It may be a long time before you ever see sakura-flavored drinks in an American Starbucks, but the coffee conglomerate’s Japanese branch is rolling out a whole line of sakura-themed drinks, cups and accessories in celebration of spring.
Flowers from the white/pink cherry tree will be available in two new drinks, the Sakura Steamer and the Sakura Cream Frappuccino, until March. The former is “a hot sweet sakura-flavoured milk shake topped with foamed milk and freeze-dried sakura petals” and the later contains “sakura powder and sweet red bean powder blended with milk, ice and whipped cream, topped with flakes of sakura-flavoured chocolate.” There will also be pink sakura biscotti, meringue, macaroons and coffee cakes ( check them out at Gigazine) but, alas, no sakura waffles.
I lived in Singapore for 10 years and it’s been about six years since I’ve been to Asia, but I have strong memories of American food franchise’s Asian-specific promotions. The image of Ronald McDonald handing out Ang Pao's for the Lunar New Year will never cease to give me a chuckle.
Also, I remember the time my third grade teacher let us do a taste test of various Asian drinks. There were soft drinks from Hong Kong (which was still had allegiance to England at the time) and China, but the Japanese drinks stuck out to me the most as being especially unusual to a Westerner’s taste buds. There were flavors like “water of chestnut” and a drink basically like carbonated beef broth. Obviously, sakura’s going to be much tastier option, but news like this reminds me of the diversity of ingredients in Japan.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.