can be found here:

  • https://www.calpis.info/cafe/cooking/


What does the Calpico bottle design mean?


Calpico Bottle Design


Tanabata, also known as "Star Festival," is one of the major holidays in Japan and celebrated on July 7, the same day as Calpico was first released in 1919. The festival is very lively and colorful, honoring the myth of two lovers who can only come together on the unique day of Tanabata once a year.

Calpico has a strong connection to this festival and every year, the company runs interesting advertisements with it as the focus. White dots on a background of deep blue made up Calpico's initial packaging, which was designed to resemble the Milky Way galaxy.

The colors of the polka dots were reversed in 1953 to the light blue dots on a white background that has become the signature look of Calpis. Calpico and its white-and-blue polka dots are among the iconic symbols of summer in Japan. Most people in Japan have nostalgic, sentimental, and personal attachments to enjoying Calpico with their friends and families.

Calpico is not only famous as a drink during the summer in Japan. It is a common flavor used in the syrupy topping on Japanese 'Kakigoori,' a dessert similar to granita, made from shaved ice. It also appears flavors in smoothies, shakes, ice-creams, sorbets, and various summer desserts. For example, McDonald's in Japan released a Calpico flavored McShake during summer 2018.


Calpico McDonalds Collaboration


Do you have to keep Calpico in the fridge?


You do not have to keep Calpico refrigerated before it is opened. This is one of the main reasons it became so popular when it was first released. However, once it is opened, it is best to keep it refrigerated to preserve its taste and flavor.


Does Calpico expire?


Calpico comes in a concentrated form, and it’s therefore less susceptible to spoilage. It has a longer shelf life than many other soft drinks. However, it still has an expiration date, which is always clearly indicated on the packaging. 

Most Calpico concentrate variations are good to go for several months after being opened; for example, the original Calpico concentrate (Japanese version) has a shelf life of 9 months.

The shelf life can vary depending on the flavor and the packaging! As you may know, carbonated Calpico soda variations will also lose their fizziness once you open them. 


What is the Calpico Museum?


Calpico Museum


If you’re a really big fan of Calpico, there is more. Even though by now you know pretty much everything there is to know about Calpico from this article, you could learn even more by visiting the actual Calpico Museum. 

It’s located in Gunma prefecture, in central Japan, and called "Calpis Mirai Museum" (Calpis Future Museum). The museum combines a museum and factory production buildings for different Calpico products, including the Calpico drinks, Calpico butter, etc. You can enjoy a free factory tour and get a close walk-through of the production process of Calpico. After the factory tour, you can stay for a tasting of the freshly made Calpico. 

You can learn about Calpico's history, production process, and other cool Calpico facts at the museum through animated videos and elaborate displays. 

One important thing to note is that the museum and the factory tour are very popular for school field trips, so make sure to book before you go.