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Review: Lianshangni Instant Red Milk Tea Wheat Flavor (China)

Hello, Snäcken readers! Today my friend Stephanie will be writing a guest review of a product we happened upon in our local Asian food market. Check it out!

Milk tea is best known throughout the western hemisphere in the form of the ubiquitous bubble milk tea drink. A classic beverage in Asia, it has only caught on throughout the West in the past decade. Now, bubble tea is enjoying a surge in popularity around college campuses and metropolitan areas. However, few realize that milk tea can be consumed devoid of bubbles.

Lianshangni is a food company based in Anhui, China. The company’s name roughly translates to “still love you”, which could definitely be the name of some overdramatic Chinese drama…based around instant milk teas.

Imagine…

Deep within the heart of China, panic sets in as the milk tea crisis continues. Grief-stricken, milk-tea-less denizens of a small village cling to hope that all is not lost. Two lovers dispute over the final cup of milk tea in their possession, until they read its fateful label…Lianshangni, the story of how love transcends beverage withdrawal.

Lianshangni’s wheat flavor instant red milk tea beverage includes almost everything you need for a full milk tea experience: insulated cup, drinking straw, milk tea powder, and…jelly cubes? Well, okay, people line up for tapioca bubbles in their milk tea; coconut jelly isn’t too far of a stretch. But cubes? Cubes are clearly inferior to spheres.

The instructions state that one can add either hot water for a classic hot milk tea or ice cream for a cold milk tea. Wanting to stick close with tradition, I chose to add hot water rather than risk changing the overall flavor with ice cream.

For those of you who can’t read Chinese, here are the instructions, direct from a former Chinese teacher. Well, my mom.

  1. Open both packets and add to the cup.
  2. Add 350 mL of water of at least 85°C.
  3. Mix and enjoy!

Upon opening the milk tea powder packet, I was hit with an overwhelming wheat scent. It had a nuttiness to it that is reminiscent of the strange wheat germ beverage my grandfather so frequently drank. The scent was so strong that smelling it up close made my head spin. They should require a prescription for this stuff!

The sealed liquid cup held translucent white rectangles of coconut jelly suspended in a clear syrup. Unable to resist curiosity, I tasted the syrup, expecting it to be fruity and sweet like the syrup in Dole fruit cups, but I’m sad to say that it tasted of nothing at all.

Well, after using a measuring cup and all that, the foam cup could only safely hold about 250 mL of water. For the Americans out there, that’s 1.056688 cups.

At last, it was time to taste the swirly, light tan goodness. Occasional bits of wheat powder specks decorated what otherwise could appear to be a light coffee drink. I dipped in the bright yellow straw and took a sip. At this concentration, the wheaty flavor was present, but not overpowering. The milk tea itself was clearly a red tea, but was less flavorful than other not-from-concentrate versions I have tried. Both flavors intermingled unoffendingly and the addition of coconut jelly added a change in texture that proved rather addicting. The jelly itself was more chewy than not, but had a satisfying give to it.

The flavor of this beverage stays true to the authentic wheat red milk tea that East Asians will know and love. The difference between this and its authentic non-instant counterpart lies in the strength of both wheat and red milk tea flavors. As a Westerner, I found this level of strength palatable for a drink of this size, while I may not be able to stomach a full cup of the classic version. For someone more used to the flavor, it may not hit the spot, especially when you’ll find this in an Asian supermarket likely to stock the original versions of these two flavors.

Love, betrayal, and delectable beverages abound! Stick around for the next installment of Lianshangni