The coffeehouse chain dives deeper into the world of Japanese tea.
Along with sushi and ramen, Starbucks’ Japan-exclusive green tea Frappuccinos deserve a spot on the must-try list of culinary consumables while you’re in Japan. But though the chain has offered multiple matcha green tea versions, this month it’s adding a salute to a very different, yet no less delicious, type of Japanese green tea.
When green tea leaves are roasted before brewing, the resulting beverage is called hojicha. With a toasted flavor and scent, hojicha can be enjoyed year-round, but it’s particularly popular in the fall, due to its warming qualities and deep brown color evocative of autumn leaves.
On September 15, Starbucks will be adding the Hojicha Cream Frappuccino with Caramel Sauce to its menu in Japan. Hojicha lattes have been offered periodically by the chain for some time, but this is the first time for hojicha to get the Frappuccino treatment.
In its orthodox form, hojicha, like all Japanese teas, is drunk without any sugar or cream. However, the Frappuccino variant (priced at 540 yen [US$4.90]) is topped with a generous swirl of whipped cream, caramel sauce, and dusted with sugar to add an enticing bit of grit to its texture. The hojicha element, meanwhile, is a mix of five types of toasted green tea leaves.
Also making their debut this month are two grape beverages. The 560-yen Grapy Grape and Tea Jelly Frappuccino has a packed ingredient list, starting with a peach/strawberry blended juice base to which fragrant black tea jelly is added, along with grape pieces and cranberries, plus the standard-for-Frappuccinos whipped cream. If you’d prefer something a little less decadent, the 390-yen Grapy Grape and Tea is essentially the same drink minus the cream and jelly.
The grape beverages are on sale now, with the Frappuccino available until the end of the month and the tea being an option until November 30. The window for the hojicha Frappuccino, though, is much shorter, as it’ll only be offered from September 15 to October 1.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where it’s almost that time of year where he transitions from eating Garigari-kun after dinner to drinking a cup of hojicha.
[ Read in Japanese ]