Cherry blossoms embody spring in Japan more than anything else.
Starbucks Japan offers the Sakura series every spring in tribute to cherry blossoms.
What is the Sakura series?
Based on the spirit of “respecting all national and/or regional cultures,” this Japanese original series is offered every spring as a seasonal limited edition to express reverence for Japanese culture in Starbucks’ way.
▼2013 Sakura series: Goods
From tumblers to bento boxes and bags for hanami (flower viewing) parties, all the goods are full of cherry blossom patterns.
Hanami is a unique Japanese custom in which people observe cherry blossoms to enjoy the herald of spring season.
It’s basically a picnic to see beautiful blossoms. People gather to watch the flowers with lunch boxes and alcohol.
▼Sakura series: Drinks
Sakura white chocolate (left) and Sakura white chocolate Frappuccino®
These are the two kinds of sakura drinks released in spring 2013.
They’re milk-based drinks flavored with cherry syrup and white chocolate, but have no coffee.
It’s said that the ingredients include genuine sakura flowers and leaves.
▼Sakura patterned paper cups and bags
In 2013, all of the cups were decorated with a sakura pattern, even the little sample cups.
They were made in fine detail with utmost effort, a very Japanese way of working.
▼Sakura Bundt cake
Sakura Bundt cake is a standard dish served every year.
Its pink color is very cute.
What’s on the cake is also a cherry blossom! It’s a pickled sakura flower.
What are salted cherry blossoms?
Salted cherry blossoms are cherry blossoms mixed with salt and vinegar (or lemon) and, using stones as a pickle press, marinated for 2-3 days then dried.
Although they taste salty, the scent of cherry blossoms is deepened.
Japanese pastry shops also use them to convey Japanese flavor in Western pastries they make.
And… there is indeed such a product!
This sakura macaron is also a part of the Sakura series! Even the packaging design is really lovely. It feels just like spring.
The Starbucks sakura macaron is made in the motif of this sakura rice cake, a traditional Japanese sweet.
This rice cake is made from pink-colored mochi rice and is covered in a pickled sakura leaf.
To faithfully reproduce the taste of sakura rice cake, pickled leaves of cherry blossom are actually kneaded into the macarons. Therefore, they are slightly salty.
The store is sakura everywhere!
The stores are in full sakura mode, made by the pink color of the Sakura series and the in-store decorations that vary between locations.
The shop’s blackboards are decorated by the shop’s staff.
This is one for the sakura season.
You can’t see because of the small size of the photo, but all of the flower petals are memo notes. It would be fun to go to different shops and check out their blackboards that reveal their character.