As the second part of their 25th-anniversary commemoration in Japan, Starbucks launched the 47 JIMOTO Frappuccino project in all 47 prefectures of Japan, where cafes under the brand will feature a special frappuccino that can only be bought in the prefecture they're in!
For Hokkaido, the special drink being served is the corn-based "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®," and word has been going around that the beverage is "the perfect level of sweetness to go smoothly down your throat"!
Our writer in Sapporo lined up for the drink on release day to see if it truly lives up to all that hype.
"Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®" has been the talk of town, even before it even went on sale!
First, let's take a closer look at the 47 JIMOTO Frappuccino® project, which was launched as part of Starbucks' 25th-anniversary celebration in Japan.
Baristas (cafe staff) from all over Japan were asked to create a Frappuccino® using local ingredients unique to their prefecture for a limited-time summer launch.
Hokkaido's contribution to the project ended up being the "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®," which is the feature of this article.
If you're wondering what a corn-based Frappuccino would taste like, you're not the only one! Since its announcement, the beverage has incited much discussion on social media about its potential taste and texture.
Tokibi: A Hokkaido summer tradition
The tokibi in the name of the drink is actually a regional name for corn, of which Hokkaido is Japan's top producer in terms of yield and shipping volume (*according to 2019/2020 production and shipment statistics provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan).
Corn is so ingrained into Hokkaido culture that it's practically a summer tradition to stroll through Sapporo's Odori Park to enjoy the pleasant aroma of grilled and boiled corn being offered on sale during this period.
According to Starbucks' official homepage, the inspiration for their Hokkaido creation is based on the theme of "Namara Love Hokkaido."
For the uninitiated, namara is a well-loved and used phrase in the Hokkaido vernacular that adds strong emphasis, similar to the way words like "very" or "extremely" are used in English. In other words, the drink is designed to stir up great excitement among Starbucks customers, much like how Hokkaido's vast and beautiful natural landscapes do, and encourage them to have namara-love (deep affection) for Starbucks and the Hokkaido region.
Fans of the Starbucks franchise would therefore not want to miss out on the carefully crafted "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®," especially since it's only offered for a limited time! This writer made his way to the nearest Hokkaido Starbucks with expectant excitement, and here's what he found.
A sparkling northern snowscape within a cup
Inside the cafe, most of the customers inside were already relishing their own cup of "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®" at leisure.
The smiles on their faces told the writer everything he needed to know about how yummy this new drink was.
Made with fresh milk and corn harvested in Hokkaido itself, the beverage also comes with a white chocolate-flavored syrup base, and fresh ground corn flakes are scattered about as a topping to enhance its taste while also making the entire cup look like the tip of a snow mountain reflecting the golden rays of the sun from afar.
A cold and refreshing potage-like mix of corn and cream
Taking the first sip without breaking up the nicely decorated contrast between white and yellow was a challenge, but the reward - a satisfyingly sweet concoction of corn and cream makes it worth the effort.
In fact, the experience feels more like digging into dessert than having a drink! At this initial part, however, the corn is but a hidden flavor. The best part of this fantastic beverage is really yet to come...
At a certain point of time, after a bit of sipping and stirring, the true potential of this Frappuccino starts to come out. The ground corn flakes, white chocolate-flavored syrup, and whipped cream come together to form a pleasantly sweet and cold potage mix with a refreshing aftertaste.
You really can't help but break into a smile as you experience the amazing new sensations packed into this humble-looking drink.
Each cafe will also offer recommendations by their own baristas for addons that can enhance the original drink, such as a "Grilled Corn-Flavored Espresso Shot Addon."
Don't be shy to try out all sorts of different combinations to find the perfect "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®" for your palate!
How does the drink fare against the ever-popular "Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino®"?
To make this visit even more exciting, the writer compared the latest Hokkaido Frappuccino with the cafe's regular summer special, the "Starbucks' Strawberry Frappuccino®."
This exquisite mix of strawberry sauce and milk is topped with a dash of whipped cream, allowing it to strike a fine balance between sweet and sour tones. No wonder this summer-only drink has been one of the franchise's top favorites during the season ever since its inception in 2004!
This was a tough comparison to make, considering how different both drinks were in concept and execution. The "Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino®" has been constantly improved upon since its launch and is a complete package of great-tasting goodness by itself without any toppings or add-ons.
On the other hand, the new "Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®" is like an exciting new artist with untapped potential. Change things up a little with this drink by combining it with different toppings, and you're bound to find something that will unlock its full potential in the taste department!
A drink that adorns Hokkaido's summer
"Hokkaido Tokibi Creamy Frappuccino®" can be purchased from any Starbucks franchise stores within Hokkaido in tall size only. The drink will cost 669 yen for takeout, or you can choose to enjoy it in the shop for 682 yen.
An important thing to note is that this limited-time Frappuccino will only be available for sale between June 30 to August 3, 2021.
According to official statements, the shops are prepared to handle more than the usual volume for limited-time products this year to allow as many people as possible to enjoy this new sensation.
That said, availability is still on a while-stocks-last basis due to limited ingredients, so if you're even the slightest bit interested, grab a cup as soon as you can to avoid disappointment!
Interview cooperation: Starbucks
Text by: Masakazu
*Information in this article is accurate as of June 2021. Check the official website for the latest information.
English translation by: Huimin Pan
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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