New matcha lineup spruces up green tea beverages with hatsutsumi leaves.

Starbucks is, first and foremost, a coffee house, but in Japan they’re arguably just as passionate about green tea. Since the breakout success of the matcha Frappuccino, green tea-based beverages have become among the most popular offerings at Starbucks Japan branches, and they’re about to be even more in demand thanks to a very special, very limited-time ingredient.

In Japan, the year’s very first batch of harvested green tea leaves are called hatsutsumi, meaning “first picking.” Hatsutsumi tea is prized among tea aficionados for being extra flavorful, and the first place to harvest its tea is Kyushu, the southwestern of Japan’s four main islands, where the warm spring temperatures arrive sooner than the rest of Japan’s tea-growing regions.

From May 13, Starbucks is offering special versions of three of its matcha beverages made using this hatsutsumi matcha grown in the town of Minami Kyushu in Kagoshima Prefecture. The “New Matcha” series consists of a “New Matcha” hatsutsumi version of the Wasanbon Matcha Frappuccino (which also contains wasanbon, fine-grain Japanese sugar)…

…the New Matcha Wasanbon Matcha Tea Latte

…and the New Matcha Matcha and Crushed Pistachio Milk Tea Latte.

At 770, 680, and 700 yen (US$5.05, US$4.45, and US$4.60) respectively, the prices of the New Matcha hatsutsumi drinks are unchanged from their regular versions, but they’ll only be around until June 11 or the stock of hatsutsumi tea runs out, whichever comes first. They’re also exclusive to Starbucks “Tea & Cafe”-designated branches, of which there are only 14 branches in Japan, but with four in Tokyo (located in Roppongi, Ebisu, Shibuya, and Kichijoji), we think we can find time to make a visit before they’re gone.

Related: Starbucks Tea & Cafe location list
Source, images: Starbucks
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