Starbucks Series: Sakura 2018

One of my favorite times of the year is SAKURA SEASON.

….and not even for the sakura.

But because of Starbucks’ brilliant campaigning, and my general craziness, I always get excited for the SAKURA series of products. They change every year, and many people from all over Japan line up at opening time to buy the new lineups. Including me, of course.

Luckily, Akita isn’t known for having the hugest population of people going to Starbucks for specific things, so I didn’t have trouble when I arrived 20 minutes late to my nearest shop.

AND BEHOLD, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FILLED WALL OF STARBUCKS PRODUCTS IN THE WORLD. Ahem, please excuse my enthusiasm. But this was basically the first time I’ve ever seen the full display of products, perfectly untouched by consumers’ hands. What a day to be alive and in Akita. Also, thank goodness they opened a Starbucks literally a 10 minute walk from my house, or I’d never be able to pop by before work to snatch the products before anyone else did.

I spent a good 5-10 minutes trying to decide which items I wanted, but finally settled on the only blue tumbler and a bottle.

Sakura Strawberry Pink Mochi Frappuccino

This drink has such a long name that the Starbucks employee couldn’t say it when getting my order out. (Although I totally understand – it becomes twice as long katakana-ized). As usual for the limited time only frappuccinos, the Sakura Frappuccino came in a tall size only. Which was perfectly fine for me. The cup design this year is very vibrant, with more use of pop yellows and deep greens for the lines. It very much reflects the Looking Forward line that they’ll be releasing on the 28th.

Now, on to the taste.

I knew before that the drink was created with Sakura Mochi in mind, but I just didn’t know how much. But it definitely stays true to the traditional sweet. It has only the slightest strawberry taste to it, with more pronounced white chocolate notes. But the most jarring thing about the frappuccino is its texture. The mochi is sakura flavored and made from domyoji-ko, a rice powder made from sticky rice, giving it a sometimes gelatinous-like, sometimes diced peanut-like texture. My brain was analyzing it so much that I just could not concentrate on the flavor.

Much of the strawberry taste is concentrated on the bottom, which I assume is because of syrup sinking to the bottom. The chocolate on top is quite chalky, but pretty to look at (and one of the fun things about Starbucks has to be the presentation). Overall, not a bad effort by Starbucks this season. I’ve heard rave reviews about the previous Strawberry-Sakura hybrid drinks, and was looking forward to trying one. This wasn’t the perfect drink, but certainly a new sensation.

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Sakura Strawberry Pink Milk Latte

It was really pretty to look at (the top) and served in a pretty cup decorated with colorful sakura petals. As for the taste, it was very much a replica of the frappuccino, minus the textural aspects and with more milk.

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Sakura Strawberry Pink Tea

Tastes like not sakura and also not very strawberry-y either. I was pretty thoroughly disappointed. It was really just a Chamomile Tea base with some dehydrated berries sprinkled on top (so, not much flavor at all).

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Sakura Doughnut

Ahhhhh so wonderful. I really liked the Sakura Doughnut….though, I suppose it is more accurate to say that I enjoy Starbucks doughnuts. The icing on top didn’t give much flavor – there were no nuances of strawberry or cherry, and it was just a perfectly, fluffy, yeasty piece of bread. In the American fashion. Which I miss.

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The Sakura Series is something I look forward to every single year, and this year doesn’t disappoint….so much, anyways! The Frappucino and doughnut were delicious, at least!

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