Review: Jaka Jamu
Covers Products: Ginger - Tonic, Original - Tonic, Raspberry Leaf
Jaka Jamu is a line of turmeric and tamarind tonics produced in New York City. The products are designed as a ready-to-drink jamu, which is a traditional Indonesian medicinal drink that is typically made from roots, bark, and other natural ingredients.
In the case of this product, the core ingredients of tamarind and turmeric are the foundation for all three flavors, including Original, Ginger, and Raspberry Leaf. The three SKUs range from zero to 10 calories per bottle.
The turmeric and tamarind blend gives each product earthy, slightly spicy notes, with a slightly sour finish. The differences between the three flavors is quite subtle -- Original has a pepper note, Ginger has a barely noticeable ginger note, and Raspberry Leaf simply tastes a bit more tart -- so these products are all for the same palate.
To that end, we think that there should be a bit more variety between the three products; right now, we think they, at least in their current form, are going to be too niche. Dialing up the flavor in the Ginger variety is an obvious fix for that flavor, but we’re honestly not sure what the solution is for the other two.
Jaka Jamu is packaged in a 10 oz glass bottle with a flat cap. This bottle is commonly used as a sauce or condiment bottle, which is a likely indicator that this product is small batch or produced in a commissary kitchen.
The bottle features a white label with a mix of different fonts as well as the brand’s logo. We found it slightly hard to figure out the name of the brand upon first glance, as they’ve made “Jaka” (which is stacked as “JA” on top of “KA”) much smaller than “Jamu.” From there, the hierarchy of the label seems a bit off, with the flavor name placed above the description of the product. The bottom row of the label features icons with explanatory text that are used to describe the ingredients.
While the packaging looks the part of an authentic and artisanal product, it needs work from an aesthetics perspective. The brand needs to do a better job of quickly telling the consumer what it is; with no preexisting market or demand for jamu drinks, there’s an increased need to help educate consumers .
In the end, Jaka Jamu’s greatest strength is its unique concept and artisanal quality. However, the brand has a lot of work ahead of it in order to create something that will be commercially successful.