The regional-exclusive drinks pay homage to a local tea master who was forced to commit seppuku by order of a samurai lord.

Starbucks first opened in West Japan on 28 November 1998, making it 20 years since the global coffeehouse chain opened its initial location at Hep Five, a large shopping mall and entertainment centre in Osaka’s Umeda commercial district

To celebrate the milestone, Starbucks has announced a new anniversary project, entitled Starbucks 20th Anniversary in Osaka, which includes a new lineup of region-exclusive beverages featuring the taste of “Metcha Matcha“, which translates to “Very Matcha“.

From 12-21 November, 105 Starbucks outlets around Osaka will be offering the “Osaka Metcha Matcha Latte“, in hot or iced versions, priced at 440-560 yen (US$3.89-$4.94). There’ll also be the “Osaka Metcha Matcha Frappuccino” for 550-670 yen.

According to Starbucks, the new beverages were invented by their baristas in Osaka, with the flavour of green tea chosen as an homage to locally born Sen no Rikyu (1522–1591), a historical figure who had a profound influence on the rituals and etiquette of the Japanese tea ceremony. Rikyu served as the tea master for samurai lord Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), who ordered him to commit ritual suicide due to his independent nature and differing viewpoints.

Rikyu’s strength and loyalty has long been the focus of books, films and anime in Japan, and now the legend lives on in these new Osaka-exclusive Starbucks drinks. Each variety contains a green tea base, made with 1.5 times more green tea than usual, layered with a white vanilla ice cream and topped with a whipped cream, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and green tea powder topping.

The Metcha Matcha range looks set to become incredibly popular, and while the sales period runs from 12-21 November in Osaka, the drinks are only being made in limited quantities so be sure to get in quick before they sell out!

Featured image: Starbucks Japan
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