For the first time ever, Starbucks even has a cherry blossom tea in their sakura collection.

Every year, people in Japan look forward to cherry blossom season, a time of year when the days slowly get warmer and pink-hued limited-edition treats appear in stores.

One of the most highly anticipated sakura releases to appear on the market every year, and one which we at SoraNews24 can never resist trying, is the Starbucks collection, which includes hot and cold beverages, alongside a gorgeous selection of pink drinkware that pays homage to the blossoms of spring.

Today, Starbucks revealed all the details for the new 2018 collection, including some interesting surprises that will have customers lining up at branches around the country from next week for a taste. Let’s take a look at the range below!

First up is the Sakura Strawberry Pink Mochi Frappuccino (580 yen [US$5.29]), which pairs cherry blossoms with strawberries for a refreshing springtime flavour. The highlight of this drink is its unusual glutinous texture, which comes from its star ingredient: Domyoji-ko, a dried powder made from steamed sticky rice. This sticky rice powder originates from Domyoji, a temple in Osaka where the rice was once said to cure illnesses, and is used mostly in sakura-flavoured Japanese confectionery today.

The cherry blossom-flavoured sticky rice pieces can be found scattered throughout the entire drink, and on its sakura mochi sauce whipped topping, which, when combined with the crunchy strawberry chocolate chips, is said to create “a whole new Frappuccino sensation“.

Next up in the range is the Sakura Strawberry Pink Milk Latte, which combines the sweet-and-sour taste of cherry blossoms with fruity strawberry flavours. Hot milk is added to the sakura-strawberry sauce base, along with finely chopped pieces of sakura leaf and sake lees, an umami-filled non-alcoholic by-product from the Japanese rice wine-making process, which gives the drink more depth of flavour.

Rounding off the new lineup of beverages is the Sakura Strawberry Pink Tea (430 yen-550 yen), the first tea-based sakura offering in the history of the company. Using Starbucks’ Teavana brand chamomile tea as the base, this drink combines sakura-strawberry sauce with freeze-dried strawberry pieces, creating a sweet-and-sour hot beverage with a pulp-like texture.

Joining the sakura beverages is a range of beautiful drinkware, which will be released in two instalments. The first range, called “Looking Back“, which features retro-inspired, traditional cherry blossom designs, will be available from 15 February.

▼ Prices range from 620 yen (US$5.65) for the beverage cards,
up to 4,500 yen for the large stainless steel bottle (third from the left in the back row below).

The second range, called “Looking Forward“, features more modern designs, with vivid colours that pop against plain backgrounds, creating images of “hope for an exciting future”. This collection will be available in stores from 28 February.

▼ The items here range in price from 1,300 yen for the sakura glass (front, middle)
to 4,600 yen for the stainless steel dot bottle (back left).

This year you’ll also be able to take the blossoms home with you on Starbucks’ Spring Season Blend coffee packs. Ranging in price from 849 yen for the six-pack drip variety (below right) to 1,430 yen for the 250-gram pack (below left), these don’t come with any cherry blossom flavour, unfortunately, but the beautiful limited-edition springtime packaging makes them a perfect seasonal gift for friends and family.

As with all of Starbucks’ limited-edition releases, these won’t be around for long, so be sure to get in quick to get your hands on the sakura range before they disappear for another year.

Sakura season runs from 15 February to 14 March at Starbucks this year, but if you can’t wait until then, you can always try the new Starbucks Sakura Caramel Milk with Mixed Berries chilled cup, available at convenience stores around Japan from 13 February.

Source, images: Starbucks Japan