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Calpis Soda and Other Interesting Calpis Goodies

By Kim Kahan
December 16, 2021

Calpis soda (カルピス) is a sweet and tangy milk-based concentrate, loved by all age groups from children through to grandparents. This milk and lactic acid drink has expanded across the world and is available in countries from America to Europe, where it’s called Calpico.

In Japan, the country of the spin-off, Calpis and Calpis Soda products are everywhere, from Calpis-smelling erasers to Calpis bags. We’ve rounded up the best Calpis soda-related products from the useful to the outlandish.

What is Calpis?

Calpis, a Japanese original drink, was first made over one hundred years ago in 1919 by a researcher called Kaiun Mishima. He was researching lactobacilli (AKA lactic acid), a bacteria produced by fermentation. A present day example of lactobacilli is a starter, such as sourdough or kombucha (fermented tea). 

Calpis is made by mixing sugar, lactobacilli or lactic acid, and skimmed milk to produce a concentrated substance that can be used as a base. Simply put, all the Calpis products are developed by adding ingredients to this cultured milk base. 

A shelf in a supermarket with Calpis Soda and Calpis Water among many other drinks.
Calpis Soda and Calpis may be unassuming, but they are a refreshing and very popular drink here in Japan. Image via Shutterstock

The most common form of Calpis is in its drink form, and it can often be found in vending machines across Japan as Calpis Water and Calpis Soda. Calpis Water is made by mixing Calpis base with (you guessed it) water to create a subtly refreshing beverage. Calpis Soda mixes the Calpis base with carbonated water to produce a tangy carbonated Calpis soft drink. 

During summer, Calpis-flavored kakigori (shaved ice) is popular among Japanese children (and adults!). Calpis shaved ice is made by popping the base directly onto the ice to create a delicious ice snack, perfect for those sweltering summer months.

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Calpis Products

We’ve provided a round-up of the best Calpis products and spin-offs out there, just in time for Christmas.

Calpis Petit (カルピスプチ)

Calpis Petit are tiny little lip-balm-sized packets of Calpis ready to pop into your bag for your on-the-go Calpis fix. Just empty the contents into a glass of water for Calpis water or into fizzy water for Calpis soda. How adorable! 

Calpis Butter 

Believe it or not, Calpis butter is very popular across Japan. It has the Calpis tang but sugar is not added to the standard product, making it surprisingly usable in a variety of ways. 

Calpis Donuts

A few years back, Calpis collaborated with one of the biggest donut stores in Japan: Mister Donuts. The collab saw numerous Calpis donut varieties, from Calpis ring donuts, with Calpis cream inside, to star-shaped dipped donuts with Calpis flavored icing. 

A glass of a Calpis soda mix drink with fruit juice and a fruit puree at the bottom on a table.
Calpis Soda can be used as a base to make plenty of interesting drinks, including this one made with fruit juice and fruit puree. Image via Shutterstock

Calpis Phone Case

With its kawaii  (cute) blue and white spotty design, Calpis soda’s brand really does lend itself to spinoffs and phone cases are no exception. Smartphone cases are available in a multitude of designs, many with glitter and all with those blue and white spots!

Calpis Eraser

We all know that by taking something and making it mini, you’ll up its kawaii-factor by 200. So take a bottle of Calpis, make it mini, and then make it a useful Japanese stationery item, and we have a perfect combination. What’s not to love about mini Calpis-bottle erasers?

Calpis Flavors

Calpis comes in a never-ending variety of flavors, from Calpis Soda grape flavor to grapefruit flavor, but our favorite wacky taste has to be the Strawberries and Cream version. Come Christmas in Japan, Christmas Cake means strawberry and cream shortcake so this Calpis flavor is great for capturing the Japanese Christmas party season. 

A shelf of Calpis in 5 different flavors at a supermarket in Canada.
There are plenty of flavors available abroad, but it doesn’t compare to the range of regional, seasonal, and limited time Calpis and Calpis Soda flavors in Japan. Image via Shutterstock

Calpis Breath Mints

Surprisingly fresh on the breath, Calpis flavor breath mints provide a little Calpis boost for your mouth. Keep in the handbag for easy access!

Calpis Cocktail Can

In addition to a range of exciting flavors, Calpis even comes as an alcoholic cocktail! Available in many convenience stores and supermarkets around Japan, the Calpis Sour can is easily findable among the other standard cocktails, close to the infamous Strong Zero.

A glass of a Calpis Soda cocktail on a platter next to a bottle of Calpis in front of Christmas lights.
The iconic white and blue polka dot pattern of Calpis and Calpis soda easily translates to cute products like t-shirts, phone cases, and stationery. Image via Shutterstock

Calpis Poster

For Calpis super-fans there is even a roaring trade in Calpis posters – hang one up in the dining room so you can drink Calpis and admire the snazzy logo at the same time. 

Calpis T-Shirt

And finally, the streetwear. Calpis has gained many loyal fans over the years and to celebrate their centenary anniversary, they produced a limited run of Calpis t-shirts. Delightful. 

Let us know if you spot any other Calpis-soda related products!

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Kim Kahan

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