I Taste Tested 3 Signature Luckin Coffee Drinks, Photos (Creamy Dreamy, Big Cheesy, Coconut Latte)

by Nigel Ong

Luckin Coffee is the new darling in the world of coffee. Originating from China, it beat out Starbucks in its home market by opening more shops. It is now working on international expansion, with Singapore its first overseas market. 

I recently visited Luckin Coffee in Singapore to see what made them successful. Part of the visit also has me trying out some of the signature drinks, and I thought I’d share my experience here. 

DrinkTaste Description
Coconut LatteLatte with coconut milk flavoring. Natural coconut flavor, sweet and lightCreamy with a mild coffee taste
Big Cheesy LatteLatte with cheese milk Sweet and savory flavors with mild coffee bitterness
Creamy Dreamy LatteVery creamy, rich milk flavor resembling evaporated milk. Mildly sweet, coffee flavor is subtle and less bitter

About Luckin Coffee

Luckin Coffee was founded in October 2017 by Jenny Qian. The idea was to see if a local player could challenge Starbucks’ domination in China.  

The chain expanded quickly, relying heavily on technology to streamline and increase efficiency. The store also has the vibe of a fast-pumping coffee shop with a strong dose of tech. 

Luckin finally surpassed Starbucks in China in June 2023 when it opened its 10,000th store. This success likely points to the company serving coffee that caters to local palates and adjusting its service to fast, urban Chinese lifestyles.

Luckin was also willing to expand in lower-level cities, where the market is left open by many Western coffee chains. 

The success was achieved despite massive setbacks, such as being caught in accounting scandals. 

In April 2020, it was embroiled in a scandal. It admitted to overstating its 2019 sales by approximately $310 million. This caused its stock price to plummet, and it was delisted by NASDAQ.

Having now beat out Starbucks, Luckin focuses on overseas expansion, with Singapore as its first location. It aims to open up to 10 stores on the island, with future expansion to other regions in Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. 

Drinks On Offer In Luckin Coffee Singapore

During my recent visit to Luckin Coffee Singapore, I could view its menu items online using its ordering app. 

With Luckin, you do not order coffee over the counter like in regular Western coffee shops. Instead, you do everything online. I ordered my drinks here without even needing to talk to the Barista!

Luckin serves the standard coffee fares you would expect. All the regular espresso-based coffees are available – Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, etc. 

There are also single-origin espressos. Currently, they seem to be heavily promoting their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans. These should be floral, fruity beans, perfect as a light roast. 

They also offer many non-coffee drinks under their Matcha series and Exfreezo line. Matcha is a type of ground, powdered Japanese green tea with a creamy taste. The Exfreezo are basically ice shakes infused with Jasmine tea. 

These drinks are probably Luckin’s way to bridge the gap between coffee and bubble tea, to help pull bubble tea drinkers into their store, and eventually work their way up to their coffee drinks. 

There is also an extensive list of signature lattes, which seems to be one of the more popular drinks. 

If you notice, there are letter labels on the menu. Singapore’s government policy requires food companies to list the amount of sugar they contain. 

From the labels, A has the least sugar, with D has the most. You can use this to judge how much sugar is in your drinks.

Tasting 3 Signature Coffee Drinks From Luckin Coffee

I decided to order several of their signature coffee drinks to try out. These signature drinks are the ‘magnets’ to draw in new customers. Unsurprisingly, the drinks are all Lattes, perhaps tasting mild enough for Chinese palates. 

Coconut Latte

My first drink is the Coconut Latte, claimed by Luckin to be one of the best sellers. This is basically a regular latte with a mix of coconut milk flavors. Luckin claims that the coconut flavor is extracted from coconut milk.

I can only speculate here, but perhaps extracts provide a more stable and predictable taste than coconut milk.

You can have the drink hot or cold. In my case, I was advised by the Barista to go with the cold version, as it is the more popular option with the customers. 

The drink is served unshaken, with the Barista leaving the coconut milk flavoring underneath the coffee layer. The advice is to first sip the drink from the bottom unshaken using a straw so you can appreciate the coconut milk flavor. 

You can then shake up the drink to mix the flavors evenly if you wish. However, from my observation of customers in the store, they simply sip from the bottom of the cup without shaking it. 

The coconut flavor is pleasant and tastes natural. On top of the usual creaminess, there is some sweetness, too, light and pleasant. I do not have a sweet tooth, and the sweetness seems nice. 

The coffee is mild, and I would say drowned out by the milk and coconut milk flavoring. This is a bubble tea version of coffee, with the milky and coconut flavor much stronger than the coffee taste itself. 

To me, this is iced milk flavored with coconut and coffee. Luckin’s Coconut Latte will not work if you want a regular iced Latte. But I can see the mild flavors working well with Chinese bubble tea fans. 

Big Cheesy Latte

Next up, I ordered a Big Cheesy Latte. It sounds cheesy, to be honest, but I wonder how coffee tastes with salty cheese inside. Would it taste like salted caramel coffee?

