We find out if this retro American diner experience is all it’s cracked up to be. 

Starbucks is continually surprising its customers in Japan with a wide range of limited-edition drinks, and now it’s continuing that tradition with its latest dual release — the Starbucks Cola Frappuccino and the Creamy & Sweet Milk Coffee.

▼ According to Starbucks, this is the first time for the chain to introduce a cola flavour to their lineup in Japan.

Both these new drinks are inspired by retro American diners, conjuring up images of ice cream floats from years gone by. But will this creative concept work well on the flavour front? Our resident Starbucks expert K. Masami was keen to find out, so she lined up on release day on 15 March to purchase both drinks.

▼ The taste test begins with the Cola Frappuccino (690 yen [US$5.20] for dine-in)

With its cherry on top, this was a great-looking drink. The glossy vanilla sauce made the whipped cream glisten in the light, inviting Masami in for a taste.

Taking a big sip, Masami almost giggled in delight as the familiar flavour of cola danced on her tongue. While it wasn’t carbonated, the icy addition of crushed ice made it seem as if there was actual carbonation in the mix, delighting her senses.

The vanilla-flavoured whipped cream throughout the drink added a rich, velvety smoothness to the mouthfeel, and when Masami closed her eyes, she could see herself in a retro diner, sipping on a cola float while perched on a stool in a rockabilly outfit.

▼ She might look like she’s in Japan, but in her mind she’s in another time and dimension.

Turning her attention to the Creamy & Sweet Milk Coffee (priced from 550 yen), Masami was taken away again, with the fresh cream, white chocolate-flavoured syrup, iced coffee, milk, and vanilla syrup hitting her with the nostalgic taste of a sweet, milky coffee from years gone by.

Strangely, it was like a perfectly balanced Japanese coffee milk, and Masami reckons it would taste great customised with a free pump of caramel sauce or cinnamon.

As a fan of strong coffee, Masami plans to add an espresso shot (55 yen) to the mix next time, in order to amp up the caffeine buzz and accentuate the bitter notes she likes so much.

▼ Either way, it’s a great drink that conjures up a lot of nostalgia, as do the free coasters you receive with each beverage.

▼ And if you’re feeling peckish, there’s a range of limited-edition diner-inspired foods to try, including this Malasada Custard Cream (285 yen for takeout, 290 yen for dine-in).

As always, these limited-time goods are only available while stocks last, so you’ll want to get in quick before the promotion ends on 11 April to enjoy the taste of a retro diner.

It’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane that’s just as good as the kissaten series Starbucks gave us back in 2019!

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