Starbucks surprises us with a new release that’s…almost identical to their first?

It’s become a bit of a tradition for Starbucks to celebrate the opening of the cherry blossoms twice a year, by releasing a subtly styled sakura drinkware range before the start of the season, to match the yet-to-blossom flowers, and a more intensely coloured range once the blossoms reach full bloom.

Recently, the chain has adopted this release method for their sakura Frappucinos as well, giving birth to the Sakura Milk Pudding Frappuccino, followed by the more robust Sakura Cherry last year. So when this year’s cherry blossom season rolled around, we were keen to find out if we’d be gifted a second sakura Frappuccino different to the first, and it looks like our dreams have come true…sort of.

While we are set to receive a second Frappuccino, according to the announcement made by the chain this week, the new Frappuccino will be called Sakura Saita Berry Frappuccino (“Sakura Have Blossomed Berry Frappuccino”). If that sounds familiar, that’s because the first sakura Frappuccino of the year, released just last month, was called Sakura Fuwari Berry Frappuccino (“Sakura Light Berry Frappuccino”).

▼ For comparison, let’s take a look at last month’s Frappuccino, on the left:

▼ And this is the new Frappuccino:

It not only looks identical to the first–the main ingredients used are entirely the same. Like last time, the new drink blends sakura strawberry sauce into a milk base, and adds smooth raspberry panna cotta pieces for textural contrast and a tart sweetness. The one difference is that this time, the Frappuccino will have powdered freeze-dried strawberries added to the mix, to “extend the gorgeous taste of strawberry” for the upcoming peak blossoming period.

We have to admit, it would’ve been nice if they’d chosen to amp up the sakura flavour instead, and we’re slightly disappointed to not be getting a brand new creation for the peak blossoming period this year. However, we’re grateful to be given a second Frappuccino at all, considering there was often only one sakura release for the whole season prior to 2020.

And no matter how similar it is to the first sakura Frappuccino we tried last month, you can bet we’ll still be trying it when it’s released on 24 March. Priced at 590 yen (US$5.62) for a tall size only, and only on the menu until 13 April, we can’t wait to find out if this new version will be berry good or berry average. Watch this space!

Source, featured image: Starbucks Japan
Insert images: Starbucks Japan (1, 2)
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