What I found at … is a series that tests and vets intriguing store-bought foodie finds. It’s the wide-angle parallel to KaSnack attack!, our series reviewing made-in-Hawaii snacks.
What: Suntory Premium Morning Tea milk tea and lemon tea
Where: Refrigerated drinks case and bottled drinks aisle at Marukai Wholesale Mart
Cost: $2.59 a bottle
Q: These look like water. Do they really taste like milk tea and lemon tea?
If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen my video about this crazy crystal-clear milk tea. After seeing it on my friend Gregg Hoshida's Instagram story, I needed to grab one for myself. I found it at a Lawson Station when I was eating my way through Tokyo. Hit play to see what I thought about it.
Much to my surprise, one of my friends spotted it on the shelves at Marukai Wholesale Mart on Dillingham. They're in boxes and in the cold section and even go on sale from time to time for $1.79. Even more surprising is that Marukai also has lemon tea-flavored water, which I could not locate in Tokyo.
A: Yes and no.
Yes, the milk tea does indeed taste just like milk tea in a strange and completely mindblowing way. But it lacks the creaminess and mouthfeel you would get from a real milk tea.
The lemon tea-flavored water is trippy too, but in a way that isn't as shocking because it lacks any tannin bitterness found in a brewed tea. It could have been called lemon water and no one would notice the lack of tea flavor. This is something I could drink regularly. But here, too, I would opt for the real thing over this.
In summary, these Premium Morning Tea drinks are definitely worth a try for their novelty factor. Since they're here in Hawaii, check them out while they're still around.
If you're wondering how it's supposedly made, Suntory released a video demonstrating how they "distill" the tea aroma into the water. Like, what?! It's about as puzzling as the act of drinking the tea itself. Hattip to Frolic reader Toshihiko Kimura for pointing it out to us on Facebook!