But will the SoraNews24 Strawberry Latte hit Mr. Sato’s sweet spot?

Despite what it might look like, col.a.fruits is not a vending machine; it’s a new drink stand located in the Shinjuku Marui shopping mall. The store’s name is a portmanteau of the words ‘colour‘ and ‘fruits’, and is intended to be pronounced as karafuru (colourful). The store specialises in fruity drinks, and currently has six fruit lattes and six fruit teas available to buy.

But what separates col.a.fruits from other drink stands is the possibility for personalisation — customers are able to not only choose what kind of drink they want, but can also customise the design of the bottle’s label, adding their own choice of colour and text.

The store is unstaffed, so customers need to design and pay for their drinks through a special website on their smartphone or computer, and then collect it from the store’s special lockers once the order has been made.

All in all, a pretty futuristic process, so we decided to send our very own Mr. Sato, a man always at the forefront of futuristic trends, to give it a try.

First of all, he needed to make his order, so he went to the website to start customising. There were a surprisingly large number of options available for Mr. Sato to customise:

  1. The level of sweetness (choose from three different levels)
  2. Toppings (extra fruit or coco de nata)
  3. The name to be printed on the label (up to 10 alphanumeric characters)
  4. The colour of the label (choose from 15 different colours)
  5. The emoji stamp above the name (choose from 20 different stamps)
  6. The English message above the name (choose from eight different messages)

After careful consideration, Mr. Sato decided to go with a strawberry latte (920 yen [US$6.39]) with some extra fruit topping (108 yen [US$0.75]) and experimented with a variety of stamps and colours. He decided to go with the name ‘Rocketnews‘ (our Japanese sister site), but as the total price came to over 1,000 yen, he wasn’t planning on sharing his drink with the rest of the team any time soon; this was a drink just for Mr. Sato to enjoy!

▼ There she is…Mr. Sato’s personalised Strawberry Latte!

Once Mr. Sato had finished designing his perfect drink, it was time to pay for it.

Payment is done through the O:der payment app (pronounced ‘order’ and not, like I initially assumed, ‘odour’) and can be completed without registering.

Once your payment is complete, you get a QR code which you scan to get your drink at the store. Note the 30-minute window of time Mr. Sato was given to collect his drink — in order to keep the drinks in their best condition, any order not picked up during its allotted time frame gets taken away, so be sure to pick yours up on time.

Thankfully, Mr. Sato arrived within the time limit, so after scanning the QR code at the shop’s terminal…

… his custom-made order appeared on the screen, ready to ‘drop down’ into the locker below it!

Ta da! The drink appeared in the locker, ready for Mr. Sato to take home!

Mr Sato’s first personalised Strawberry Latte!

It even had Mr. Sato’s custom instructions printed on the front — less syrup and an extra fruit topping.

This was certainly a high-tech way to order drinks, and Mr. Sato felt like he’d seen a glimpse of what was to come as he took a swig of his customised beverage. He was living in the future with his own personalised drinks! This was amazing!

Or so he thought, because as Mr. Sato dwelled over his venture into the world of futuristic drink orders, he couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that it was a bit too much hassle.

The col.a.fruits store could be a fun and unique way to send friends a gift via QR code, provided you knew they were close enough and had time to go and pick it up when it was ready. But with the drink costing around double the price of an average Starbucks coffee, plus the time it took to fully customise the bottle, Mr. Sato concluded that it was just simply too much effort to partake in on a regular basis, and it’s just easier to ask “I’ll have one of these, please,” to cashiers at regular drink stands.

It’s not all bad news though; Mr. Sato did admit that the drink itself was pretty tasty and refreshing. So in the case that the price gets lowered and the ordering process becomes slightly more efficient, he’s sure it’ll become a staple in the future.

For now, though, he’ll probably be sticking to the old-fashioned way of buying drinks.

Store information
col.a.fruits / カラフル(col.a.fruits)
Address: Shinjuku Marui Main Building 1F, 3-30-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
東京都新宿区新宿3-30-13 新宿マルイ 本館1F
Open 11:00 a.m-8:00p.m.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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