Starbucks

Starbucks conquers Japan with first location in Tottori, now has a branch in every prefecture

Tottori: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starbucks (coffee) enterprise. Their continuing mission: to serve strange new Frappuccinos, to open new stores and new locations, to boldly go where no Starbucks has gone before.

For anyone playing Starbucks Japan bingo, you can now cross off Tottori from your sheet. May 23 officially marks the first day that there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in every single prefecture in Japan. Tons of people showed up for the grand opening of the Tottori Starbucks, but was this a great triumph or another situation of the little guy being pushed aside by a huge mega-corp?

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“Solid Sato” sneaks into Starbucks under cover of cardboard box, Metal Gear-style 【VIDEO】

Our resident oddball writer Mr. Sato loves his coffee, so much so that he finds it impossible to pass by a Starbucks without stopping in for a quick coffee break. The only problem is that he tends to favour “girly” drinks like frappuccinos, and lives in fear of being spotted by friends and acquaintances enjoying one.

The solution? Sneak into Starbucks underneath a cardboard box, Solid Snake-style, and see if the baristas will serve coffee to a cardboard box. Check out our video to see how he did!

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Starbucks comes to Tottori, local coffee chain’s poster compares it to Perry arriving in Japan

With Starbucks having won the loyalty of so many customers in so many countries, sometimes it seems like the Seattle-based coffee giant has a location in every corner of the world. There’s still at least one place that’s Starbucks-free, though, and that’s Tottori, the last prefecture in Japan without a branch of its own.

The situation is about to change, though, as Starbucks is set to open its first Tottori location this week. Local coffeehouse chain Sunaba Coffee, whose name is almost an exact copy of Starbucks’ Japanese nickname, is bracing for the impact of its new competitor by guaranteeing its product tastes just as good as Starbucks’, while making the humble request that customers get one out of every three coffee fixes at Sunaba.

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Starbucks Japan to release frozen drink maker for homemade cool refreshments

Who’s ready for the hot and humid summer? We’re approaching the second half of spring here in Japan, so that means it’s almost time to get out those Cool Biz clothes and your sweat towels, because this summer is bound to be as uncomfortably muggy as always.

Starbucks has your back this year though. Later this month they’ll be releasing the “Starbucks Frozen Drink Maker” – a reusable mug that doubles as a super simple frozen coffee mixer. It’s easy, it’s cold and it’s delicious. Let’s take a look!

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Starbucks to release Almond Milk Latte and Frappuccino in Japan for a limited time

For years, fans of Starbucks have been petitioning the coffee chain for a non-dairy alternative to soy. While the company recently responded by adding coconut milk options to their U.S. menus, lovers of almond milk were left out in the cold due to concerns over nut allergens.

Now, for a limited time, Starbucks Japan will be taking the bold step out into nut allergen territory with the release of the Almond Milk Frappuccino with Honey Crunch and the Almond Milk Latte with Honey Crunch. If you’re in Japan from 18 March to 14 April, you’ll be one of the lucky few to introduce your tastebuds to a sweet treat others can only dream of!

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Starbucks sakura series 2015: Caramel, chocolate and a flowery chiffon cake

With Valentine’s Day out of the way, and plum blossoms still in bloom, it’s time for early spring marketing to burst onto the scene in Japan. Leading the pack, as it does every year, is popular coffee chain Starbucks, with the nation’s other favourite flower, the cherry blossom, taking centre stage in their annual line-up of sakura menu items and merchandise.

This year, the humble cherry blossom meets caramel and chocolate in latte and Frappucino forms, and also finds itself in a beautiful pink and white chiffon cake. Curious to know what sakura tastes like when blended with such sweet partners? Join us as we bring you all the photos and flavours from our recent visit.

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Espresso Patronum! Artist creates awesome artwork on Starbucks’ cardboard cup sleeves

The iconic Starbucks mermaid is an instantly recognisable commercial symbol, up there with McDonald’s golden arches or Nike’s tick. But don’t you get a little bored sometimes with the same old face peering back at your from the cardboard sleeve lovingly hugging your steamy cup of joe? One artist decided to jazz up the old mermaid design using black pen, featuring everyone from Dragon Ball‘s Goku to The Legend of Zelda‘s Link, and the results are kind of awesome!

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Attention coffee lovers: The RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukuburuko Ranking 2015 is here!

It seems like we’ve been spending every spare moment we have snatching up fukubukuro, the lucky bag bundles that shoppers in Japan buy at New Year’s without knowing what’s inside. As a matter of fact, by the time we stopped and took count, we’d grabbed eight different fukubukuro from cafés near our office.

As a result, we’re pretty much stocked up on coffee for the next couple of weeks. Honestly, we’ve got so much we’d be happy to pour you a cup, if only the RocketNews24 offices had a visitors’ lounge. But since it doesn’t, instead, we’re going to give you the information you need to pick the best café lucky bag for yourself, as we present the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukubukuro Ranking 2015.

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Contents of Starbucks Coffee’s 2015 lucky bag REVEALED!

Happy New Year! At the start of the new year in Japan many stores release fukubukuro, or lucky bags, where you can get a selection of goodies for less than they usually retail for, as well as limited edition items. People rush around the stores picking up fukubukuro from all their favourite brands, but often the items inside are a secret. We’re here to reveal some of them so you can make an informed decision on which to go for.

Here we have Starbucks Coffee’s offering, which sells for 3,500 yen (US$29). Read on to find out what’s inside!

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Izumo’s Starbucks, a stone’s throw away from the gathering place of Shinto’s eight million gods

Shintoism has such a large pantheon of gods that the religion even has a structured way in which they all keep in touch with each other. Every October, the deities enshrined across the nation are said to gather in Shimane Prefecture’s Izumo Taisha Shrine, where they convene for their annual divine meeting.

