Frozen yogurt, a convenient substitute for when you are craving ice cream, but want to go a little healthier on the cream.
With over 18 locations across Canada, “Qoola” have deemed themselves as Canada’s leading self-serve frozen yogurt retailer. There is practically a kiosk or a shoppe in every mall and every shopping district. Today we wanted something sweet in Coquitlam Centre, so found ourselves here.
What sets “Qoola’s” frozen yogurt apart is that they never use powder and their yogurt is made fresh from farm to your cup. It’s sweetness is derived from cane sugar, which is a healthier option; and yogurt is naturally loaded with a high concentration of probiotics. And for those with dietary restrictions, their yogurt is kosher, contains no hormones, and is mostly gluten-free.
This is actually my first time at any “Qoola”, but I am consider myself well versed in the self serve, soft serve and topping bar game. Their open space is inviting with neon lime green patterns and electric purple swirls, set against white walls. Everything was out in the open, easy for you to be lured in to buy and try.
You start by picking up one of their cups, it is a one size only deal. Clever, as it cuts down cost to make just the one size. It is on the larger side, so you feel the need to fill it with more yogurt and more toppings, than you would normally get in a small or medium size cup. You paid by weight, and the above is how they have you adding more to pay for more. If you filled the cup full it would probably be too much frozen anything for any one person. If you want to go the extra mile, they also had special cups already outfitted with a waffle piece. These were locked up behind an acrylic display, only serious contenders asked the staff for assistance with these.
With cup in hand, you then move on to one of their frozen yogurt dispensers. A machine constantly churning, each with its own flavour percolating. Pulling its handle has the desired cream spooling out. Vanilla, chocolate, a creamy tart yogurt, forest berries, strawberry and banana with no sugar added, mango, coconut, and watermelon sorbet. Each set of flavours can also be intertwined, like a twist cone. I wanted the latter of the two, but the machine was down and the coconut yogurt wasn’t freezing.
If over eight flavours to choose from is too much choice, you can make the process easier by asking for samples. These are doled out by the staff, in mini paper cups for you to squeeze and slurp up.
After you have chosen your flavour and dispensed it, it is then time to mix and match toppings to craft your ideal treat. You have several closed bins of dry cereal, chocolate, cookie, and candy to go through. Each choice was labelled, sealed with a see through lid, and kept waiting with a spoon to scoop and dump toppings in to your cup with.
Butterscotch chips, chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chip cookies, yogurt covered pretzels, coconut shavings, crushed Oreos and butterfingers, mini marshmallows, and rainbow coloured mocchi. For candy they peach rings, sour keys, gummy bears, sour watermelon slices, tangy nerds, and strawberry milkshake flavoured gummies. Half the fun is going through each bin and narrowing your selection down. Although you could have easily gotten a bit of everything.
One of my less adventurous guests was content with just mini m&m’s. Whereas I went for the more unique, what I myself would never do and could never make. I did this by leaning towards the options below. In a refrigerated unit by the counter they had help yourself sliced fruit and other desserts. Strawberry, mango, kiwi, pineapple, cantaloupe, and canned lychee and peaches; for fruit. And cheesecake chunks and cookie balls, coconut jelly, and fruit popping pearls; for everything else. They even had squeeze bottle drizzle sauces for that extra indulgence.
Upon reflection, with all the extras, the yogurt isn’t really all that healthy anymore. But without it, it just isn’t the same experience.
The final step in creating your own yogurt cup is bringing your creation to the cash desk and weighing it on their scale. As I mentioned above the weight determines the price. The more you get and the heavier it is, the more you have to pay. The mango one with just the m&m’s was a little over $3. My chocolate and vanilla twist with a bit of watermelon sobet, topped with rainbow mocchi and bubble tea pearls and jellies came close to $6. And my guest with the fruit and nuts on vanilla saw a price closer to $9. After you pay, you take your treat to go as they don’t have seats. Luckily it’s in a mall and the food court had plenty nearby.
No two servings of frozen yogurt are alike. There is no right or wrong way to build a cup. You do what you like and make it how you want it. I personally don’t like the sticky, chewy texture of gummies in ice cream, so would never choose any of them as toppings. I like a little crunch and a texture to my soft serve. Waffle pieces, Oreo crumbles, and peanuts are my classic go-to’s, but I never miss mocchi or anything that squishes with juice when you bite into it.
But if you are not actually looking for yogurt, they have other options as well. They have expanded their menu to included handcrafted smoothies, frozen yogurt cakes, acai bowls, and cold-pressed juices. And if you need something more solid before dessert, they also offer yogurt-infused salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This wouldn’t be my favourite frozen yogurt place. The flavours are good, but I have had others even closer to the texture and taste of really ice cream, but with the low calories and health benefits of yogurt. However with the most frozen yogurt shops in the market, I can easily see myself returning for more with the right craving. Don’t deny your cravings.