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Baobab Juice

Posted in Malawi by stefaniegiglio on 14 August 2010

Malambe Super Baobab Fruit Juice. Malawi

I had the chance this weekend to try to baobab juice. Or, to be more specific, it was “Malambe Super Fruit Juice.” Malambe means “baobab” in Chichewa.

I’ve heard about baobab jam, but never juice, so I was excite to give it a try. Surprisingly enough, I found it in the most mundane of places: a gas station.

The bottle claims that the drink is a “health drink, rich in vitamin C, calcium, and iron.” Healthy and cold as it was, I figured it would be a good idea regardless of how it tasted, so I got the 500ml bottle instead of the 100ml. I also knew the biggest bottle would photograph better.

Having never tasted anything made from a baobab tree, I had no expectations, except a slight inkling that it would have a “tropical” taste. I don’t know how else to describe a “tropical” taste other than to say that despite how different pineapples, papayas, guava, and other such fruits taste, they all taste somehow “tropical.” The baobab juice didn’t disappoint in that manner.

Baobab juice is very thick, like a smoothie. According to the ingredients, there is no actual juice, just baobab pulp, so it sounds like “smoothie” is a better description of the drink. There is no particular smell to the brand I had, which made for quite a surprise when I took a sip.

The flavor of the juice came in three waves. The first, when the juice was in my mouth, had a string “tropical” taste, with a little bitterness (closer to the kind of bitterness in dark chocolate than to that of lemons). Still, it was rather pleasant. While swallowing and for the first wave of aftertaste, it had that slightly fermented taste, as if the fruit used was a few days past ripe, and the bitterness was more pronounced. That was not very pleasant at all. As the aftertaste faded, it returned to the mild tropical flavor, which was the best part of the “Baobab Juice Experience.” Unfortunately, the strong past-ripe taste of the second wave of the taste was too biting for me to finish the bottle. I only made it through two-thirds of it.

From what I’ve heard from the locals, baobab juice differs greatly between brands and years, just like wine. Some are very bitter like the one I’ve tried, but some are very sweet and others are acidic like orange juice or lemonade.

Although my first bottle of baobab juice was too pungent for me, I don’t plan on swearing it off just yet. But I am hoping that the next bottle will be either of the sweet or acidic variety!