"Conbini" Iced Drinks - Reviewed!

Summer in Niseko means many things. Rafting, golfing, matsuris, BBQ's and more. But one of summer's little pleasures has to be grabbing an iced drink from the local conbini (as we affectionately call our convenience stores).

From milky ice-cream smoothies to super-sweet juices and power-packed iced coffees, Niseko's conbinis offer a plethora of refreshing summer beverages. We tasted, reviewed and scored some of the best. 

Iced Lemonade

Description: The first of our trials is a sweet and slightly sour lemonade served from the machine over ice. 

Lawson Iced Lemonade Lr

Nolan: Nostalgia. Tastes like a summer in Los Angeles where the palm trees sway in the hot desert heat and the lemonade is a just a bit too sweet but hits the spot on the bike ride to baseball practice. 5/5

Kashfia: Despite the fact the sourness makes me squint, I like it. 3/5

Evan: One of those fizzy soft drinks which you intend to sip slowly but inevitably end up downing in one go then getting a brain freeze. Straddles the line between the processed yet slick lemonades you get in a can, and the home-made, natural yet less fizzy lemonade your grandma used to make. 4/5

How much and where: ¥180 from Lawson 

Iced Fruit Vinegar

Description: Flourescent yellow, syrupy mixture over ice. Claims to be 'fruit'. Which fruit? We are unsure. 

Lawson Iced Fruit Vinegar Lr

Kashfia: Loved the combination of fruit flavours. 4/5

Nolan: Refreshing hints of tangy fruit are a perfect cure for the summer heat. I think the Lawson's cocktail could use a bit more vinegar because it's missing the solid kick to the back of the tongue. 3/5

Evan: This is weird for me. I don't usually like vinegar, and this certainly tastes of vinegar, but I kinda like it. You get a hint of vinegar, then just as you're about to grimace in pain, the fruit flavour takes over and soothes it. It's like they've built both the poison and the antidote into one mouthful. Pure Japanese ingenuity! 4/5

How much and where: ¥180 from Lawson

Iced Black Coffee

Description: Machine made cold black coffee poured directly over a plastic cup full of ice. 

Seicomart Iced Coffee Lr

Nolan: Remember those forgettable cups of perfectly neutral coffee you get at airports and nearly abandoned highway stops at 3am? Have a Seicomart Iced Black Coffee for that experience. 1/5

Evan: This cheap caffeine hit it just that. Must be consumed immediately as the ice melts quickly and waters this down. Doesn't taste good anyway. 1/5

Kashfia: Too bitter. This is not the way I like to start my day.   2/5

How much and where: ¥100 from Seicomart

Iced Caffe Latte

Description: Using the same technique as the iced black coffee, this machine made drink contains a coffee/milk mixture, poured over a cup of ice. 

Seicomart Iced Caffe Latte Lr

Evan: Much prefer this to the black coffee, but it's still pretty weak. Too much ice in the cup simply dilutes the flavour and gets weaker with every sip.  2/5

Kashfia: Tastes like a cold glass of no-fat milk. Where's the coffee? 1/5

Nolan: Pretty much milk with a dash of brownish colouring (which I guess is coffee?). 1/5

How much and where: ¥118 from Seicomart

Iced Matcha Latte

Description: Delivered in a plastic cup adorned with kawaii graphics (good sign!), this is a slightly westernized take on the classic Japanese, traditional matcha tea.  

Lawson Iced Matcha Latte Lr

Nolan: It hits the nose with the familiar light quality of matcha, followed by the scent of milk. On first sip, the fine grittiness expected of matcha sifts in with a subtle sweetness that is not too overbearing. Lawson is not a Kyoto tea house but it churns out a decent cup, considering it comes out of a machine. 4/5

Evan: Mmmm, there's a lovely texture there, thicker than the iced coffees but smooth and tasty. This is entry-level matcha, great for beginners who don't want to leap in too deep. I'll be back for more of this. 4/5

Kashfia: Yassss! Go the green, I love it. 5/5 

How much and where: ¥210 from Lawson

Tiramisu Smoothie

Description: How to explain this!? Right, to buy this smoothie, firstly locate the cup in the freezer section. The cup will contain ice cream only, with an upward-facing conical-shaped section removed, which is to be injected with the other toppings including coffee syrup, cookie chunks and milk at the regular coffee machine. Stir before consumption and ask for assistance at the counter if you get lost. 

7 11 Tiramisu Smoothie Lr

Evan: This is the winner for me. Like an Oreo McFlurry but with just enough coffee for a buzz. Starts out thick then gets softer, creamier and more delicious as it slowly melts. Yes! 5/5

Kashfia: This is heaven. The first time I tried these, I ended up having four! I will spare you the rest of that story. 5/5

Nolan: Ice cream, cookie chunks and milk make for a heavier dessert drink more so than a refreshing drink on a scorcher of a day. 3/5

How much and where: ¥345 from 7-eleven 

Strawberry Smoothie

Description: The same concept as the Tiramisu Smoothie, difference being the toppings. Sweet, pink, strawberry syrup with strawberry pieces. 

7 11 Strawberry Smoothie Lr

Nolan: This drink tastes like a strawberry sponge cake minus the sponge, in liquid form. Not bad. But definitely not good. 3/5

Kashfia: Tastes artificial and is too highly concentrated. Draws the water from your throat. 2/5

Evan: Wayyyy too sweet for me. And I think I've had enough milk for one day. 2/5 

How much and where: ¥345 from 7-eleven 


Want to read more of our Conbini Food Reviews? Check out our Pork Bun probe and our Fried Chicken critique.