Faux Matcha looks like slime in 100º+ heat.
As a Haitian weatherman named Arthur once said, “pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot.” That’s certainly been the case all across the northern hemisphere as we enter the dog days of summer. Not only has the heat hastened the spread of wildfires out west, it’s led Europeans to sleep in grocery stores, and generally made life miserable for anyone brave (dumb?) enough to live without air conditioning. But in at least one Japanese cafe, the impact of hot weather has taken on a decidedly surreal quality.
Temperatures in Nagoya eclipsed 100ºF this week. But things were even more sweltering inside the window display at Oasis 21 Cafe, as evidenced by the fact that plastic matcha lattes began to melt and spill out of their cups. First reported in English by Kotaku, temperatures inside the window approached 140ºF, turning the ersatz beverage into something more structurally and aesthetically similar to the Nickelodeon slime that 90’s kids will remember.
While the use of a plastic food display capable of liquefying in absurd heat might strike westerners as odd, it’s quite a common practice in Japan. These shokuhin sanpuru have been in use since the 1930’s, serving the dual purpose of drawing in customers as they pass by, and acting as a visual menu for visitors who might struggle to order in Japanese. It’s apparently something of a lucrative cottage industry within Japan: the town of Gujo Hachiman seems to pump out a majority of these plastic foods, turning what was once an artisanal practice into $90 million in annual local revenue.
Thankfully for Gujo Hachiman’s reputation, the other items in Oasis 201 Cafe’s display case seem to have held up just fine. Still, it’s not an encouraging sign when the weather is enough to melt silicone and vinyl chloride. The cafe also came up with an ingenious little hack to deal with the problem: rotate the fake matcha so that the combination of heat and gravity should melt things back into place.
Stay hydrated out there, people. Just make sure whatever you're drinking is real.