Dining

We tried the world’s first durian tea and it’s not as weird as it sounds

Local tea brand Hi Tea has taken our favourite D24 durian and transformed it into a beverage that surprisingly isn't jelat. And the blend with jasmine tea is meant to combat the heatiness of the fruit
 


Image: Hi Tea

When we first heard of a durian jasmine tea concoction brewing at Northpoint City, to be honest, we felt a mixture of horror, disgust, and curiosity. We thought we heard it all with the durian pizza and durian hotpot, but the idea of drinking durian required a new level of imagination our brain had not processed yet. But curiosity won out, and we decided this was one beverage we had to sample before passing judgment.


Image: Hi Tea

The D24 Premium Durian Jasmine Tea was created by local tea brand Hi Tea, in conjunction with the opening of their second outlet at Northpoint City (their first is located at Far East Plaza).

You won’t find the usual bubble tea suspects at Hi Tea – cofounder Lucas Lee says the decision to move away from pearls is because they want people to be able to focus on the tea. Their menu features Chinese tea infused with fruit juice, as well as Cloud Teas (tea with a layer of cream resting on the top). Don’t expect paltry token slices of fruit in your tea – their signature Mix Fruit King tea has a mix of pineapple, watermelon, lemon, lime, strawberry and passion fruit with cold brew Oolong tea. It’s a literal mouthful, and the drink is served with a fork so you can eat the slices when you’re done slurping it down.

ALSO READ: 10 EASY WAYS TO SATISFY YOUR DURIAN CRAVINGS


Image: Hi Tea

But on to the durian. Upon first glance, it looks like a thick durian smoothie, but this is a classic case of looks being deceiving.

There are actually two layers: the bottom is cold brewed jasmine tea blended with a small amount of durian flesh (just 40g per cup, for subtle flavour), while the top layer is a thick durian cream. This is where the real durian flavour is – it's luscious and creamy, and reminds us of the filling of a durian puff. You’re recommended to drink directly from the cup so you get a mix of both the cream and the tea, though a straw would be helpful once you get down to the dregs.

As for the taste – it’s actually delicious. And we say this going in with healthy scepticism. Hi Tea has somehow managed to make sure that the taste of the jasmine tea still lingers in the mouth and isn’t overpowered by the durian (no mean feat, considering that durian is a force to be reckoned with). It’s a pleasing contrast of rich, creamy durian and the refreshing hit of cold tea. Jasmine tea was deliberately chosen because of its cooling effect to combat the heatiness of the durian – oolong was originally tested out, but the combination didn’t quite work.


Image: Hi Tea

For all of you asking “but why??”, the answer is, why not? “We wanted to feature more innovative fruit teas,” says Lucas. “And we thought, what fruit would Singaporeans like?”

Having first thought of the idea last year, they took six months to develop the drink, even approaching a couple of durian sellers for their feedback. They didn’t want just a hint of durian – it was important that the unique flavour was unmistakable.

As durian is seasonal, Hi Tea will monitor price and availability before making the drink a permanent fixture on the menu. So till then, we reckon you should give it a go, at least for the bragging rights and Instagram stories. We stand by our opinion that it’s a pretty darn impressive achievement to pull off – and Hi Tea has succeeded.

ALSO READ: DURIAN LOVER? YOU'VE GOT TO TRY THESE DURIAN FRIES

 

From now till 3 June, for every purchase of one D24 Premium Durian Jasmine Tea, you get a free tea of your choice. The promotion stands for both outlets at Northpoint City and Far East Plaza.