I tried LiHO’s new limited edition drinks made with strawberries flown in from Korea – and I’m going to miss them sorely when they’re gone

LiHO Tea is launching two strawberry beverages on Jan 19 – and they’ll be taken off the menu in March.
Sean Lim / Business Insider

The pretty tea craze continues in Singapore, with many new tea chains such as The Alley, Nayuki and Tiger Sugar announcing their arrivals.

Home-grown brand LiHO Tea is also hopping onto the bandwagon as it adds an Insta-worthy new Seolhyang Strawberry series to it’s menu – available only for a limited time.

LiHO Tea’s new series – consisting of two beverages – caters to the palettes of the two different types of bubble tea lovers – those who prefer to indulge in creamy, milky goodness and those who like refreshing fruit tea.

LiHO Tea’s Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Latte and Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Green Tea are made using strawberries flown in directly from Sangju City in Korea.

 

The Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Latte and the Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Green Tea.
LiHO Tea

True fruit tea fans know how frustrating it is to order a drink only to realise that artificial fruit flavouring had been added.

But fret not, for these particular LiHO Tea beverages are made using actual strawberries – many of them, in fact.

A staff from LiHO Tea told Business Insider that around six to ten strawberries are added into each drink – which probably contributes to their considerably high prices. Both drinks are priced at S$6.60 for medium size and S$7.60 for large.

When I tried the Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Latte – made of just milk and strawberries – at LiHO Tea’s media preview on Tuesday (Jan 15), I found it tastes just like high quality strawberry ice-cream in liquid form.

Insta-worthy.
Sean Lim / Business Insider

LiHO Tea’s milk-based drinks are well-liked for their rich, creamy texture and the strawberry latte is no exception. It’s richer and more flavourful when compared to existing strawberry milk beverages from other bubble tea brands.

The best part about this drink to me is the chunks – not bits, but chunks – of fresh strawberries inside. It never gets boring as there’s something to anticipate in every sip.

Also, caffeine-sensitive customers can drink to their hearts’ content as there’s not a trace of coffee or tea in the drink.

The other drink is the Fresh Seolhyang Strawberry Green Tea – made with green tea, lime, mint and strawberries.

Sean Lim / Business Insider

It tastes sweet but the lime comes off stronger than expected, bringing out a flavour that resembles a lemon passionfruit concoction.

Also, unlike the latte, the strawberries are mostly blended into the green tea, meaning that there’s close to nothing to chew on but bits of pulp. Because of this, I prefer the latte which gives me something to chew on while sipping my drink.

According to LiHO Tea’s staff, the drinks are made simple with minimal ingredients – two to make the latte and four to make the tea – so that customers can taste the strawberries. They added that they would advise the public not to add additional toppings.

A staff member confirmed that a fixed amount of sugar is added into the drinks but declined to reveal how much it was.

You might want to request for less ice when ordering the latte, as the richness of the milk and strawberries gets diluted rather quickly. In contrast, the taste of the green tea was largely unaffected by melting ice.

The slightly diluted drinks after 20 minutes.
Sean Lim / Business Insider

First time importing fruits

Flown in three times a week, the Sangju City strawberries that go into these drinks aren’t typically found in supermarkets due to their short shelf-life, LiHO Tea said.

While LiHO Tea has always used imported fruits in some of its drinks, these are procured through local resellers. This is the first time that the brand is flying in fresh perishable fruits on its own, Dean Koh, operations director of Royal T Group – parent company of LiHO Tea – told Business Insider.

“We tried to find local suppliers for these Korean strawberries but (the suppliers) quoted us a very high price. With (those prices), we wouldn’t be able to give good value to customers,” he added. In the end, the brand chose to work directly with the Sangju City government to import these strawberries for its limited edition drinks.

These are Seolhyang strawberries which LiHO Tea uses to make the two drinks.
Sean Lim / Business Insider

I managed to try some of these legendary strawberries, and found they were unbelievably soft – so much so that it feels as though they’re melting in my mouth. While they do not taste phenomenally better than those sold by some local retailers, I like how they are juicy and neither overwhelmingly sweet nor sour.

Unfortunately, LiHO Tea will not be selling the strawberries whole.

The Seolhyang Strawberry series will only be sold until March, when the strawberry season in Korea ends.

The drinks will first be launched on Jan 19 at 15 selected outlets.

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