Let’s Trying!: Starbucks Japan’s Apple Caramel Frappuccino

What does this have to do with Christmas?

Every now and then, I’ll try to eat, drink, visit, or do something that might interest someone out there…

Have you ever in your life so desperately wanted to blend something up an drink it? Did it ever seem like that thing was un-blendable or undrinkable? Well, if like me you enjoyed a Caramel Apple Pop (remember finding these bad boys in your Halloween candy bags?) in your youth then this, my friend, is right up your alley.

I can only guess from what I could see as the barista made the drink, but it seems like its foundation is a tan, caramel flavored milk. The creme base is then added and the two are blended with ice. Finally, a red apple syrup is added to the bottom of the cup and the blended mixture is poured over it in a manner that will swirl the two together creating a marble effect. While my particular Frapp wasn’t executed to perfection, the taste was undeniably the exact same as the Caramel Apple Pop of my youth. The unsweetened whiped cream (Starbucks Japan adds no vanilla syrup to their whipped cream, very dissimilar to the American recipe) is topped with a glaze of apple flavored sauce.

Christmastime in Japan is an interesting case study of how a country far removed from a holiday approached marketing and manufacturing for said holiday. An example: KFC has become the staple meal at Christmas for some time now. If you tell Japanese people that Americans don’t eat KFC for Christmas dinner, a sizable group will react with surprise. I know this from experience, trust me. Another example: The Frappuccino pictured above. I’ve asked myself several times after each time seeing the hand-drawn chalk art advertising this drink, “what does caramel apple have to do with Christmas?

This drink would have made much more sense if marketed during the autumn cycle, perhaps mid-September until early December. It would hold with the rustic traditions of the American harvest: Bushels of apples picked from trees and ready for grandma’s famous apple pie. And the warm image of gooey caramel dripping from a bright red apple makes it all the more appealing. This is not the case, however, and this drink is being sold during the Christmas season. I imagine that the introduction of this drink will probably shape some opinions about what treats Americans (or westerners in general) partake in during Christmastime.

Still, no regrets. This drink was so damn good. I may yet have another before it disappears from the menu.