We imagine it’s a busy conference, considering that some eight million deities are thought to attend. So we’re sure several of them were happy to find Izumo City now has a Starbucks, with the same tasty beverages the chain serves all over Japan, but with Japanese décor that’s unique to Izumo.

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Korean artist opens a new door to the way we look at Starbucks’ paper cups

To some hardcore coffee fanatics, Starbucks may not serve the best coffee in the world, but they are definitely the most internationally popular coffee brand known to us. Starbucks fans around the world are not just in love with the coffeehouse chain’s signature blends, many of them like the brand as a whole entity, and some artistic individuals have even been inspired to create handicrafts and pieces of art with the brand’s packaging items.

Think you know the brand’s iconic logo well enough? Korean artist Soo Min Kim shows us faces of the infamous siren that we’ve never seen before in his creative renditions of Starbucks cup art!

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Honey, granola and soy — a match made in Starbucks Roppongi!

We’ve all grown to expect seriously enticing beverage offerings from Starbucks by now, haven’t we? Some of them even had customers forming long lines and selling out by noon, like the fresh banana Frappuccinos that they sold for a limited time earlier this year.

Well, according to buzz on the Japanese Internet, it seems Starbucks has done it again with another sweet-sounding Frappuccino, this one combining two already very popular ingredients: granola and honey. But this time, the tempting drink is only available in one area of Tokyo, the Roppongi Hills complex, which meant only one thing — we had to head off to Roppongi and try their new creation ourselves!

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Lifehack: Transform a Starbucks paper bag into a fully functional wallet!

When I was a high school student, I used to find it both ironic and a little bit silly that some of my schoolmates would spend close to a hundred dollars on a wallet, but when you took a peek inside said cash keepers, they would have at most 10 dollars in them. I mean, I could have 50 dollars in my pocket and that would make me richer than them even though they had a snazzy wallet that was the latest trend in town. I never believed in buying things for the sake of trends or status.

If you’re a student who only has 10 dollars to your name, here’s what you should do instead of splurging on a branded or “in-trend” wallet. Buy yourself a drink at Starbucks, to go, get your hands on one of their paper bags, and use that paper bag to make your very own, surprisingly awesome wallet. Instructions after the break!

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Starbucks Geisha coffee is expensive, elegant, has no connection to traditional entertainers

When I walk into Starbucks and order a drink, I accept that I’m paying for more than just a beverage. Embedded in the price are the costs and economic premiums of a central location, comfy couches, and a relaxing atmosphere, and as a consumer, I’m generally satisfied with what I get for my money.

Still, every now and again the chain rolls out some new type of coffee that seems exorbitantly expensive, and this month’s new addition is a doozy, at 1,850 yen (US$18.30) for a single cup! But hold on, it’s called Geisha coffee? Well in that case, it sounds like a bargain! Time with Japan’s traditional entertainers usually isn’t anywhere near that cheap.

Actually, we’ve got some bad news for hardcore Japanophiles, but it’s also good news for coffee lovers. Geisha refers to the type of beans used, which are some of the rarest in the world.

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With autumn nearly here, we skip the beach and head to Starbucks for new caramel beverages

With the calendar now flipped to September, we’ve got to sadly admit that summer is winding down. Japanese society is always in tune with the changing of the seasons, and as autumn starts you’ll see fashionable Tokyoites sporting their fall coats, nature lovers heading for the mountains to appreciate the changing leaves, and Starbucks rolling out seasonal drinks like its new Caramel and Pudding Frappuccino and Shaken Caramel Custard and Espresso.

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Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

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Japan is going bananas over … bananas! We try new banana drinks from Starbucks and McDonald’s

When we first heard about the new banana-based Frappuccinos from Starbucks, we had a sneaky feeling that they just might be a big hit. Bananas have always been a popular fruit in Japan, after all, and the description of the two new Frappuccinos made them sound seriously mouthwatering.

Now that they’ve been on sale for over 10 days, it seems the banana Frappuccinos have been successful beyond everyone’s expectations, and with McDonald’s also having come out with original banana beverages as well, bananas appear to be the sizzling hot ingredient in the world of Japanese cafes at the moment. So, of course we had to look into what everyone was going bananas about!

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Starbucks Japan releases yet another drool-worthy Frappuccino flavor for summer

Starbucks Japan does it again with another seasonal item: the Crunchy Cookie Frappuccino. It’s like milk and cookies in a cup, but it’ll also keep you cool this summer. With a vanilla base, chocolate chunk cookie clusters, and even almonds, it sounds like it’ll be another tempting option on their menu…with an entire cookie crumbled up and blended in!

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Is this new coffeehouse in Tottori Prefecture out to screw Starbucks?

Out of the 47 total prefectures in Japan, Tottori is the only one left without a Starbucks. Total Starbucks domination may seem imminent with plans in the works to open the first shop by spring 2015. However, a new coffee chain opened in Tottori on April 4, and word on the street is that it seeks to rival the international coffee giant. Even its name is a linguistic play on the word “Starbucks.” Do you think this new local business can put a damper on Starbucks’ eventual expansion?

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New Starbucks Frappuccinos look and sound so good they drive us nuts even before going on sale!

Sweet heavens, someone help us because we’re squirming half in delight and half in agony after seeing the newest press release from Starbucks Japan. Half in delight, because we’ve been given a glimpse of the divine-looking new Frappuccinos that will be coming out later this month, and half in agony because we can’t have them RIGHT NOW!

And unless you have a deadly hatred of sweets, we think you just may feel the same way after hearing the description of the two new banana and chocolate based Frappuccinos that were announced earlier this week. Yup, chocolate and banana — you really can’t go wrong with that combination!

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