IN our multi-cultured society, Malaysians tend to fuse different things from two different cultures together. One of the ways this usually comes together is with our local cuisine, as there are many dishes and beverages that are a mixture of Malay, Indian and Chinese delicacies. One of the most interesting beverages you can find at most coffee shops is "cham", a drink that's made up of tea and coffee. The beverage is a hit with many but is quite a hassle to prepare at home, so to provide consumers with a fuss-free solution, Boh recently launched a 3-in-1 instant mix called Boh Cham. To get a better idea behind the creation of this new product, we spoke to Chen Chaw Chang, head of Marketing & Export, Boh Plantations Sdn Bhd to find out what makes it such a unique product. Seeing as Boh is a company primarily known for its tea-based products, we had to ask why they were now moving into a product with coffee. Chen said that product innovation has always been one of the company's key goals and they are constantly looking for ways to provide consumers with newer and better products that are also healthier and yet maintain the authentic flavour of this very Malaysian beverage. Besides the convenience, what makes Boh's version of cham unique is that it is actually the very first drink that mixes two local favourites together - Teh Tarik and White Coffee. On top of that, it is also a healthier option as stevia has been thrown into the mix instead of just pure sugar. To most Malaysians, stevia is a relatively new thing. And Chen explains why it is used in the drink instead of just sugar or artificial sweeteners. "Stevia is actually a natural sweetener derived from a plant that has been used in South America for many years now. Much like artificial sweeteners, it has zero calories and also doesn't affect the blood sugar or insulin levels," he says. "Over the years, there have been many reports and articles on the high rate of diabetes and obesity among Malaysians who have a penchant for high sugar consumption. We felt it was the right time to move to using stevia as it has quite a few benefits compared to sugar and artificial sweeteners." According to Chen, there were a few challenges when it came to producing this new beverage mix. Like artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia has a very different taste profile and some consumers will be able to taste the difference immediately. Which is why they couldn't totally eliminate sugar from the mix as consumers may not be able to accept it. So what Boh did was partially reduce the sugar and added in stevia to maintain the sweetness. Also this was the first time they were experimenting with coffee. Being a tea brand, the balance between the flavour of coffee and tea was a concern. Unlike the cham you get in coffee shops where the coffee flavour tends to overpower the tea flavour, Boh's version has a stronger and richer tea flavour. If you can't get enough of your cham fix daily, then maybe, you should pick up a bag of Boh's ChAm 3-in-1 mix at your local supermarket. It is selling at RM14.30 for a pack of 12 sachets.