The numbers don’t lie as we taste test the new dessert drink exclusive to just one prefecture in Japan.
Starbucks Japan’s matcha Frappuccinos were one of the first green tea desserts to really catch on in Japan. An instant hit, they quickly became a regular menu item, but the chain has abided by Japan’s demand for seasonal and limited-time flavored desserts by periodically also offering blended ice beverages that combine matcha with guest-star ingredients, like white chocolate or even mascarpone cheese.
But what we really want is more matcha, and this week that’s exactly what we’re getting. November 12 was the launch day for the new Osaka Meccha Matcha Frappuccino, which packs an extra-strong matcha punch. So while we’re usually as bleary-eyed as anyone else on Monday morning, this week we bounced out of bed, because having to work isn’t nearly so bad when your professional task list has “dessert” on it.
As soon as we walked into the coffee house, we spotted ads for the drink, which is part of the 20-year anniversary of the opening of the first Starbucks location in west Japan. Actually, it’s just a little early, since the Osaka Umeda Hep Five branch, west Japan’s first, opened on November 28, 1998, but we weren’t about to let that technicality stop us from ordering one, and soon enough we had the Osaka Meccha Matcha Frapuccino before us.
Before we take a sip, though, what does “meccha” mean? It’s a bit of Osaka dialect slang that means “very,” and this truly is a very matcha Frappuccino, made with 50 percent more green tea powder than the standard version. It’s also, as the name implies, only available in Starbucks branches in Osaka.
All that extra matcha is immediately apparent, as the drink’s deeply verdant color is a noticeably darker shade than the ordinary green tea Starbucks drinks that are a major part of our diet. Not only is the