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This is the slogan of a popular lemon tea drink in Hong Kong.

I wanted to ask what 澀 is. I searched it and it meant “astringent” and a bunch of other negative adjectives.

I think calling your lemon tea as astringent in taste would be a little bit bad for business, so what’s up with this?

Any 港人 here to demystify?

5 Answers 5

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Lemon usually tastes 酸澀 - tartness/acerbity, a sharp sour taste that is rough and bitter and tends to stick to your teeth and tongue.

This is a frequently employed tactic in advertising - use a distasteful thing to induce the notice and curiosity of the buying crowd, and make up a slogan around the taste to challenge the customer's guts to give it a try, and let the tasters find otherwise thus making a fame/popular trend. This tactic works best when the product is focused on the young crowd.

Similar advertisements have been around for the "spicy food - 辣火鍋", and "stinky/fetid food such as 臭豆腐, 榴槤". :)

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澀 here refers to 苦澀 (bitter)

澀得起,就係我 means "Can afford to taste bitter, that's me"

(We know how much bitterness is appropriate in lemon tea)

A lot of popular food and drink contains bitterness, the most famous ones being coffee and beer, so are tea and lemon. Bitterness is a part of these food and drink's charm

The other name for 苦瓜 (bitter melon) is 涼瓜 (cool melon). The bitterness in it would leave a refreshing feeling in your mouth. Lemon, especially its peel, has this effect too.

Most people can't take a strong bitter taste, but an appropriate amount of bitterness can enhance the flavor of a drink

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There's this blog post: 《澀得起》, which explains:

「澀得起」在廣東話的意思是,
即使很澀,你也會覺得好喝。

Perhaps as a translation we could opt for something like: tangy!

The writer of the blog post ends by saying:

再澀,也澀得起!

No matter how sour it is - you'll be able to take it.

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calling your lemon tea as astringent in taste would be a little bit bad for business

well, the logic of such saying is, let’s say:

1 teabag is for 300ml hot water, for brewing a cup of tea

if someone want to save the cost, using 900ml hot water for 1 tea bag, one would get 3 cups of tea. and, the tea would not astringent 🙀

so, when a manufacturer claimed his/her lemon tea is astringent, he/she is implying using adequate materials with proper ratio.

anyway, lemon tea should be astringent and sour; like life 😼

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First of all, you were right about the meaning of 澀, it was kinda "negative", basically is the taste/feeling that your tongue feels when you eat grapes or drink red wine. Some people might like it, but in general, it is not considered positive. Also, in Cantonese, when you say X得起, it means you can afford the consequence by doing X, for example, 玩得起 means you can afford the consequence of 玩(playing); or 孭得起 means you can take the responsibility of something, 孭 means carry, and offer refers to be responsible for something.

So when you drink that lemon tea, you will and you know you will feel 澀. Often it is not a good feeling, but you 澀得起, means you will still enjoy it.

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