Kabocha, one of Japans favorite fall foods, arrives just as we enter the month of Halloween.

Autumn is a time of changes. The days get shorter, the temperature gets cooler, and the leaves on the trees shift in color during their last days on the branches.

And this year, there’s also plenty of seasonal changes happening at Japan’s Starbucks locations. While the company has long embraced Japanese dessert culture of rotating in several new flavors throughout the year, this fall the chain has shifted into overdrive, and has now brought out its third special autumnal Frappuccino of the year (following pear and sweet potato).

The newest member of the menu, as of October 1, is the Creamy Pumpkin Frappuccino. However, the flavor isn’t aping the large, orange Western-style pumpkin. Instead, the inspiration here is the kabocha, a smaller squash that’s often referred to as “Japanese pumpkin” and has a deep green rind with a bright yellow-orange inside.

The Creamy Pumpkin Frappuccino is a cream-based dessert beverage, flavored with a sauce made from Ebisu kabocha, a particularly prized type of kabocha with a mild but undeniable sweetness. The drink is topped with a swirl of whipped cream and caramel mixed with crushed candied almonds, giving it a crunch reminiscent of the previous fall Frappuccino, the Crispy Sweet Potato.

But since all Frappuccinos have a whipped cream topping, the Creamy Pumpkin Frappuccino has to do something special to earn the “creamy part of its name.” It does just that by having an extra layer of whipped cream and almonds waiting inside the cup, as shown in the photo below.

▼ Our reporter K. Masami, taking a test sip of the Creamy Pumpkin Frappuccino

The new Frappuccino has a rich and sweet flavor, and while it’s delicious and satisfying on its own, it gets even better when you add a dash of cinnamon. Since we wanted to try it both ways, we didn’t ask the barista to add the cinnamon for us, but instead used the shaker at the condiment bar ourselves after we’d already had a few sips without it. With the cinnamon added, the sweetness of the pumpkin base became even more noticeable, and the bit of spicy aftertaste lent the drink a newly sophisticated feel.

Along with the new Frappuccino, Starbucks has rolled out a non-slushy Creamy Pumpkin Milk, which can be ordered hot or cold.

▼ Pumpkin Milk (right)

The Creamy Pumpkin Frappuccino is priced at 580 yen (US$5.20) for a tall, while a short Creamy Pumpkin Milk will cost you 440 yen. Both are available until October 17, so oddly enough you won’t be able to sip a Pumpkin Frappuccino on Halloween.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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