The gorgeous new release, which comes with milk pudding pieces, was unveiled at a special cherry-blossom event space in Tokyo yesterday.
Starbucks constantly thrills its customers around Japan with a large variety of limited-edition Frappuccino flavours throughout the year, but there’s also a popular chilled cup range available at any time of the day or night at convenience stores around the country.
Containing cafe latte, espresso and matcha latte staples, the pre-packaged drinks are occasionally joined by seasonal specials too, like gingerbread lattes and caramel versions with waffle cone flavours, but this spring there’s a brand new variety that everyone will be going crazy for: Sakura Raspberry Milk.
To celebrate the launch of the new beverage, Starbucks held a special event at the Garden Gallery at Daikanyama’s T-Site Complex in Tokyo on 13-14 February, where passers-by were treated to free samples at a beautifully decorated pop-up stall blooming with pink cherry blossom petals.
According to the signboard, the “Sakura Signs of Blooming” pop-up space was specially decorated with cherry blossoms so that customers could enjoy the sakura-flavoured drink in a hanami-come-early type of environment.
Customers were thrilled to be presented with the new drink, and when they were asked to enjoy the beverage inside the event space, there was plenty to keep them entertained.
On the left there was seating in the hanami flower-viewing area, while on the right there was a specially decorated photo spot where customers could hold up signboards and have photos taken of themselves on their smartphones.
Customers were encouraged to share their photos on social media with the hashtag #signsofblooming or #スターバックスさくら, which translates to “Starbucks Sakura” in English.
Customers who used the hashtags were able to see their images pop up on a large screen next to the photo booth area.
These photos could be printed out with a commemorative frame for customers to take home.
In another corner of the room, there was a display dedicated to the “Harmony Collection”, the first of this year’s two ranges of sakura-themed drinkware, which goes on sale at Starbucks outlets around Japan from 15 February.
Surrounded by pink decorations and real-looking cherry blossom trees, it really did feel like spring had sprung early inside the event area as we sat down to try the new beverage.
Before tasting the delights of the new drink, we had to take a moment to admire the beautiful packaging on the limited-edition release.
A beautifully drawn sakura tree can be seen stretching its branches out over the familiar green Starbucks logo, filling the design with a large wash of dark pink that makes the mermaid look like she’s enjoying a hanami flower viewing party under the glow of a string of lights.
The design is accentuated with blossoming flowers of different sizes and varieties, along with a flurry of falling cherry blossom petals.
On the side of the cup are instructions to shake the beverage before drinking, as it contains pieces of soft milk pudding which taste even more delicious when they’re evenly distributed.
After admiring the pretty pink packaging, we jabbed the green straw through the foil lid and took a big slurp. Immediately, the distinct taste of cherry hit the tongue, and it was so strong it almost tasted like straight cherry syrup. After the second sip, however, our tastebuds instantly calmed down as the milky flavour came through, washing out the tartness of the fruity flavours with a mellow, creamy sweetness that was absolutely delicious.
As we took another gulp, we were intrigued by the velvety pieces of milk pudding which were providing an exciting textural element to the drink. Curious to see what they looked like, we ripped off the foil lid and took a peek inside.
The slightly pink-tinged milk was flecked with specks of white, which were the creamy milk pudding pieces. They were hard to see on the surface, but there was a generous amount in there, as every mouthful was filled with the smooth, jelly-like pieces, which kept us going back for more and more until, within moments, we’d finished the entire thing!
The beautiful-looking and delicious-tasting drink is sure to be a hit at hanami cherry blossom viewing parties around the country when the trees begin to bloom during March this year.
On sale from 14 February, the Sakura Raspberry Milk beverage is set to retail for 219 yen (US$1.93) at convenience stores around the country, where it will be competing for your attention with the new Sakura Blossom Latte and Frappuccino, which will be available at Starbucks outlets from 15 February.
Photos © RocketNews24