Limited-edition drink has layers of flavour…and meaning.

The old adage, “If you’re not early you’re late” is applicable to a lot of time-conscious societies like Japan, but here Starbucks takes the notion of “early” to new extremes. With its two annual sakura Frappuccinos already off the menu before the official season has even begun, the chain is now looking to the hotter months, announcing the release of its first summer exclusive, the Gohobi Melon Frappuccino.

▼ The Frappuccino is priced at 687 yen (US$4.54) for takeout and 700 yen for dine-in.

This is the third year for Starbucks to create a melon-flavoured Frappuccino to get us in the mood for summer, and there’s no understating how popular the flavour is, with our own Starbucks expert, K. Masami, describing the first release as “one of the most memorable drinks in recent history“.

While melon remains the star of the show every summer, each new Frappuccino contains a different combination of ingredients, and this year’s release pairs green honeydew melon juice with milk in the body of the drink, and orange honeydew pulp and jelly in the base for the “ultimate” flavour.

▼ Starbucks says one sip of this will make you feel like you’re biting into the actual fruit.

As for the name, “Gohobi“, this is the word for “reward” in Japanese, and is commonly used when referring to something you want to treat yourself with, particularly after completing a task or persevering through a difficult period. With people starting new jobs and school years in April, spring can be a stressful time, so a drink that conjures up images of carefree summer holidays ahead can be a good way to lift people’s spirits.

Another way to lift people’s spirits is with the Sweet Milk Coffee, which is also making a reappearance after receiving positive reviews last year. This coffee beverage is a three-layered beauty, with fresh cream at the bottom, white chocolate-flavoured syrup, vanilla-flavoured syrup and almond milk in the middle, and a shot of coffee poured over it all. This icy drink is said to be primed for customisation, with a switch to oat milk, or added whipped cream or caramel sauce being some of the suggestions.

▼ The Sweet Milk Coffee is available in Short through to Venti sizes, priced from 501-640 yen.

Those wanting more of a reward can opt for one of the new sweets, which include the Malasada Melon Cream (malasada is a doughnut-like Portuguese fried pastry that’s also popular in Hawaii), Blueberry Rare Cheesecake, and Chocolate and Strawberry Chocolate Mocchiri Balls.

▼ The Malasada is priced at  314 yen, while the Mocchiri Balls are 363 yen and a slice of cheesecake is 540 yen. 

All the drinks and sweets will be on the menu from 10 April, with the Frappuccino available until 28 May, the sweets available while stocks last, and the Sweet Coffee Milk available until 11 June, making it the only drink that’ll actually be around in summer.

Still, with the Gohobi Melon Frappuccino being the first “summer” drink, there should be another one coming our way closer to June, and with this year’s beverages based around a “Splash Summer, Let’s Burst” theme, we can’t wait to find out what it’ll be!

Source, images: Starbucks Japan
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