- Kwok Cheng Leng
What to Drink at Octobox, UTown
If you're staying in University Town, or UTown, then you must already know about Octobox. Maybe you've also been in the store countless times to satisfy your snack cravings.
I myself am a huge foodie, but I also love drinks. I’m the kind of person who gets a drink to accompany every meal, if you can relate. That’s why when I first passed by Octobox, my eyes were immediately drawn to the variety of drinks in the refrigerator.
There were so many foreign drinks that I had never seen before! Additionally, the bottle designs all looked interesting, which tempted me to buy and try the different drinks even more. (Kudos to the designers who did the packaging, your design has successfully done its job.)
I didn’t visit the store that first day, but Octobox left such an impression that I felt it beckoning me over the entire week.
Octobox @ me
The next week, I had to visit UTown to attend a class, and I finally had the opportunity to explore Octobox. That’s when I realised that Octobox was actually an unmanned convenience store. In order to enter the store, you have to first scan your palm on a biometric reader.
Entrance to Octobox
When you want to make payment, you enter this small little booth, where their radio-frequency identification (RFID) system will automatically detect what you have with you and generate a price list on the screen.
Scan your palm to enter the booth
In the booth
During my first payment, I was a little apprehensive because I wasn’t sure how things worked and if payment would be more complicated than I thought. But to my surprise, I hadn’t even set my things down onto the counter provided when every single one of my purchases magically showed up onto the screen.
Usually, you’d see snack or food reviews. But today, let me share with you the interesting drinks I’ve tried at Octobox. I also got four of my friends to try out and rate the drinks that I’ve bought out of 5, so I’ll be sharing the average ratings for each drink too.
1. 生气啵啵水 (Sheng Qi Bo Bo Shui) by KellyOne
Wang Yibo fans would know our first drink: 生气啵啵 soda, or KellyOne Popper sparkling water.
Viewing pleasure for the fans (Source: South China Morning Post)
Endorsed by the Chinese celebrity, KellyOne Popper claims that it contains zero sugar, zero calories and zero fat, and that it is 2.5 times more fizzy than other drinks in the market. KellyOne Popper sounds like a healthy drink that not only satisfies your cravings for soda, but will not give you any additional weight no matter how many bottles you drink a week. What more could you want?
Octobox offers a few different flavours, but the one I decided to try was the peach-flavoured Popper.
Look at how pretty the packaging is!
I was pretty excited to try this because I’ve seen images of the drink (and Wang Yibo) circulating online, accompanied by good reviews. However, I was a little disappointed when I actually tasted it.
I expected the soda to flood my taste buds with the taste of peach because I’ve seen some reviews talking about how fragrant the drink was. But in reality, there wasn’t much of a peach taste. What fills your mouth more is the buzzing fizziness. The bubbles kind of overpower the peach taste. I guess the drink proves its claim that it might be more fizzy than other drinks, but because of the increased gassiness, the bitter aftertaste is more prominent as well.
Okay, but my view of KellyOne Popper might be a little biased since I had higher expectations of it based on the good reviews I had read beforehand. Now that my expectations have been violated, it might have negatively influenced or affected my view of the drink. However, after I let my friends try KellyOne Popper, they too felt that the peach taste was a little lacking, and agreed that the carbonated component of KellyOne Popper was very strong.
Average rating of this drink: 2 out of 5
2. 东方树叶 (Dong Fang Shu Ye) Jasmine Tea
I’m a big fan of tea and Octobox’s selection of drinks definitely cater to my taste buds because they offer different teas from different brands! (This is foreshadowing the various teas this list of drinks will include.)
The next drink I tried was this bottle of Jasmine Tea.
The simple yet pretty design and the colour of the tea makes it look appetising
On the back of the bottle, it claims that the tea is 100% made from steeped tea leaves, and the original taste, colour and fragrance of the tea has been preserved with no added sugar. It also boasts having zero calories, and this is not the only zero it has on the packaging. Practically everything in the ingredient list is listed as zero, which at first glance, gives off the impression that this tea might just be the ultimate health drink.
Helth (Source: Know Your Meme)
The tea has a slight fragrant smell, and it really tastes like tea steeped straight from a tea bag. It’s not sweet at all, and is instead light and slightly refreshing. Now, I’m not sure how true its claims are, but I believe that this tea is mostly naturally brewed.
I don’t know if this is just a thing my family does, but you know how sometimes when you’ve eaten a lot of heavy or oily food, you’d “wash away” the greasiness and bloatedness with hot tea? This bottle of Jasmine Tea, albeit cold, would definitely be one of those tea choices for me after a full meal.
