Have you ever heard that stoner question: “What does like, yellow taste like man?”
Recently a group of guys in Tokyo developed a recipe for a color called #c0ffee. Those who don’t use computers heavily may assume it’s a brownish color but…
It’s actually a light turquoise, like this.
“#c0ffee” is a hexadecimal color code, which is basically a combination of letters from a to f and numbers that web pages interpret as a specific color. Hexadecimal color codes are denoted by a hash tag so the little magic elves running the internet know that it’s not a string of nonsense. For example: #FFFFFF indicates black, #FF0000 indicated red, and #c0ffee indicates that light turquoise color above.
So how did they create a beverage the same color as #c0ffee? Is there even any real coffee involved?
Not in the least! The recipe for #c0ffee consists of sardines, cabbage and milk. What’s surprising is that after crating the recipe and putting on Cook Pad, Japan’s most popular recipe-sharing website, a couple of people actually tried it and said it was “delicious.”
Finding it hard to believe a bluish-green drink made from fish could be delicious, I set out to whip up a batch and try it myself!
The main challenge of creating #c0ffee was the lack of blue food. After trying various teas and artificially colored foods like Gari Gari Kun ice pops, the team decided on purple cabbage. It was the most natural food and had a nice taste to it. After some tweeking to improve the color and flavor, #c0ffee was completed.
They put the recipe onto Cook Pad and Nico Nico Video, where it got some buzz.
Here’s what the two comments on Cook Pad had to say:
“Despite its disgusting appearance when you firsts see it, it’s a rather delicious soup.”
“At first I was like ‘whoa’ but it’s delicious! It’s interesting to see the color change too.”
Intrigued, I gathered the ingredients and went to work.
Following the recipe, I first soaked some (5 or 6) dried sardines in 350 mL of water overnight.
The next morning, I removed the fish and added ¼ head of shredded purple cabbage. Then, I turned the heat to high and set it to low once it started to boil.
And then left it to simmer for 15 minutes.
I then separated the soup from the cabbage.
Next I heated up some milk. The recipe recommends using 600mL but that seemed like a lot so I ended up only eyeballing around 400mL.
And then I mixed a milk:soup ratio of 3:1 in a white cup. As you can see it’s still rather purpley.
So I added baking soda pinch by pinch until I got a nice blue tinge to it. The alkaline baking soda reacts with the anthocyanin of the cabbage creating a more bluish hue.
I decided to make Hot #c0ffee but the recipe also allows for Iced #c0ffee in which you chill the purple soup rather than heat the milk.
After trying it, I wasn’t surprised by the taste but I was surprised by how flavorful it was. It was like a really savory and creamy cabbage soup. I only felt a hint of the fish flavor. According to the inventors, the sardines contain inosinic acid which react with the glutamic acid in the cabbage and magnifies the taste by 7 times.
It had a hearty feeling to it and it’s nice that despite the odd color it’s made with no artificial coloring In fact, the anthocyanin that give the purple/blue color are believed to have a range of health benefits, from cancer prevention to alleviating eye strain. It was also the chemical responsible for the blue strawberry fiasco a while back.
You probably notice that the color produced by the code on computers and the color of the drink are different. According to the group the original #c0ffee brewers, that’s a result of the display screen. They used color swatches with the same CMYK levels as #coffee, which resembles a baby blue color. If that makes any sense.
Overall, I doubt I’d make #c0ffee again, but that’s mostly because it’s really difficult to find purple cabbage around my neighborhood and the prep time is rather long. Otherwise, it would definitely make a good side dish to your Christmas dinner both for its thick and savory flavor and as a conversation starter.
▼ An example of hexadecimal color codes