Luckin claims the Big Cheesy Latte is made with a regular latte, topped with ‘classic New Zealand cream cheese.’ The idea is to enjoy your Latte while at the same time tasting the cheesy, milky flavor, similar to a cheesecake. 

Luckin also claims that you will get a 16% boost in aroma recognition when sipping the Big Cheesy Latte. There was no further explanation of what it means; perhaps you can sense the cheese flavor better. 

Like the Coconut Latte, my Big Cheesy Latte is served with two clear layers. The top layers are the Latte itself, while at the bottom are the cheese milk. 

The drink is completely liquid, without any curdles. Suppose all the cheese is in liquid form.

Again, I was advised not to shake the drink but to sip from the bottom of the cup with a straw. The idea is to enjoy the cheese milk flavor again before enjoying it with coffee.

The cheese milk is pleasant, with a soft, salty, savory taste, balanced out by the sweetness of the coffee. The salty-sweet combination reminds me of salted caramel, but here, the milk has a strong twist of creaminess.

I then pulled up the straw and sipped the Latte. This is a mild latte with not much bitterness of the coffee. The milky taste is much stronger.

I stirred the whole drink in before continuing my sipping. Again, this is a very milky cup with little bitterness from the coffee. The only difference between the Coconut Latte and the Big Cheesy Latte is that the latter has some cheesy, salty flavor. 

Again, this is a drink perfect for bubble tea drinkers. Rich and creamy, with the coffee playing second fiddle. If you are looking for a regular iced latte here, you will be disappointed and want more from the coffee.

Creamy Dreamy Latte

Finally, I thought of trying something slightly different. I ordered the Creamy Dreamy Latte. Instead of cold, I decided to try this drink hot to make it slightly different from the previous two drinks. 

I am expecting a very creamy latte, something similar to a Breve. This seems to be true, at least in how Luckin describes it. This seems to be a combination of Latte with creamy flavored milk. 

Luckin also claims that the flavored milk is made from cold-pressed milk, which means the coffee is thicker and has higher protein levels.

The coffee is served to me plain. Unlike regular Latte, there does not seem to be any crema layer on top, which means there’s also no latte art. I suppose this drink is designed to be cold.

The initial sip is pleasant. It is indeed a very creamy cup of Latte. The milk feels rich and intense. I was reminded of the flavors of evaporated milk here. The sweetness is nice, although you may want more if you have a sweeter tooth. 

Coffee flavor is, again, playing third fiddle here. The lead flavor is creaminess before the sweetness and coffee bitterness come through. 

Similar to the other two lattes above, I would say the Creamy Dreamy Latte is not designed for the actual coffee lover. The coffee has little bitterness, which may leave you hanging and wanting more. 

If you want a good, bitter iced Latte, just get yours from Starbucks or other Western coffee shops.

Luckin Latte vs Starbucks Latte

After being loaded with so much creaminess, milk, and weak coffee flavors, I wanted more. There is only so much of this soft coffee I can handle. 

Luckily, there was a Starbucks just a few steps away. I marked over, ordered a regular cup of hot Latte, and sipped it. 

Aside from finally getting a proper taste of a regular Latte, I also get to compare the Luckin lattes with the regular Western ones. 

Starbucks’ Latte is more acceptable to my palate than Luckin Coffee. It is coffee-forward, with the milk playing second. I can taste coffee’s intense, bitter flavors before the milk comes in and smell things up a little bit. 

Finally, a big boy’s Latte. Luckin’s seems to be the kind of coffee you would offer to children instead, with the coffee taste so mellowed out.

Should You Try Luckin Coffee’s Signature Drinks?

My answer would be both yes and no. Let’s look at the no first since I lean heavier on this end. 

Luckin Coffee’s signature drinks are probably designed to adjust to Chinese palates, who are more used to the gentler flavors of tea. On top of that, the best-selling drinks in China are probably bubble teas, which are so milky and creamy that you barely taste any tea inside. 

These signature drinks carry the same DNA as bubble tea, mellowing down the coffee flavor and pumping up the creaminess. This basically makes them taste like ‘bubble coffee.’ This should make them sell well and bring in drinkers used to bubble teas. 

However, when Luckin does this, it alienates actual coffee drinkers, who want the bitterness and earthiness of coffee. 

If you enjoy coffee for its actual flavor, don’t bother trying these signature drinks. You’ll be disappointed and be left wanting more coffee. 

However, you could consider trying these signature drinks for two major reasons. First, there is no harm in trying something new, and this super milky coffee may be something new to you. 

Secondly, I can see myself enjoying Luckin’s signature Lattes on a hot day. You may feel the same.

Perhaps I would enjoy sipping a cup of cold iced coconut latte while strolling in the park under the hot sun. The mellow, creamy tastes may just quench thirst well. 

But to think of it, I’ll probably go for a deep, bitter cup of iced Americano instead.

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