Ms Hannah Mahalia Manalac is a fan of coconut shakes. The 26-year-old university student would get her fix from retailers like Mr. Coconut regularly.
“I would take a detour to Punggol to get [a cup of] Mr. Coconut before going home,” said the Woodlands resident. Her home is about 40 minutes away from Punggol by bus.
Even though she has tried other coconut-based beverages such as coconut water, coconut juice and coconut-infused Mojito, Ms Manalac still prefers coconut shakes because they’re flavourful and can be customised.
Coconut shakes are usually made by blending coconut water with coconut ice cream, coconut flesh and ice cubes. Much like many bubble tea stores in Singapore, the sweetness of coconut shakes can be adjusted according to the customers’ preferred sugar level and toppings.
Other retailers like My Little Coconut offer more unique toppings.
Mrs Namthip Taseethong, 33, who started My Little Coconut in June 2020, said: “Red rubies, chendol and pandan sago are usually only available at traditional dessert stalls. We improvised and made it [a] suitable topping.”
She added that these toppings are popular among her customers. Nevertheless, coconut is still the star ingredient because “it has always been well-known for its health benefits”, she said.
Also believing in the star appeal of coconuts is Mr Leo Tan, 34, who co-founded CocoBoss with his business partner, Mr Benjamin Liu, 34.
“My co-founder and I [were] in the travel industry and have been significantly affected by the pandemic. As both of us love coconut shakes, we decided to take a leap of faith and venture into this.”
Mr Tan believes that the coconut shake trend is a craze that is “very much at its infancy stage”, unlike the well-established bubble tea trend.
Mrs Taseethong believes that the coconut shake frenzy can last as long as the bubble tea craze if business owners like herself persevere to keep up the hype around the beverage. “Constantly improving is the key to lasting long,” she said.
Tan Jia Hao, 20, is a recent coconut shake convert. The polytechnic student still loves his bubble tea, but if he’s in a mall with both bubble tea and coconut shake stores, he would join the queue at the latter.
“This refreshing drink hits harder here,” said Jia Hao. “If I’m in a country with a cooler climate, I won’t be enjoying [coconut shake] as much.”
He’s not drinking coconut shake for any health benefits though. “For the coconut shake to taste good and creamy, they also add a lot of coconut ice cream that is really sweet, so you would still consume extra sugar from the ice cream added,” said Jia Hao.
“It’s like saying [an] açaí [bowl] is healthy but you eat it with a fat dollop of cookie butter [that] has more calories than traditional ice cream,” he added.
Edited By: Charlotte Chang