Christmas in a cup or festive fail? We try Starbucks Japan’s first Frappuccino for the holidays
Written by tokyoclub on November 2, 2021
New limited-edition flavour may not be the star of this year’s festivities.
With Halloween now done and dusted for another year, Starbucks isn’t wasting any time getting into the festive spirit, releasing its first Christmas Frappuccino of the year in Japan on 1 November.
This year, the first limited-edition Frappuccino of the holiday season is called the Chocolate Strawberry Festive Frappuccino, and it’s not the only seasonal beverage available from 1 November. Also released on the same day is the Chocolate Strawberry Festive Mocha (priced from 510 yen [US$4.50]), the Creme Brulee Latte (from 490 yen), the Gingerbread Latte (from 470 yen), the Caramel Almond Milk (from 451 yen), and the Joyful Medley Tea Latte (from 440 yen).
▼ That’s a lot of festive drinking.
Our Starbucks expert K. Masami was looking forward to getting a taste of her first festive Frappuccino of the year, and while she wanted to try all the new beverages, she also wants to stay on Santa’s good list, so she limited herself to just the Frappuccino and the Creme Brulee Latte for this visit.
Starting off with the Frappuccino, priced at 660 yen, the first thing that caught her eye was the generous mound of sticky, gooey berry syrup at the top of the drink.
This looked set to be a very berry experience, with a large serving of strawberry mixture in the base of the drink as well. Both pulp and juice are used in this syrup, to provide a tangy, fruity contrast to all the rich chocolate sauce spread throughout.
According to Starbucks, the chocolatey, berry hues are said to be inspired by the chocolate-covered strawberries enjoyed at Christmas markets in Germany, with the bright red strawberry pulp topping designed to look like “a red stand at a holiday market”.
Upon looking at the drink, Masami did get a sense of the festive spirit, and when she tasted her first spoonful, she was pleased to find the sweetness of chocolate and the tartness of the strawberry were perfectly matched.
It was a harmonious blend of flavours, brought together beautifully with the smooth whipped cream topping and crunchy chocolate pieces.
This was a delicious Frappuccino, but there weren’t any hidden surprises to make Masami go “wow” here. So she licked her lips clean and reached for the Crème Brulee Latte in the hopes that this one might exceed her expectations.
Sure enough, this was exactly what Masami needed. Not only did the sugary surface of the drink resemble the burnt top of a Crème Brulee, it had the same aroma and taste as the sweet French dessert as well. Still, it wasn’t overly sweet, allowing the espresso in the latte to stand out, creating a well-rounded balance of coffee and Crème Brulee flavours.
Masami reckons Starbucks has made a good start with its first festive Frappuccino of the season, but for her, the Crème Brulee Latte ended up stealing the show on release day. While she’s hoping the chain’s next festive Frappuccino will amp up the wow factor, like it did last year, she’s still got plenty on the menu to keep her entertained at the moment, with the Chocolate Strawberry Festive drinks available from 1-23 November, and the lattes and almond milk spicing things up right until Christmas Day.