Christmas is a time for romance in Japan, and we’ve fallen in love with the taste, and even the texture, of these two new Starbucks treats.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been kind of disappointed every time I walk by my local Starbucks. I’ll be ambling along, when I spot the branch’s sidewalk sign out of the corner of my eye, where there’s a picture of a bright green Frappuccino that immediately has me thinking “matcha!” Actually, though, what’s been catching my attention is a picture of Starbucks Japan’s pistachio Frappuccino, which services an entirely different set of flavor needs.

But Starbucks has decided to give a thoughtful Christmas present to all the matcha lovers who’ve been good girls and boys this year, as this week the chain added two new green tea beverages to its menu with the Matcha White Marble Frappuccino and Matcha White Latte.

So this time, instead of walking past my local Starbucks, I walked in.

Even though Starbucks already has green tea Frappuccino and a green tea latte as part of its standing menu in Japan, the new drinks both add a little something extra: white chocolate mocha syrup.

The word “mocha” can have a wide range of meanings, but in the case of these two beverages it’s referring to a mix of white chocolate and milk, as they’re both entirely coffee-free. Starting off with the Matcha White Marble Frappuccino (540 yen [US$4.80] for a tall), the beautiful green color and tall Frappuccino cup make it look a little like a Christmas tree.

While the standard green tea Frappuccino is green, this one is actually white. There’s plenty of matcha sauce drizzled across the whipped cream topping, though, and at the bottom of the cup sits a base of deeply verdant matcha syrup.

▼ It’s so enticing you can feel it drawing you in.

Take a sip, and you’ll see that this is a dessert drink that takes the first part of its classification very seriously. The first sensation is of rich cream, followed by some faint green tea bitterness wrapped in sweetness. Finally, the white chocolate notes come on in the aftertaste as the mixture completes an extremely pleasurable tour of your taste buds.

It’s a sweeter, and more filling, experience than the normal green tea Frappuccino, but if you like the basic version, the Matcha White Marble is definitely worth checking out, as white chocolate and matcha work extremely well together. Also, unlike the crunchy texture of regular Frappuccinos, the Matcha White Marble has a smooth, less icy consistency, which makes it a better fit for the cold weather of December.

Of course, if the idea of sipping a cold drink just weeks before Christmas isn’t something you can get behind, the Matcha White Latte (420 yen for a short) is served piping hot. The first thing you’ll notice is that it has an extremely frothy foam head, almost looking like the briskly whisked green tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies, and it retains a bit of firmness as you drink it, which is a satisfying change of pace from more watery green tea drinks.

What sets the Matcha White Latte apart from the normal Starbucks green tea latte is that instead of plain milk or cream, the foam at the top of the Matcha White Latte is made of a mixture of milk and green tea. In other words, even the foam is matcha, which eliminates the slightly oily finish from the milk of the regular green tea latte. The Matcha White Latte also tastes a little less salty than its mundane counterpart, and though it also has white mocha syrup, it’s not nearly as sweet as the Matcha White Marble Frappuccino, making it a good choice to relax with and leisurely drink (the Matcha White Marble Frappuccino, on the other hand, compels you rapidly consume it through its overtly seductive sweetness).

So in the end, the little differences in ingredients and texture make Starbucks’ two new matcha drinks worthwhile in their own right, even as they share menu space with the pre-existing green tea Frappuccino and latte.

Sadly, the Matcha White Marble Frappuccino and Matcha White Latte will only be available until Christmas Day, which is a short stay even in Japan’s limited-time-obsessed sweets scene. That narrow time window might make it hard for you to find time for two separate trips to Starbucks, so if you’re really a matcha lover…

…I’d recommend ordering both in one swoop, since neither one will disappoint.

Photos ©SoraNews24

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he pledges to keep the spirit of matcha in his heart all year round.