For tea lovers, I think you’d definitely like this drink! As a tea lover myself, I would rate this drink a 4 out of 5. Even my mother, who enjoys brewed tea, approves of this drink.
But if you’re someone who prefers sweeter teas like those from bubble tea shops, then you’d probably find this too dull for your taste. Some of my friends who tried this drink aren’t the biggest fans of tea, which brought the average rating down.
Average rating of this drink: 3.5 out of 5
3. 康师傅 (Kang Shi Fu) Peach Oolong Tea
The next drink I picked up was Peach Oolong Tea.
This bottle sleeve looks good too
When I unscrewed the bottle cap, the fragrant scent of oolong and peach wafted up my nose, instantly making me salivate. It was honestly a relaxing and pretty addictive scent, and my friends who tried the drink all commented that it smelled really good.
Upon the first drink, the taste of peach really hit me, and the more I drank, the more I could taste the undertones of oolong tea. This tea was pretty sweet, and I’d say that this would have around a 50% sugar level using bubble tea standards. A friend and I would personally prefer it to be less sweet though. Compared to the previous Jasmine Tea, this is the option that I think bubble tea lovers or people who like stronger flavours would prefer.
One of my friends said that this felt like a drink he could always go back to, just like how ice lemon tea is for some of us, if you get what I mean.
Overall, this Peach Oolong Tea was the most well-liked drink so far.
Average rating of this drink: 4 out of 5
4. 康师傅 (Kang Shi Fu) Jasmine Honey Tea
Because the previous drink was so damn good, I went back to Octobox to get a different flavour under the same brand: Jasmine Honey Tea. (Honestly, this article really gives me a good excuse to try all the drinks possible.)
Unlike the Peach Oolong Tea, this was less sweet. The taste of honey was quite apparent, and the smell of the tea was really appetising too. One small flaw is that there’s a tiny bitter aftertaste, which I think might be due to the honey present in the drink.
For me, I prefer the Peach Oolong Tea, but two of my friends liked this tea better. They thought this drink was rejuvenating, and enjoyed the bittersweet taste that came with the tea.
Average rating of this drink: 3.75 out of 5
5. 茶π (Cha Pai) Peach Oolong Tea
The drink looks aesthetically pleasing, don't you think?
I’m a fan of Cha Pai, and the best drink they have is undoubtedly, to me, their Peach Oolong Tea, so you already know how my review is going to go.
It’s fragrant, it’s adequately sweet, and it’s light and refreshing. Compared to Kang Shi Fu’s Peach Oolong Tea, Cha Pai’s version is less sweet. It also comes with a slight acidity, leaving your mouth a little dry after.
To be honest, my first encounter with the flavour of peach oolong was during that period of time when Cha Pai was trending, and their Peach Oolong Tea just happened to be the first bottle I grabbed to try. So, I guess you can say that I fell in love with Peach Oolong Tea because of Cha Pai. I’m so glad that Octobox offers Cha Pai’s selection of teas, because I can simply head to UTown to buy one whenever I’m craving for it!
Cha Pai’s Peach Oolong Tea is also well-liked by my friends, so the average rating of this drink is a 4 out of 5.
6. HeyTea Grape Soda
The minimalistic packaging of this sparkling water caught my eye, and when I took a closer look in front of the fridge, the first thought that popped into my mind was: “Eh? Since when did HeyTea produce bottled drinks?”
As some of you might know, after HeyTea, which originates from China, opened its bubble tea store in ION Orchard, there were queues snaking from the front of the store all the way to the atrium. Apparently, HeyTea is so madly popular in China that people have queued 7 hours just to get a drink. I love bubble tea, but I can’t relate to that dedication.
Anyways, my curiosity was piqued and I had to get their Grape Soda to see what it would taste like.
Not only does the bottle claim that the soda is zero-sugar, it is also zero-calories, zero-fat and contains real fruit juice. After tasting the soda, I realised that it kind of tastes like Juscool’s Sparkling Grape.
It’s a good drink, and it tastes sweet even though there’s no sugar. The fizziness leaves a sour and bitter taste in the mouth, which I guess cannot be helped since it’s a gassy drink.
It also doesn’t taste too artificial, so if you’re a fan of carbonated drinks, you can give this a try!
Average rating: 3.75 out of 5
And that’s all the drinks that I’ve tried so far! Have you tried any other tasty drinks from Octobox that I didn’t mention? Feel free to recommend them to me in the comments below, or let me know what you think about the drinks I’ve tried if you’ve tasted them too.