Classy new drink has its roots in Tokyo university student life.

This summer saw a dearth of new items from Starbucks Japan, as the chain put the brakes on its ordinary cycle of food and beverage rollouts following a temporary nationwide closure in spring as a response to the coronavirus outbreak. But in an encouraging sign of inching back towards the old normal, Starbucks is now open across Japan, and is back to giving us all something to look forward to with new seasonal Frappuccino flavors.

Last week we tried Starbucks’ new marron (chestnut) blended ice beverage, and no sooner has the aftertaste faded from our taste buds than word comes of a new autumnal dessert drink, this time based on Japan’s delicious daigaku imo, or college potatoes.

▼ Non-Frappuccino daigaku imo

While the spuds themselves lack any sort of higher education, the glazed sweet potato snack gets its name from being a favorite of Tokyo college students when it was created in the late 1920s, since it was strongly-flavored, filling, and cheap. Daigaku imo have since found wider popularity outside of academia, and with fall being the season when sweet potatoes are at their most delicious, Starbucks is adding a Daigaku Imo Frappuccino to its drink list as part of its Artful Autumn @ Starbucks campaign.

The base is made with a blended sweet potato and enhanced with a brown sugar syrup, inspired by the glaze spread on daigaku imo. Whipped cream topping is, of course, a standard part of any Frappuccino, and here it’s sprinkled with black sesame seeds, which should mix in a mature spice with all of the sweetness, making for a complex and satisfying drinking experience.

The Daigaku Imo Frappuccino, priced at 590 yen (US$5.55) for a tall size, joins the Starbucks menu on September 23 and is scheduled to stick around until late October. Maybe if we’re lucky it’ll inspire McDonalds’s Japan to bring back their daigaku imo French fries too.

Source: Starbucks via Entabe
Top image: Starbucks
Insert images: SoraNews24, Starbucks
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