The Sweet Potato Gold Frappuccino and Macchiato are exclusive to Japan this autumn. 

As the weather begins to get cooler and the leaves get ready to fall in a stunning array of colours, Starbucks Japan is capturing the essence of the season with a brand new limited-edition Frappuccino.

And while this new release is based on the beloved autumn flavour of sweet potato, it’s not your standard root vegetable that’s getting the star treatment here, as this one features the flavour of a special Japanese confection called imo kenpi.

▼ Imo kenpi (pictured on the pink plate in the image below) are fried strips of candied sweet potato that look just like french fries, only harder and sweeter.

Our Japanese-language reporter Masami was curious to find out what a drink filled with candied sweet potato fries would taste like, and when she arrived at Starbucks on the release day, she saw that the two new drinks on offer were called the Sweet Potato Gold Frappuccino and Macchiato.

▼ Masami ordered one of each, and decided to begin the taste test with the cold Frappuccino.

This drink comes with a creamy milk base that’s been blended with imo mitsu (Japanese sweet potato syrup). Looking at the Frappuccino from the outside revealed glimpses of imo kenpi pieces as a tantalising preview of what was to come.

▼ The whipped cream topping was drizzled with a mound of deliciously golden sweet potato syrup.

Delving into the Frappuccino brought up delicious spoonfuls of sweet-potato-infused cream, along with generous servings of imo kenpi. These crunchy potato pieces added a fantastic texture to the drink, and Masami was happy to find that some of the candied pieces were softer than others, creating varied textures with every mouthful.

The flavour profile was brilliant as well, with sweet potato playing a rich accompaniment to the bright, sweet notes of the imo kenpi.

Moving on to the Sweet Potato Gold Macchiato, this hot and flavourful beverage differs from its cold counterpart as it doesn’t contain imo kenpi. The autumn-esque flavour of this beverage comes from the addition of imo mitsu syrup, which has been blended with a steamed milk and espresso base. This hot drink had a rich sweetness and warming fragrance similar to a caramel macchiato, with the bitterness of the espresso shot contrasting the sweetness of the syrup perfectly.

Both these drinks are very Japanese in their homage to sweet potatoes and traditional Japanese confectionery, and according to Masami, who has a long history of taste-testing Starbucks’ limited-edition offerings, they’re definitely worth trying for their unique, delicious flavours.

The Sweet Potato Gold Frappuccino is priced at 580 yen (US$5.40) for a tall, and the Sweet Potato Gold Macchiato starts at 440 yen for a short. Both are available at Starbucks stores around Japan from 20 September to 10 October.

Photos © SoraNews24
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