Is frozen green tea with pepper as delicious as it sounds?

Back in May last year, Starbucks kicked off its “Japan Wonder Project” which introduced little-known Japanese ingredients to a wider audience with a lineup of drinks featuring an enticing, modern twist.

Now the series is making a bold return with the new Teavana Frozen Tea Kaoru Green Tea x Green Apple.

“Kaoru” literally translates to “fragrant” or “aromatic”, and the special type of green tea being used here is sencha, which is made with leaves that have been exposed to direct sunlight for their entire growing cycle. This style of cultivation makes the leaves grow rapidly, giving them a high tannin and vitamin C content, which results in a sharp flavour profile.

The sharpness of sencha is being joined by apple juice for the new release, using a compote made with green apples from Italy. The green fruit component is amped up with a paste made from kabosu, a popular sour Japanese citrus often used to complement fish dishes.

The iced green tea component contains a blend of sencha, matcha, peppermint, and two very Japanese ingredients: shiso (green perilla) and sansho (Japanese pepper).

This unusual blend of flavours had us gripped with curiosity, and our resident Starbucks expert, Masami, could not rest until she got a taste of it. She headed out as soon as they were released, lined up to buy one, and immediately ripped the lid off her purchase to gaze at its frozen goodness.

This was definitely not an iced tea, as it was beautifully frozen, like an iced slushie, crunching under the spoon that Masami dipped into the drink. And when she took a sip, she was immediately blown away by the delicious blend of flavours.

The green tea and apple flavours were well pronounced, with the sansho pepper slyly peeking through to provide a tantalising spiciness to the mix. The compote was beautifully refreshing, and juicy too, making it taste as if there were real apples in the blend, while the perilla, kabosu, and peppermint brought everything together in the background, playing second fiddle to the more robust tea and apple flavours.

This is a fantastically well-balanced drink that brings together a number of complex ingredients to create a very unique beverage. Available in Short, Tall, Grande and Venti sizes for 450-570 yen (US$4.15-$5.26), the Teavana Frozen Tea Kaoru Green Tea x Green Apple will be on sale for a limited time, from 12 June to 29 August.

Photos © SoraNews24
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