Does fresh OJ taste even sweeter when it’s squeezed by a machine?
Vending machines are ubiquitous here in Japan and especially in the hot summer months, finding a machine stocked with cool, refreshing beverages while you’re out walking in the sweltering heat is similar to finding an oasis in a desert. Of course, Japan being Japan, you’ll sometimes stumble across vending machines selling some rather odd wares, and we’ve tried out some of the weirdest and wackiest vending machine drinks on offer.
Our Japanese language reporter Tasuku Egawa is no stranger to weird and wacky beverages, but he recently came across a different kind of vending machine making waves on Japanese social media — a vending machine selling nothing but orange juice. Not only that, but the orange juice is freshly squeezed on the spot.
The vending machine comes from a company called ‘Feed Me Orange’, who installed their first vending machines in Japan earlier this month, and Tasuku was keen to try it out. Being the first of its kind nationwide and being as popular as it was on social media, Tasuku expected the machines to be located in the middle of Tokyo, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that one was actually set up in a shopping mall in Saitama, just outside of Tokyo, and near Tasuku’s house.
“Why here?” he couldn’t help but think, but Tasuku is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and so he set off to grab a cup of fresh OJ.
▼ A lot of oranges can be seen from the outside of the machine.
As Tasuku arrived at the location, he noticed a few other people who had clearly also seen the vending machine on social media and were keen to try it out, but other than that the mall was pretty much empty, giving him free reign to live out his Vitamin C fantasy.
One cup of fresh orange juice costs 500 yen (US$4.50). A lot of people online complained that this was a little pricey, but considering the price of an orange at the supermarket, Tasuku thought he was getting a pretty good deal, so he popped in a 500-yen coin and waited with bated breath.
▼ It’s cash only, so be sure to bring along some change.
The vending machine promises ‘three or four oranges worth of juice in one cup!’ and Tasuku watched as oranges rolled down from the top, got cut in half and were squeezed. There was a plastic bag underneath for the remnants of the squeezed orange to fall into, and the juice was funnelled down into a cup below.
▼ The machine has a clear panel on the side so you can watch the whole squeezing process.
▼ The finished product!
500 yen will get you 200 millilitres (6.8 grams) of freshly squeezed orange juice in a cup with a plastic lid on top to stop it spilling. Pretty nifty!
▼ Here’s the cup next to a pen for size comparison.
▼ The vending machine also has straws so you can drink the juice without taking off the lid.
As Tasuku took his first sip, he immediately noticed the difference between this and regular store-bought orange juice. This was a cup of chilled, refreshing orange juice, and it tasted much more delicious than he was expecting. This tasted… well, really fresh, and you’d be hard-pressed to find other drinks that taste like it.
Tasuku decided to stick around the vending machine for a while and check out the kind of people who were using it. It seemed to be attracting more kids than adults, probably because they were interested in the inner workings of the machine. Tasuku reckons this would be a huge hit at a theme park or somewhere with a lot of children, but if you’re interested in trying it out, there are currently three vending machines dotted around Japan, at Aeon Town Fujimino and Mami Mart Tokorozawa Yamaguchi (both in Saitama) and Shibuya Marui in Tokyo.
Alternatively, if orange juice just isn’t your thing, why not give this apple juice vending machine a try instead?