There’s logic behind this sweet madness.

As September draws near, so too do thoughts of cosy autumn days and hearty seasonal produce. One particular ingredient that’s synonymous with autumn in Japan is the humble sweet potato, or “satsumaimo” as it’s known here, and while it’s usually the star of the show in limited-edition seasonal releases, at Starbucks this year it’s getting second billing, pushed aside by something you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a Frappuccino — butter.

While butter and baked potatoes is a thing in Japan, as it is in many parts of the world, roasted sweet potatoes are usually served as is or with a sweet glaze. The sweet-potato-and-butter combination is a decadent pairing that’s not so familiar to local tastes, but Starbucks is here to change all that, with its Osatsu Butter Frappuccino.

▼ The new Frappuccino will be sold in a tall size only, priced at 678 yen (US$4.63) for takeout and 690 yen for dine-in customers.

According to the chain, there’s logic behind this sweet madness, as the butter helps to add a salty accent to the sweet potatoes, with honey added to the mix for extra sweetness. The soft and fluffy roasted sweet potatoes will be appearing as chunks throughout the drink, to help create the sensation of eating buttery, honey-slathered potatoes, and there’ll even be a layer of salty imo kenpi (fried strips of sweet potato coated with sugar) at the bottom of the drink to “bring out the charm of baked sweet potatoes and butter even more”.

▼ There’s sweet honey butter sauce and a scattering of salty sweet imo kenpi on top of the drink as well, ensuring a good distribution of sweet saltiness throughout.

The chain says it will be adding a special “osatsu customisation” option from 22 September — roughly three weeks after the drink goes on sale — containing honey butter sauce and salty imo kenpi, details of which will be provided closer to the date.

And that’s not the end of the autumn festivities, as the chain has just announced it’ll be releasing a special Benitama Custard Apple Pie (520 yen for takeout), containing custard and sweetly tart apples sourced from Aomori Prefecture, Japan’s premier apple-growing region.

▼ Last but not least, the chain’s Pumpkin Spice Latte will be returning to stores around Japan this autumn as well, in hot and iced versions, priced from 530-671 yen.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte will only be on the menu for a limited time, from 1-26 September, while the Osatsu Butter Frappuccino and Benitama Custard Apple Pie will be around for a while longer, from 1 September to 10 October.

As always, stocks are limited on all these items, so if you’re keen to get a taste of autumn in Japan at Starbucks, be sure to get in quick to avoid missing out!

Source, images: Press release
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