In a country famous for its expensive watermelons, this is a drink we’ve long been waiting for.

Now that we’re in the heat of summer, Starbucks is pulling out the big guns of refreshment in Japan, with the announcement of the chain’s first-ever nationwide watermelon Frappuccino.

The new beverage is called the Gaburi Suika Frappuccino, with “suika” meaning “watermelon” and “gaburi” referring to a big bite, which in this case conjures up images of biting into a succulent watermelon.

Watermelons are such a popular summer fruit in Japan that there’s even a tradition called “suikawari“, where one person attempts to smash open a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded, usually while out with friends or family at the beach.

▼ Once it’s been smashed open, everyone gets to eat it.

Image: Pakutaso

So the advent of a watermelon Frappuccino is big news in Japan, especially as it’s the first time customers around the country will be able to taste it. Previously, only one watermelon Frappuccino has graced the menu for a limited time, and only in Toyama Prefecture — where you can find the country’s largest watermelons — as part of the chain’s epic 47-Frappuccino release to mark its 25th year of business in Japan.

However, while that Frappuccino was topped with matcha powder and chocolate sauce to mimic the look of a watermelon, this new Frappuccino takes the fruit in a different direction entirely, pairing it with several other summer fruits, namely dragon fruit, passion fruit and kiwi fruit.

According to the chain, the bright red body of the drink has a robust flavour, created by blending watermelon juice with a sauce made with dragon fruit pulp and passion fruit juice. At the bottom of the drink is a layer of pulpy kiwi fruit to recreate the look of a watermelon peel while adding a tart sweetness for contrast.

On top, the drink is finished with a pinch of “watermelon salt”, made with salt and watermelon juice, which is a nice nod to the Japanese tradition of sprinkling salt on watermelon to enhance the sweetness.

The salty, sweet and fruity flavours look set to be an addictive combination, and we can’t wait to try it when it appears in stores for a limited time from 9 August. Available in a tall size only, priced at 678 yen (US$4.75) for takeout and 690 yen for eat-in customers, the Gaburi Suika Frappuccino will be available while stocks last until 31 August.

Source, images: Press release unless otherwise stated
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