Coffeehouse chain celebrates its 25th anniversary with an epic homage to local ingredients.

This year marks 25 years since U.S. coffeehouse chain Starbucks branched out abroad for the first time, opening its first overseas location in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza district.

To mark the milestone anniversary, Starbucks has been giving customers a variety of special new releases, but their latest offering is so mammoth it’s taken everyone by surprise — this time they’ll be giving us not one but 47 new Frappuccinos, with one for each of the country’s 47 prefectures.

▼ The new release is called 47 Jimoto Frappuccino, with “jimoto” meaning “local”.

This is a special event 25 years in the making, with Starbucks drawing on its local expertise throughout Japan to bring us special flavours and ingredients that are the pride of each prefecture. According to the company, the 47 Jimoto Frappuccino release is “packed with 47 stories” to express gratitude to everyone across all regions of Japan, and a hope for feelings of connection that will continue well into the future.

Each Frappuccino has been developed by collecting ideas provided by employees in each prefecture, and every single beverage really does have a unique local story to tell. We pored through all 47 of the colourful new offerings and picked out some of the best of the bunch to share with you in more detail.

Hokkaido Prefecture

Starting at Japan’s very northernmost prefecture, we have the Hokkaido Frappuccino, which contains some of the island’s most well-known specialties: milk, sugar cane and corn. The corn here appears in the form of corn flakes, which can be seen at the bottom of the rich, sweet, creamy base, and the topping is said to resemble the snow and bright sunshine, which will bring back memories for skiers who’ve visited Hokkaido’s famous slopes.

Fukushima Prefecture

Fukushima is still emerging from the tragic events that devastated the prefecture in 2011, and this Frappuccino is said to express “happy feelings” by way of the region’s famous fruit orchards. Peach is the star of the drink, as it’s the prized fruit of the prefecture, and it’s been combined with the chain’s mango passion tea blend to give this special beverage even more fruity flavour.

Tokyo Prefecture

Starbucks’ very first Japanese store was located in Tokyo, and this special history is being honoured with a simple homage to coffee. That’s not to say there’s nothing special about this drink, however, as it contains the brand’s premium Tokyo Roast blend roasted by roasters in Tokyo, along with coffee jelly pieces for even more of a coffee boost. The drink is finished with whipped cream and caramel sauce, to provide the perfect balance of bittersweet flavours.

Kanagawa Prefecture

Moving south to Tokyo’s seaside neighbour, this Frappuccino celebrates the blue sea and sky of Kanagawa, using butterfly pea tea syrup to add beautiful blue hues to the drink’s milky base. On top, the citrus pulp sauce represents sunshine, and adds a hit of fruity flavours to the creamy beverage.

Yamanashi Prefecture

This gorgeous pink Frappuccino is a celebration of the Japanese grape, one of many prized fruits that hail from Yamanashi Prefecture. Grape syrup appears throughout the drink, even in its topping, and is paired with white chocolate for creamy decadence.

Aichi Prefecture

This beverage has been designed to represent Ogura toast, Nagoya’s famous local specialty, which is a piece of thick toast slathered in butter and a layer of sweet adzuki red bean paste. This homage to the local food culture blends adzuki sauce with coffee, chocolate chips, and whipped cream, to replicate not just the flavours but the crunchy texture of the region’s famous sweet.

Shiga Prefecture

Another beautiful blue marvel, this Frappuccino combines butterfly pea tea syrup and milk in its creamy base to represent Lake Biwa, the large freshwater lake located in Shiga Prefecture. Citrus pulp has been added between the base and the whipped cream topping to convey the glittering sunset reflected on the surface of Lake Biwa in the evening, while the matcha powder is said to resemble the surrounding mountains.

Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto’s esteemed food culture is captured in this new Frappuccino, which shines a spotlight on obanzai, a traditional style of Japanese cuisine native to the region. Food is only considered to be Obanzai if half of its ingredients are processed or produced in Kyoto, and this beverage does just that by combining locally sourced matcha with kinako roasted soybean flour for a delicately sublime experience.

Osaka Prefecture

Over in Kyoto’s neighbouring Osaka Prefecture we have a Frappuccino dedicated to “mixed juice”, a milk-based drink blended with fruits like banana and orange, which is a local specialty of the area. Mixed juice first appeared after World War II as a way for Osaka merchants to use slightly overripe fruit and avoid food waste, and now Starbucks is giving us its take on the beverage, by combining bananas, apples, peaches and oranges with tropical flavours like mango and passion fruit, blending it all up with whipped cream and a mango and chocolate sauce topping.

Hiroshima Prefecture

Hiroshima’s Frappuccino acknowledges its war-torn past with a special “love and peace” offering that features a striking red passionfruit tea colour to represent the love of Hiroshima and its people, and whipped cream and honey to express relaxation and peace. The beverage is finished with a touch of lemon, as Hiroshima boasts the highest harvest of lemons throughout Japan.

Okinawa Prefecture

Travelling right down to the country’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, we have a Frappuccino that pays homage to chinsuko, a traditional Okinawan confectionery with a history that’s been passed down from the Ryukyu dynasty (1429-1879) to the present day. Best described as a shortbread-like biscuit with a slightly salty flavour, chinsuko actually appears in this new Starbucks beverage, in the form of crushed pieces that have been scattered through the milky, vanilla-flavoured drink. Finished off with caramel sauce and a crunchy chinsuko topping, this Frappuccino is a beautiful way to combine the island’s modern and traditional flavours.

There are many more Frappuccinos to drool over, so to see the full list head over to the official website here. Each beverage is priced at 669 yen (US$6.04) for takeout or 682 yen for in-store customers, and if you want to try them all you’ll have to travel the country for them, as each one will only be sold in its corresponding prefecture from 30 June to 3 August, or until stocks last.

Source: Starbucks Japan, PR Times
Featured image: Starbucks Japan
Insert images: PR Times, Starbucks Japan (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
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