Spring has sprung at Starbucks, where a delicious cherry blossom hanami party awaits you.

In Japan, it’s still technically winter at the moment but the days have been unseasonably warm lately, prompting some of the country’s early-blooming sakura to already unfurl their blossoms, reminding us that spring is well and truly on its way.

One place that’s warming up right now is Starbucks, where the cherry blossoms are also beginning to bloom, inside their first Sakura Frappuccino and Milk Latte for 2020.

Our Japanese-language reporter Masami popped by her nearest Starbucks to taste the new drinks when they were released on 15 February, and while she was expecting them to look pretty, she was happy to find they looked even better in person.

The first drink that immediately caught her eye was the Sakura Milk Pudding Frappuccino, which contains sakura strawberry sauce, sakura powder and sakura milk pudding.

The pink hue of the drink was gorgeous, especially when viewed through the beautifully designed cup, which was splashed with images of blue, white and pink sakura petals.

On top, the whipped cream was sprinkled with dainty little pink-coloured rice puff pieces, which resemble the petals of the cherry blossoms.

These pink pieces are one of the best features of the drink, as they look much more like petals than the chocolate shavings used in past Sakura Frappuccino toppings.

Masami took a sip of the good-looking drink, and found that the flavour of sakura was much more subdued than she’d been expecting. The milk component really helped to keep the floral note in check, creating a creamy cherry blossom taste that was perfectly well balanced.

Another highlight of the drink was the milk pudding component, which is designed to be slurped up in every mouthful to add a fun textural contrast to the mix.

The smooth, jelly-like pieces complemented the crispy, crunchy topping and brought the mix of sweet and bitter floral-fruit flavours together nicely.

The hot Sakura Milk Latte is also on sale at the moment, and it looks just as beautiful as its ice-cold companion, featuring the same topping of pretty pink cherry blossom petals.

This sweet beverage combines sakura strawberry sauce with heated milk, which creates a subdued, warming cherry blossom flavour. It doesn’t contain any caffeine, though, so coffee lovers may want to ask for a shot of espresso to be added for an extra 50 yen (US$0.46).

Starbucks has also set up an AR service for customers that lets you take a photo of yourself beside a cherry blossom tree, to make it look and feel like you’re at a hanami picnic.

The Sakura Milk Pudding Frappuccino will be sold in a Tall size for 590 yen (US$5.38) until 25 February, and the Sakura Milk Latte will be available in Short through to Venti sizes until 12 March, for 450-570 yen.

While the drinks are in bloom at Starbucks, the drinkware is too, with special limited-edition cherry blossom cups, glasses and travel mugs on sale at stores around the country, and an exclusive-to-the-roastery sakura range at the Tokyo Reserve Roastery right now as well.

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

[ Read in Japanese ]