Well, the cherry blossoms aren’t in full bloom yet, but the Sakura Frappuccino is already out of Starbucks stores. In fact it was out so fast that I missed the in between “Coffee and Cream” frappuccinos that were here for only a week. My theory is that Sakura sold out in most locations, so the coffee flavored whipped cream was brought in (with minimal promotion) to be a stopgap before March’s new offering, the Vanilla Lemony Swirl.
The Vanilla Lemony Swirl comes in
both hot and Frap forms, but there’s a major difference–the hot has a shot of espresso. I was quite surprised to discover this at 6 pm when I tried my first one, especially since it’s hard to tell from the poster!
Both have a strong vanilla flavor (the Frap uses the Vanilla creme base) and have a swirl of delicate lemon syrup in the drink and on top. There’s also a candy sprinkle, but I like this one much better than the strawberry candy from the Strawberry Sakura Latte. This is essentially crushed white chocolate M&Ms with what tastes like lemon peel mixed in. It adds a nice texture and the white chocolate melts as it mixes with the latte.
I generally prefer the Frappuccino version, as I don’t think this really needs the espresso. The Strawberry Sakura Latte needed it to balance the sweetness, but this drink is more subtly balanced, in my opinion. After all, this is the very opposite of a Serious Coffee Drink, so no need to pretend that it’s anything more than a froufrou fluffy beverage. It’s sort of the Pina Colada of Starbucks drinks, though no word yet on alcohol in Japanese Starbuckses. (What is the plural of Starbucks?)
Some of my friends have complained that the lemon is not strong enough–one said that she was hoping for the lemon to slap her in the face. This is more of a light caress on your cheek as vanilla wafts through the air. I’m a fan, though it’s definitely not for every one!
I will say the look is a bit unfortunate–when the promotional email first went out, we wondered if Starbucks was finally releasing their long-awaited Corn Chowder Latte. I suppose that’ll be another day!
There’s no associated merchandise or even snacks for this one–the cherry pie and Sacher Torte are still going strong in the case. I’d love a lemon colored mug to go with my Sakura, but I suppose it’s not to be!
What do you think? