Luckin Coffee, the Chinese chain known for dirt cheap coffee, is getting a premium makeover through an unlikely partnership with Kweichow Moutai, one of China’s most exclusive liquor brands — and their new latte packs a spirited kick.
The odd couple just dropped a co-branded concoction called “Soy Sauce Fragrance Latte” at Luckin’s 10,000+ locations nationwide.
The new drink features a thick, booze-infused milk made from 53 degree Moutai baijiu, China’s iconic liquor.
Baijiu is a wide category of clear spirits, traditionally produced from products like barley and sorghum. Moutai is the leading name in the baijiu game, and for first-time palettes, it can be quite divisive — some know it as a drink for weddings, or for celebrating business deals, while for others it may induce gag reflexes and blackout flashbacks.
Though it packs a signature baijiu kick, the latte’s alcohol content stays under 0.5%. Retailing for 38 RMB ($5.50) per cup, Luckin is offering big discounts to lure drinkers to try this novel mashup. With coupons, drinkers can score the buzzy latte for just 19 RMB ($2.75).
Luckin Coffee rose as a sudden investor darling, and a contender to beat out Starbucks in China, but fell from grace under revelations of investor fraud. Nonetheless, the company has picked itself up from its lowest lows, and found a comfortable swing by focusing on China’s smaller cities.
One question remains: if the alcohol content is so low, what’s the point? This isn’t the strong Irish Coffee that some boozers know and love (and it’s certainly not the short-lived Family Mart version, in which clerks would simply pour a shot of Ballantine’s into a cup of the store’s regular latte).
Admittedly, the flowery taste of baijiu and the bitter taste of coffee could be a match made in heaven...but you won’t know until you try it.
Images via Luckin Coffee
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