When thinking about coffee alternatives, garlic is probably one of the last things that comes to mind, but it is exactly the ingredient that a Japanese inventor used to create a drink that would look and taste like that of coffee.
74-year-old Yokitomo Shimotai, a coffee shop owner in Aomori prefecture, Japan, says his only “garlic coffee” is the result of a cooking mistake he made over 30 years ago when he burned a steak and garlic at the same time. Intrigued by the aroma of burnt garlic, he picked it up with a spoon and mixed it with hot water. The resulting drink resembled coffee. Taking mental note of his discovery, Yokimoto continued with his work and only after retiring he resumed research on garlic.
Committed to transforming his bizarre drink into a commercial product, Yokitomo Shimotai has spent years optimising the formula and five years ago has finally achieved a satisfactory result. “My drink is probably the first in the world of its kind,” the inventor said. “It does not contain any caffeine, so it’s good for those who would like to drink coffee at night or during pregnancy.”