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Hot Soy Milk Gets New Flavors, Popularity

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cups of hot soy milk are served at Tofu Room Dy’s in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.
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Soy milk drinkers now have a number of ways to enjoy their favorite drink during the cold season. Manufacturers offer different types of soy milk products, while hot soy milk is on the menu in more cafes and tea rooms than ever before.

One such tearoom is Tofu Room Dy’s in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, where hot soy milk is a favorite among the customers. The tea room uses regular soy milk purchased from a tofu maker and serves about 10 different kinds of soy milk drinks, such as the soy milk latte for ¥680.

“Customers can also choose an ice cream option, but lately many are opting for hot drinks,” says Sachiko Yoshigoe, the owner of the tea room.

There are three types of soy milk: regular soy milk; modified soy milk, which contains salt, sugar, or other ingredients to make it easier to drink; and soy milk mixed with mixers including fruit juice or tea. In the past, many felt that the soybean smell of the drink was too strong when reheated, due to the way manufacturers produced their soy milk drinks. This led to the common practice of refrigerating soy milk beverages. However, the taste of processed soy milk has improved in recent times, in part due to advances in processing technology. Now many people have started drinking hot soy milk and using it as a substitute for cow’s milk.

As for soy milk available in stores, customers can choose from different flavors. Manufacturers also suggest that these drinks should be served hot.

In September, Marusan-Ai Co. in Aichi Prefecture, two new 200 milliliters soy milk beverages that can be served hot for the fall-winter season have launched on the market. One is chocolate flavored and costs ¥119, while the other is anko sweet bean paste and butter flavored and costs ¥103. a 500 watt microwave.

“Please try hot soy milk,” said a Marusan-Ai official.

Kikkoman Soyfood Co. in Tokyo, nine out of 26 soy milk drinks advertise as “hottonyu,” meaning “hot soy milk.” A package of nine drinks contains different flavors such as caramel and dark chocolate. Two of the flavors were newly added in August: tiramisu and dorayaki Japanese pancake. It seems that one of the reasons behind their popularity is that even health-conscious people can enjoy the sweet flavors without feeling guilty.

On social media, many users introduce their favorite soy milk flavors and favorite ways to serve soy milk, using the popular slang “oshi”, meaning “favorite”. Some mix soy milk in amazake sweet rice wine or use it in place of cow’s milk in spiced hot chai.

According to the Japan Soymilk Association, domestic production of soymilk will total about 424,000 kiloliters in 2021, about 90% more than 10 years earlier.

“I think the style of drinking hot soy milk will continue to spread,” said Chihiro Sugitani, the association’s executive director.