Last Updated: June 13, 2018
Remember when they said that one day we’ll all be replaced by AI robots and humans would be the inferior species? Well, that day has (almost) arrived because right now you can witness a robotic arm prepare your drinks from start to finish at Honeymill.
The process is so efficient that it all begins with a simple press of buttons right from the register! It’s literally a one-man show.
You might find the store a little hard to locate, since Marina One‘s basement is still seeing a gradual influx of tenants rolling up their shutters for business, but trust me, in a few months’ time, this place will be buzzing (no pun intended).
What’s even more interesting than a machine doing all the work, is how all 20 flavours of honey are created. Speaking with founder Sophia Lim, she explained that none of the flavours are artificial.
The honey is purely created by allowing the bees to collect pollen from a specific plant to produce, say, Chestnut Honey (is your mind blown yet?).
And the decision to have a robot mix all the drinks? Due to honey’s viscosity and texture, it can be difficult to dilute it in water with consistent quality, especially when orders are coming in, and they want to eliminate the margin for human error.
The technology is patented and is truly a one-of-a-kind creation in the industry, especially for the consumer side.
They have five honey flavour profiles — floral, fruity, herbal, nutty and woody. To witness this novel process, I decided to order the iced Lavender Honey ($5.80). All the drinks here are made with only two ingredients, the honey of your choice and water (iced, warm or sparkling).
The order starts with the Honeybot raising its arm to the relevant nozzle and waiting for the honey to be dispensed. Fun fact: all the nozzles are exactly the same as those found in honey bottling factories, which helps to ensure the freshness of the honey and appropriate storage.
The cup is then transported over to where water is dispensed and it is vigorously stirred to ensure that all the honey is diluted.
Because I asked for my drink iced, the final step before it was ready involved pouring in a generous amount of ice.
The Honeybot then capped the cup off with a plastic cover and placed it on a mini conveyor belt that brought it over to the storefront ready for collection!
So how was my Lavender Honey drink? It was very light, and although there was no potent lavender taste (which I thought would occur), there was an ever-so-subtle lavender fragrance.
It’s difficult to describe, really, especially since Sophia mentioned that the kinds of honey don’t carry the exact flavour of what they’re labelled. However, you will be able to tell from the subtle nuances and the aftertaste.
I also tried the iced Chestnut Honey ($3.90). I desperately wanted to be able to tell its flavour profile from just the first sip, but it was tough. This was definitely more robust in flavour, nuttier (duh!) and a little smoky.
I actually had the advantage of trying the chestnut honey on its own prior to this drink, and it had a sweet-bitter complexity that really took my taste buds by surprise.
I also wanted to find out how sparkling water affected the taste of a honey drink, so I went with the Citrus C ($5.80) next. This signature drink has citrus honey, passion fruit, lemon, honey jelly and is mixed in with sparkling water.
The Honeybot took an extra step to dispense the additional toppings into the cup, before moving over to a different nozzle that shoots out sparkling water.
Taste-wise, the drink resembled a fizzy lemonade that had a nice touch of crunchiness thanks to the passion fruit seeds. I could detect a bit of sourness, I doubt from the lemon itself, but from the citrus honey.
They also sell Honey Crème, made to be consumed as a spread or a dip. They come available in all the same flavours as the ones available for the drinks, and out of all, I liked the Almond Crème Honey ($24) the most. I could imagine myself slathering this on a warm toast every morning with my coffee.
On the flip side, the Coffee Crème Honey ($24) was the oddest combination. It was quite bitter with very little sweet, and I just couldn’t appreciate the combination of coffee and dark honey on my palate. But, as they say, to each his own.
Want to add some natural sugar to your tea? Their pure honey is available in jars of varying sizes, and they range in price from $8 to above $200.
They also sell honey candies, like the Classic Honey Candy ($10), which could potentially serve as a great alternative to lozenges given that honey has anti-inflammatory properties.
My visit to Honeymill was a very educational one, given that I now have a much deeper understanding of how honey is made and the crucial role that bees and pollination play in the balance of nature. I also learnt that there are honey syndicates that sell ‘mixed’ honey and not all labels that state ‘pure honey’ is true!
It’s a worthy visit to this unique store, not just for the uncommon sight of the Honeybot, but to try and acknowledge the science behind a drink and the journey the honey took from farm to cup.
Expected damage: $4 – $200 per pax