While there is an overwhelming assortment of quality cafes in Japan, Starbucks may be the most notorious for how creative they get with their seasonal drinks. In the past, we’ve seen a Key Lime and Yogurt Frappuccino, Crispy Sweet Potato Latte, and the widely controversial American Pie Frappuccino topped with a real pie crust. The drinks are a treat for any aesthetic appreciating person, but sometimes a bit too sweet and heavy on the stomach. At the edge of each season, I eagerly await the announcement of what the next seasonal drink will be, crossing my fingers that they stop putting gritty sweet potatoes and crunchy granola things in the way of my creamy smooth 700 yen drink.
With Spring right around the corner, and the sakura trees on the brink of blooming, we got considerably lucky this season with a delicious duo of sakura flavored drinks. For those who have never had the pleasure of tasting something sakura flavored, sakura is typically served as a warm tea, featuring a surprisingly naturally sweet flavor with very little bitterness and the smallest touch of something almost cinnamon-like. With that being said, when sakura tea is processed with lots of milk and sugar, the deep natural flavor tends to get lost in the creamy sweetness.
This season Starbucks Japan has managed to create two drinks that balance the two qualities in perfect harmony. The SAKURAFUL Frappuccino’s flowery flavor is complimented by sakura flavored jelly bits, as well as sakura and strawberry flavored chocolate flakes that represent the iconic flower petals, resting atop a hearty serving of whipped cream. Any foodie knows that when you have chunks of something like jelly or boba in a drink, they tend to be all eaten up by the time the drink is only halfway finished. However, to my delight, there was the perfect ratio of jelly in this sticky sweet frappuccino. I usually don’t care to put myself through the pains of heavy cream and sugar concoctions more than once a season, but I might just find myself returning for a second helping sometime soon.
You can enjoy the SAKURAFUL Frappuccino until February 27, and the SAKURAFUL Milk Latte until March 19 at just about any Starbucks location in Japan.