We’ve been waiting three years to try this trick!

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until just June 14 of last year that Starbucks Japan made the matcha latte a permanent part of its menu. Until then, popular though it may have been, the matcha latte was only a periodic limited-time beverage option.

And now, almost one year to the day later, Starbucks is giving permanent-menu treatment to another milky green tea-based drink, the Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte. The star ingredient here is hojicha, roasted green tea, which, compared to matcha, has an earthy, subtly nutty flavor. The Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte is a mixture of hojicha and black tea, to which cream and white mocha flavor syrup are added.

The Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte, which is priced at 550 yen (US$3.55) for a tall, was last available in 2021, and our Japanese-language reporter and Starbucks expert K. Masami loved it when she tried it then. Why was she so eager to taste test it again on June 12, the first day of the drink’s return? Because after her taste test back in 2021, Masami started hearing about a way to customize the drink to make it taste even better, but by the time she could go back to Starbucks to try it for herself, the chain had stopped selling the drink.

So this second taste test is something Masami had already been waiting years to do, and she didn’t want to wait a single day more.

What’s the customization? You add mousse foam (55 yen) and honey (which is free). Right off the bat, this combination makes for a beautiful-looking drink, neatly split into three visible layers.

That mouse foam doesn’t just look pretty, either. Its soft and fluffy texture is enticing on the tongue, especially with the sweet and sticky honey drizzled over it. Masami couldn’t resist using a fork to try a few bites of the topping as-is before stirring it into the rest of the drink. Once everything was mixed together, her taste buds were still in complete joy, as the customization enhances the creamy latte part of the Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte’s flavor profile.

Even in its base form, the Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte is pretty sweet, but Masami was happy with the extra sweetness from the honey. But she’s already started hearing whispers that customizing the drink with cinnamon or caramel sauce can give it some spicy notes, which also sound like they’d be especially great additions to make when sipping on a Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte in the fall or winter, since the drink can be ordered either hot or cold.

So Masami is happy that Starbucks is offering free drink customizations to customers who bring in their own Starbucks tumblers until July 9, because she’s got a lot more that she wants to try out, now that the Hojicha and Crushed Tea Latte is a permanent menu item and she’s got the time to do so.

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