Photo: The Straits Times
Supermarket chain FairPrice will be bringing in more stocks of a Japanese transparent milk tea drink to meet demand, as the clear beverage has been selling out in select outlets it retails at in Singapore. FairPrice started selling Suntory Tennensui Premium Morning Milk Tea last month, a spokesman told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Nov 21). The milk tea is made with Assam tea leaves, a type of black tea from India, and retails at all FairPrice Finest stores for $2.90 per bottle.
"Due to the current surge in demand, there is, however, limited stock availability," said the FairPrice spokesman. "We are looking to bring in more stocks in the coming weeks."
A spokesman for Suntory Beverage and Food Asia told ST that the product is currently marketed only in Japan "but has probably found its way into local stores through parallel importers". When ST visited the FairPrice Finest outlet at Bishan on Friday, the product was sold out.
The tea is sold out on chocoexpress.com.sg. It was also offered for sale on online marketplace Carousell for at least $5, and on eBay for US$15 (S$20).
The transparent milk tea, which was rolled out in Japan on Sept 26, is a follow-up product released after the April launch of a similarly popular transparent lemon tea, according to a statement on Suntory's website. A 550ml bottle sells in Japan for 131 yen (S$1.60), while a 280ml version can be bought from vending machines for 115 yen. A video uploaded by Suntory on Oct 29 shows how the tea is made. Water vapour is infused with the aroma of tea when it passes through loose tea leaves, before cooling in a condenser as clear liquid.
To achieve the milky taste, "milk-based ingredients" are used. A diagram released by Suntory identifies these as lactose and milk minerals, the transparent parts of milk.
In July last year, there was a similar craze over milk tea in Singapore, albeit for a different brand. Milk tea lovers flocked to shops to buy bottles of Chun Cui He, a Taiwanese brand of tea and coffee beverages. The drinks were resold on online marketplaces at exorbitant prices, hoarded by buyers and briefly recalled by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for containing a food additive that is not permitted. The tea "tastes exactly like milk tea, but is less sweet", according to a reporter from The Straits Times who tried the drink in Okinawa last month.
This article was first published on The Straits Times.