The Japan-exclusive dessert drink is topped with a traditional snack that’s been loved by Japanese people for generations.

Japan’s love of fresh produce isn’t limited to just fruits. Foodies get excited about seasonal vegetables too, and with autumn here, it’s sweet potato’s time to shine.

Sweet potatoes are so popular that they’re also the main ingredient in imo kempi, a traditional Japanese snack of fried bits of sweet potato coated with a sugary glaze. Imo kempi are sort of an old-school snack, with a mix of sweet and salty flavors that please the palates of young and old alike, but right now you can also find them at Starbucks.

This month, the Crispy Sweet Potato Frappuccino became the latest Japan-exclusive Frappuccino, and like the name promises, it’s a dessert drink with some significant crunch. The beverage comes topped with the customary Frappuccino swirl of whipped cream, but mixed into it are imo kempi chunks.

The Frappuccino itself is milk-based, enhanced with a sweet potato sauce that’s flavorful and delicious, providing a legitimate sweet potato taste without becoming overly buttery or cloying. The real star here, though, are the imo kempi, which double-team your taste buds with their salty sweetness and stimulate your jaw with their crispy texture.

▼ If they’re too crispy, you can always soften them up a bit by stirring them into the drink itself and letting the sweet potato Frappuccino seep into them.

▼ The Crispy Sweet Potato Frappuccino: A drink you can enjoy with a spoon

But Starbucks didn’t go to all the trouble of producing its sweet potato sauce and in-house kenpi for just a single menu item. Also new to the lineup are Sweet Potato Lattes, in both hot and cold versions. These use the same imo kempi and sweet potato sauce as the Frappuccino, but team them with coffee instead. The unprecedented combination works surprisingly well, with the pleasant bitterness of the espresso drawing out even more of the sweet potato flavor.

The Crispy Sweet Potato Frappuccino is priced at 580 yen (US$5.20) for a tall, while the lattes start at a slightly less expensive 440 for a short. However, even though Japan will be enjoying actual sweet potatoes for the next few months, trying Starbucks’ sweet potato drinks requires a bit more urgency, as they’re available only until September 30.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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