The taste of Japanese autumn in a cup! 

With September now here, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief at making it through another punishingly hot summer, and ease ourselves into autumn with a new seasonal beverage from Starbucks.

This year, as part of the chain’s annual Artful Autumn @ Starbucks campaign, Starbucks has enlisted a number of its employees to act as “coffee ambassadors“, and they’ve been hard at work using their sales experience to create a range of seasonal products around the theme of “Our Harvest Table”.

▼ At the centre of the collection is the Marrone Cassis Frappuccino, which combines chestnut with blackcurrants as the taste of an autumn harvest.

Our resident Starbucks expert, K. Masami, was in line to try the new beverage as soon as it was released on 1 September, and while she was there, she was seduced by another item on the menu, the Roasted Chestnut Latte.

She decided to order the Frappuccino first, pulling up a chair and admiring its brown autumnal hues.

▼ The Marrone Cassis Frappuccino costs 648 yen (US$4.75) for takeout and 660 yen to drink in-store.

While the colour appeared to be uniform at first glance, upon closer inspection Masami was able to see ripples of blackcurrant coursing its way through the milky base.

Up top, there was a scattering of crushed chestnuts sitting upon a mound of whipped cream, reminding her of fallen leaves…and fallen chestnuts.

Just looking at the drink made Masami feel as if autumn had finally arrived, and upon first sip, that sense intensified.

Chestnuts are synonymous with autumn in Japan, and their flavour shone perfectly here. The smooth, nutty taste was sweet and comforting, caressing the taste buds before the fruity, slightly tart note of the blackcurrants lifted the palate with a refreshing note. Then, the taste of coffee — yes, this Frappuccino contains a small amount of coffee — stepped in to meld the chestnut and blackcurrant together, creating a harmonious blend of flavours.

▼ It was Masami’s first time trying coffee, blackcurrant and chestnut together, and it turned out to be a fantastic combination.

Once she’d slurped up the last of her Frappuccino, it was time to head to the counter again and order the hot latte that had previously caught her eye. One of the perks of this drink is the fact that you can order it with oat milk instead of regular milk, which is what Masami did.

▼ “We sincerely serve our oat milk beverages to our customers by using this receipt.”

Recently, Masami has fallen in love with the combination of oat milk and espresso, which she says pair very well together, so she always jumps at the chance to order it when she can. As she waited for her drink to be made, she did some research online and discovered that the latte she’d ordered was not the only new seasonal latte being added to the menu this year. Apparently, there are different lattes being served in different regions, with the Mont Blanc Latte available in eastern Japan, the Honey Marrone Latte available in central Japan, and the Roasted Chestnut Latte in western Japan.

▼ Masami lives in western Japan, so she was able to buy the Roasted Chestnut Latte, priced at 530 yen for a Short size.

Oat milk was the perfect partner for the light blonde roasted espresso used in the latte, and it complemented the roasted chestnut sauce beautifully. The whipped cream was moreish, the sweet chestnut topping added a fun textural contrast, and with every sip, Masami felt the cosiness of autumn wrapping its arms around her.

Both chestnut drinks were absolutely delicious, and Masami would like to raise a glass to the staff members behind their creation. They certainly know what their customers like, and though the addition of blackcurrant may have seemed like a risky partnership, its strong flavour was expertly controlled, working to enhance the taste of chestnut rather than overpower it.

Masami will be back to taste these drinks again before sales end on 20 September, but they’ll only be on the menu while stocks last so get in quick if you’d like to try them. And if you’re looking for another taste of autumn in Japan, don’t forget to pop by KFC and McDonald’s to try their moon-viewing burgers, which are only available for a limited time!

Images © SoraNews24
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