First sign of spring...

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a nice day here in the city, but they are calling for snow in some parts of Hiroshima early in the morning. The rest of the week will be a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures warming up a bit on Thursday and Friday. Luckily for me, things will cool down enough on the weekend to make my run more enjoyable.

In Canada, the first sign of spring is when robins appear. In Japan these days, it seems like it's when the first 'sakura' flavored menus begin to appear. This year Starbucks is getting things started. The global coffeehouse chain gives us a taste of spring with two new beverages and a drinkware range containing over thirty cherry blossom-themed items.

Starbucks has been known to delight customers in Japan throughout the seasons with a number of tasty and creative Frappuccino releases, but there’s one very special limited-edition range that everyone scrambles to get their hands on every year.

It’s the annual sakura line of beverages and drinkware, and this year’s offering looks just as gorgeous and delicious as any we’ve ever seen! The new spring range, which goes on sale from 15 February, kicks off with a set of brightly coloured drinkware they’re calling the “Harmony Collection”. The items in this lineup include floral-themed store cards, as well as cherry blossom tumblers, glasses and travel mugs which range in price from Y1,500 to Y4,400.

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On 1 March, the “Purity” collection will appear on shelves, featuring store cards and drinkware in a more subdued colour palette. Items will range in price from Y1,700 for the tumbler (pictured third from the right in the back row of the photo below), through to Y4,500 for the white stainless steel bottle (pictured second from the right in the back row).

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The two new beverages coming to menus from 15 February are the Sakura Blossom Cream Latte (Y430-Y550) and the Sakura Blossom Cream Frappuccino with Crispy Swirl (Y570-Y650). Both drinks feature a milk sauce made from a mix of white bean jam, condensed milk, and sakura blossoms and leaves.

The topping includes pink flakes of shaved chocolate to resemble cherry blossom petals, and pink balls made from roasted mochi rice to add a delightfully crunchy texture to the hot and cold beverages. Finished off with a maple sauce-flavoured whipped cream, these new dessert drinks are said to combine western and Japanese flavours in beautiful harmony.

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In addition to the new beverages and drinkware sets, Starbucks will also be offering customers 40 different sakura-themed digital frames to dress up their snapshots. Two sets of designs will be rolled out, with the first lot available from 15-28 February, and the second instalment available from 1-14 March.

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Sakura season at Starbucks is almost as short as the real cherry blossom period in Japan itself, so be sure to stop by from 15 February to get your hands on one of these popular limited-edition items. The drinks will only be on sale until 14 March, after which they’ll be gone...till next year.

So, if you're looking for me...I'll be at Doutour-drinking black coffee, doing everything I can to avoid the long lines of people buying drinks at Starbucks that don't even have any coffee in them...ha ha!

Have a great day!


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