Showing posts with label Drink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drink. Show all posts

CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice (Toronto)

As a teenager, I thought drinking bubble tea would be a fad. Just like Orbitz, a juice with small spheres of fruit floating throughout, its popularity would wane once consumers got over the novelty of having food in their drinks. Yet, my psychic abilities are non-existent, thankfully, and consumption is still going strong.

Although the drink didn’t arrive in Toronto until the mid-1990’s, it was developed in 1988 when a product development manager at Chun Shui Tang (a Taiwanese teahouse) added sweetened tapioca pudding to their tea and the company loved it so much they started selling it!

For those not in the know, at its simplest, bubble tea is the combination of sweetened tea with a food additive, which isn’t necessarily tapioca (although it’s the most popular choice). In fact, the “bubble” in the name has nothing to do with these pearls, but rather the foamy bubbles floating on top that’s developed through the shaking process. 

Nowadays the drink and topping options seem endless. At CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice, refreshing juices are added in the base and even chopped fresh fruit on top. Nevertheless, there’s something about the tried and true ingredients that still draw people in. Over March, as fans were voting for their favourite drinks, with the exception of passion fruit juice, the winners had scarcely a fruit in sight.

Although a little sweet at first, despite getting the drink at 50% sugariness, the Bubble GaGa ($4.20 for regular or $4.70 for large) is rather refreshing with its passion fruit and green tea base. It’d be great for the warmer months as one begins to crave something tropical since it also incorporates coconut jelly with the tapioca.

But my favourite has to be the 3 Guys ($5 for regular or $5.50 for large), a simple milk tea with three toppings: tapioca, pudding and grass jelly! The tapioca provides that requisite chewiness and the grass jelly an interesting herbal property to the tea. Yet, it’s the pudding, an ingredient I’ve never tried, that’s most surprising adding a silky creaminess when you get a bite with the drink.

The longevity of bubble tea is outstanding, so much so, that the global CoCo franchise turned 20 in April. During this milestone, they’re offering their patrons a few perks:
  • The two top drinks noted above are on sale for April where you can get the large for just $3.80.
  • During April share a photo of CoCo’s tea using hashtag #CoCo20th on any social media platform and that’s your entry towards their contest for winning one month of free CoCo products (that’s one a day)! There will be five winners and to help you along the way, CoCo has photo booths set up in Ontario locations.
Happy birthday CoCo Fresh Tea and good luck to all. May the bubbles be with you.

Disclaimer: The above drinks were complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

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 Location: Toronto, Canada

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Coco Fresh Juice and Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get ready, the LCBO has some new drinks this summer!

We’ve finally had a couple of sunny weekends and lounging on patios and BBQ parties are returning! I can’t wait, it’s the perfect time of the year to be in Canada; where the weather is hot but not so stifling that you can’t stay outdoors. Of course, safety precautions are in order: sunscreen to avoid getting burnt and plenty of drinks to stay hydrated.

Luckily, the LCBO has you covered with new drinks hitting the shelves this summer. Over May, I had the opportunity to attend two launch events to try the ready-made-drinks before it arrived in stores.

For those who know me, aside from wine, my go-to drink is a vodka water with lime – it’s not fancy but is refreshing and seems like a smart choice to consume water with alcohol. Truth be told, it may have something to do with too many sugary Mike’s Hard Lemonades in high school or the better but still sweet Pure Source and Vex of first year university. I’ve grown tired of downing all that sugar and the awful hangovers it leaves you with the next day.

So, when I heard about SoCIAL LITE, a sugar-free sparkling vodka drink, I was intrigued. Started by Dan and Kevin, two friends who wanted a healthier alternative to pre-mixed drinks, they began mixing up concoctions in their own kitchens and using friends and family as focus groups to perfect the recipe. Eventually they came up with two flavours using natural ingredients: lime ginger and lemon cucumber mint.

Having tried both they were very easy drinking despite using no sugars or sweeteners, which means each can is only 80 calories! The lime ginger is the closest to my go-to vodka water with the ginger adding a calming property to the drink. But, I could easily switch to the lemon cucumber mint if the LCBO ever stocks it (for now they will only be carrying to lime ginger for $9.95 for a four pack) as it’s extremely refreshing and makes me feel like I’m drinking at a spa. The only danger is its taste – the can kept emptying so easily!

Mill Street Brewery’s Hard Root Beer (

Being a hard root beer, this drink is of course sweet, so I don’t see myself having more than two at a time. But, this product is perfect for those days that I’m craving a really satisfying drink, something you just sip and enjoy.

Already growing in popularity in the U.S., Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery is making their own hard soda combining root beer with their Vanilla Porter bierschnaps. The resulting drink is reminiscent of root beer but not quite as sweet and has a stronger more adult flavour than a typical A&W: there’s an earthiness to the drink with hints of cinnamon and licorice peeking through.

Available at the LCBO for $14.85 per 6 pack, the hard root beer even comes in the iconic glass bottles. These would be great for parties and likely make some interesting root beer floats!

Congratulations to Canada’s drink industry for coming out with some fantastic new products. I, for one, am happy that it’s no longer all about wines and craft beers – delicious products but I love variety! Pre-mixed drinks are making a comeback and I’m glad there’s at least two wonderful additions this summer.

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Simply Snacking: Thomas Henry Mystic Mango Lemonade

Normally, I don’t drink too many juices. Then, during one dinner in Germany, alcohol didn’t seem appealing but water felt too plain. This was when I discovered Thomas Henry’s mystic mango lemonade, a lightly sweetened carbonated drink.

There’s an intoxicating mango smell that gives me a sense of where the concept of “mystic” comes from. Although the label notes lemonade in the mix, there’s but a slight citrus undernote, with the tropical taste most prevalent.

Thomas Henry if a relatively new company from Germany specializing in unique drinks for adults. Classic mixers such as tonic water, soda water and ginger ale is given a twist, which can be drunk plain or used in fancy cocktails – cherry blossom tonic, anyone?  Unfortunately, for Canadians, Thomas Henry is not available at our bars and retail stores. So, this is something to look for while vacationing (most likely found in their head quarter Berlin).

For a person who doesn’t like sweet juices, I found the drink refreshing and a great alternative to pop. Yet, I sense it would be equally stunning mixed with a spirit to make a sparkling cocktail.

MORE: Back to Simply Snacking

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 Approx. Price:  €1.29