Starbucks Japan has unveiled another unique beverage — this time a roasted green tea-based Frappuccino that shines golden!

That’s right, the coffee chain has kicked off its “Starbucks Japan Wonder Project” with a new Frappuccino featuring a unique type of hojicha (roasted green tea) known as the Kaga Bo Hojicha (Kaga Stick Roasted Tea). The Japan Wonder Project will apparently focus on various Japanese culinary ingredients that may not be widely known but have the potential to be arranged and presented to consumers in an interesting and attractive light as modern food and drink items with a Starbucks twist.

The first in the Japan Wonder Project products, the Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino is made with a roasted green tea that originated in the Kaga Domain (modern-day Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures), in which only the stick-shaped stem portion of the tea is used. The tea stems are lightly roasted to create a tea with a golden color and a toasty yet delicate aroma.

▼ The drink certainly looks alluring in gold!

Starbucks explains in their press release that Ishikawa Prefecture has historically had a tradition of arts and culture being an important part of the local economy since the rule of the Maeda Clan during the Edo Period, and to this day, it is an area where tea and various other crafts are valued and practiced at a high level. The press release also mentions that the Kaga Bo Hojicha is said to have originated in the beginning of the 20th century when, at a time tea was still an extravagance that most of the public couldn’t afford, a tea merchant by the name of Hayashiya Shinbei decided to sell the tea stems which until then had been thrown out, creating a popular tea product in the process.

The Frappuccino drink combines this roasted tea with a frothy white chocolate cream and jelly made from the same Kaga Bo Hojicha with a sprinkling of the tea in powdered form on top as well, so the traditional tea ingredient aside, it’s definitely the full dessert beverage package that you would expect from Starbucks. And although Starbucks Japan have offered a roasted tea Frappuccino in the past, the special Kaga Bo type of roasted tea sets this drink apart from their past offering.

▼ Starbucks hopes the golden-colored Frappuccino appeals to customers as a casual way to enjoy a special variety of traditional Japanese tea, and that it can be a way to generate interest in local Japanese culture as well.

If the cultural aspect of this interests you, Starbucks Japan have actually just opened an Instagram account for their Japan Wonder Project. The account is in Japanese, but you can still enjoy the photos from different parts of Japan which should give you some unique views into the country.

The Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino is available in a Tall size only for 620 yen (US$5.71) at Starbucks locations across Japan until July 19. If you’re in Japan during that time, you may want to take this chance to find out what a traditional Japanese roasted green tea tastes like as a dessert drink!

Source: Starbucks Japan press release
Top image: Starbucks Japan Coming Soon preview page
Inser images: Starbucks Japan press release, My Starbucks members’ page