A traditional autumn treat arrives as its star ingredient comes into season.

In Japan, the academic year begins in April, so you won’t see any back-to-school sales in the fall. There is an atmosphere of higher learning at Starbucks Japan right now, though, thanks to the arrival of the brand-new “college potato” Frappuccino.

Called the Daigaku Imo Frappuccino in Japanese, the new dessert drink is inspired by the traditional daigaku imo, a popular Japanese sweet potato snack that combines both sweet and savory flavors in an appeal to both sides of the lingering child/emerging adult mental duality of university students. Though daiaku imo has a bit of an old school vibe to it nowadays, it’s still a tasty treat, especially when sweet potatoes come into season at this time of year, and so we rushed out to our local Starbucks to try the new Frappuccino for ourselves.

The creamy milk base is enhanced by actual blended sweet potato, and you can even spot some flecks of the deep purple skin the spuds sport in Japan.

Sweet potato syrup is mixed into the base and drizzled across the whipped cream topping, and the whole thing is finished off with a scattering of black sesame seeds, just like the non-drink daigaku imo has.

Taste-testing duties fell to our Frappuccino expert K. Masami, who describes the experience as:

“At the moment you take a sip, there’s an immediate rush of sweet potato. This is followed by notes of sweet potato and sweet potato, which then transitions to sweet potato.”

Of course, when you order a sweet potato Frappuccino, sweet potato is what you want, and Masami says the Daigaku Imo Frappuccino is undeniably delicious. The use of actual sweet potato in the base gives it a complex and varied texture, as do the sesame seeds, which also provide just a touch of sophisticated bitterness.

In the end, we give the Daigaku Imo Frappuccino full marks for staying true to daigaku imo’s traditional flavor while applying it to a totally satisfying drink, and we see our Starbucks attendance increasing over the next month or so the new drink will be on the menu.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]