We find out if this is a must-have beverage for hanami cherry blossom-viewing picnics. 

On 6 February, Starbucks released its first sakura drink of the year in Japan — a chilled cup called Sakura Matcha with Sakura Jelly.

We were lucky enough t0 receive a sample when the product was released, and the first thing we noticed about it was just how much it made us feel like spring had arrived, despite the fact that snow was still on the ground from the recent heavy snowfall in Tokyo.

▼ The bright pink-and-green design, reminiscent of matcha and cherry blossoms, was a cheerful way to herald the arrival of spring.

With a dome-shaped cap reminiscent of the Frappuccino drinks sold at Starbucks stores, this convenient cup certainly looked stunning, but what would it look like inside?

To find out, we poured the drink into a glass, where we discovered that it had a pale green matcha hue, with transparent jelly pieces floating inside.

Unlike the cup, there was no pink to be found here, so we were curious to find out if the powdered green tea had drowned out the sakura flavour. Taking a sip, we were relieved to find that the aromatic scent of cherry blossoms was evident, mingling with the sweet and delicious taste of matcha like a flurry of cherry blossom petals floating through the leaves.

If we had to compare the cherry blossom flavour to anything, it would be sakura mochi, a traditional Japanese sweet with earthy flavours and a muted floral note from the use of pickled sakura leaf.

That floral flavour profile paired well with the earthiness of the matcha, and the chewy jelly pieces gave it a fun textural contrast that was reminiscent of bubble tea. The harmonious combination of flavours made for a delicious dessert drink, and we have a feeling we’ll be stocking up on a lot of these for our hanami cherry blossom-viewing parties this sakura season.

The Sakura Matcha with Sakura Jelly is available for a limited time at convenience stores nationwide from 6 February, at a recommended retail price of 230 yen (US$1.56).

Photos ©SoraNews24 
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