We’ve tried the first entry in Starbucks’ Japan Wonder Project, and it’s amazing!

Japan loves limited-time flavors, and the latest comes in the form of Starbucks’ Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino, which just went on sale May 30. We tried it for ourselves, and the result is a powerful mix of emotions.

The star ingredient this time is Kaga bo hojicha, a type of roasted green tea that uses the plant’s stems instead of its leaves. It’s accompanied by a host of supporting cast members, which we’ve diagrammed below.

▼ Clockwise from top left: whipped cream, tea powder, divinely delicious hojicha Frappuccino base, extra-flavorful Kaga bo hojicha gelatin, and rich, smooth white chocolate cream.

Like most Japanese teas, hojicha is traditionally drunk straight from the cup it’s poured into, but since this is a Frappuccino, we obviously drank it through a straw. As we took our first sip, not only did the flavor of roasted green tea dance on our taste buds, the fragrance of hojicha also wafted up towards us, and was so immensely satisfying we thought it was about to carry us to the heavens.

▼ Hojicha Frappuccino, take us away!

As we progressed down to the lower strata of the drink, our next pleasant surprise came with the white chocolate. Regular chocolate and matcha green tea are well-known to be a winning combination, but here, the creamier, less sweet flavor of the white chocolate is an excellent complement to the nuttier hojicha, drawing out more of the tea notes and providing a clean, refreshing finish.

Finally, we reached the bottom of the cup, where the hojicha gelatin was waiting for us, and in turn, it made us wait for it. The gelatin’s elasticity means you have to sip extra-hard to get it to work its way up the straw, but once it does, your effort is well rewarded, with enough flavor and aroma to make a tea lover giddy with delight. We could almost feel the hojicha gelatin chastising us for our impatience, even as each sip left us desperate for another.

That endless loop meant that before we knew it, we’d polished off our Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino. While some seasonal sweets leave us thinking “That was nice, but nothing I need to repeat,” this was a different situation entirely, as we immediately found ourselves thinking “We want another.” Luckily, at 372 calories for a tall (priced at 620 yen [US$5.70]), the Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino has a relatively low calorie count for a Frappuccino. By comparison, the Chocolate Very Much Frappuccino packs 514 calories into a same-size serving, so our planned repeats won’t have quite the same effect on our waists.

Still, eventually the Kaga Bo Hojicha Frappuccino will leave the Starbucks menu, with the current date of that sad event scheduled for July 19. On the bright side, the dessert drink is the first installment in the company’s new Japan Wonder Project of new items, and after this dazzling debut, we’re excited to see what comes next.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where green tea Frappuccinos single0handedly changed his opinion about Starbucks back in college.

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