Up until fairly recently, convenience stores may have not been your first thought when it came to procuring a cup of hot coffee. But in the past year or so in Japan, the likes of 7-Eleven and Lawson have begun offering some really great tasting and affordable fresh coffee options with the help of nifty self-service machines positioned near the register. Sure, there are plenty of bottled and canned coffee options in the back, but there’s something about holding a steaming cup of joe in your hands and being able to smell that coffee aroma that makes it hard to resist.
Now, a mysterious new black cup has made an appearance alongside the regular clear iced coffee cups sold in 7-Eleven stores. Get ready for a classic coffee flavor with 7-Eleven’s new iced cafe latte.
After receiving a reader tip about this new way to enjoy fresh convenience store coffee, we knew we had to head over to our local 7-Eleven to try it for ourselves.
The coffee machines installed in 7-Elevens may be pretty great, but they don’t have a separate nozzle for adding milk, so we weren’t entirely sure how are they were planning to create these new iced lattes. The secret, it seems, lies in the ice itself.
When you get a normal iced coffee at the convenience store, you buy a plastic cup filled with ice and the fresh coffee is poured over it. However, in order to achieve an “iced cafe latte”, a little something special is added: tiny white beads. Upon closer inspection we discovered they are in fact frozen balls of milk and sugar.
These iced drinks retail for 180 yen each. After paying for them at the register you use the machine to put the coffee in yourself, just like with the store’s other self-serve options. The price point seemed about right to us, but it would all come down to how it tasted. After anxiously waiting for the brewing and dispensing process to finish, we took a sip of our new chilled, milky coffee brew. The verdict? It’s a winner, and the new addition to our cup goes well with 7-Eleven’s usual coffee blend. The iced cafe latte only has one size, so be sure to only press the “Regular” button.
One thing we should note about the new cafe latte is that the drink comes pre-sweetened. We liked the rich, sugary addition, but those who like their coffee without any extra sweetness should probably steer clear as it may be too much for them. Despite that one caveat, however, we were really satisfied with 7-Eleven’s new coffee offering. Who knew that with such a simple addition you could add some variety to a nice cup of coffee? If this drink takes off, we wouldn’t be surprised if 7-Eleven were to introduce more flavors to their freshly brewed coffee menu.
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