Brilliant beverage or drink disaster? – SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Brilliant beverage or drink disaster? – SoraNews24 -Japan News-

It looks like it contains apples, but it actually doesn’t.

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Strawberries are the toast of the season around this time of year at Starbucks in Japan, as the chain releases its popular strawberries-and-cream-flavoured Frappuccino for summer. What began as a nod to the tradition of eating strawberries with cream at Wimbledon has grown to become a returning limited-edition Frappuccino, but this year, Starbucks has served up a curve ball by adding another beverage alongside it, called the Matcha Ichigo Frappuccino.

“Ichigo” is the Japanese word for “strawberry”, but it can also be read as “one” (“ichi“) and “five” (“go“). This double meaning gave Starbucks the idea to release the drink on 15 May, and our reporter K. Masami was one of the first in line to give it a go.

Priced at 678 yen (US$4.35) for takeout and 690 yen for dine-in, Masami was curious to know if staff behind the counter had a recommended customisation for the new drink, and when they suggested she add a hit of chocolate sauce at no extra charge “to make it look like kuromitsu (Japanese black sugar syrup)” she took them up on their suggestion.

For some strange reason, the green-and-red hues made Masami think of apples instead of matcha and berries, so when she took a sip, she didn’t know what to expect. Strawberries and green tea can be a hard combination to perfect, given that they both sit heavily on the bitter and tart side of the flavour spectrum, but when she got a taste of her first spoonful, she was surprised to find that it was a harmonious blend.

The mixture was both tart and sweet, thanks to the presence of vanilla syrup and cream, which added enough sweetness to counteract the acidity of the strawberries and the earthy notes of the powdered green tea. While the new drink would’ve tasted great on its own, the addition of chocolate sauce added another layer of flavour and beauty to the drink, balancing out the sweetness, aroma and acidity even further, making for a delicious combination.

▼ The chocolate topping fools the mind into thinking it’s black sugar syrup…or a soft-serve ice cream.

The only downside to this drink is its availability, as it’ll be on the menu for just two weeks, until 28 May. The regular Strawberry Frappuccino, however, will be around a while longer, until 3 September, and for the record, that drink tastes just as good with a chocolate customisation!

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