Time to get a taste of autumn, with an unusual blend of ingredients. 

Autumn is now upon us in Japan, which means there’s a new limited-edition Frappuccino on the menu at Starbucks, and this year it’s the Osatsu Butter Frappuccino.

Filled with satsumaimo (“sweet potato”), from which the drink gets its name, the drink promises to deliver rich, moreish autumnal flavours with the addition of butter and honey. Actual chunks of sweet potato can be found within the drink, along with pieces of imo kenpi (fried strips of sweet potato coated with sugar) to create a milky dessert drink that mimics the sensation of eating a butter-slathered satsumaimo.

Our reporter K. Masami was keen to try the new beverage, but having tried her fair share of sweet potato drinks before, she wanted to find out if the drink would taste better with a customisation. So she spoke to the barista about it, and they recommended she swap the dairy milk for almond milk for an additional 55 yen (US$0.38) and add a dash of cinnamon for more autumnal flavour.

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

Masami followed the barista’s advice, and when she received her customised honey-butter-sweet-potato beverage, she got a tantalising whiff of cinnamon, which instantly gave her fresh autumn vibes.

Taking a sip of the drink, her taste buds could now sense it was autumn too, with not just cinnamon notes but sweet potato washing over them. Then came a rush of honey and butter, which instantly transformed everything, making the beverage taste more like…a pastry than a drink.

▼ Like drinking a buttery sweet potato pie.

Peering closely at the drink, Masami could see actual bits of sweet potato peel swimming about, and this textural accent, along with the strong buttery flavours, fooled the taste buds into thinking they were pastry pieces.

The cinnamon was a fantastic addition to the drink, as it added an extra level of complexity to contrast with the sweet and salty notes. It was a delicious Frappuccino, and it paired particularly well with one of the new seasonal sweets on the menu, the Hand-Pulled Chestnut Mont Blanc (520 yen).

As an additional treat, Masami couldn’t resist ordering a hot Pumpkin Spice Latte (priced from 540 yen), which is making a return to the menu for a limited time from 1-26 September.

▼ The latte is topped with pumpkin spice-flavoured sauce, whipped cream, and nutmeg.

The bittersweet flavours provided a delicious finale to this very autumnal affair. Everything Masami tried was tasty and well worth the calories, and her only complaint is that these limited-edition items won’t be around for long. The seasonal sweets and the Osatsu Butter Frappuccino are only on the menu from 1 September to 10 October, and stocks are limited so there’s a chance that stores may run out before the end of the sales period. So if you’re a fan of Starbucks, be sure to get in quick to treat your taste buds to a taste of autumn, and don’t forget to add an extra dash of spice for extra autumnal flavour!

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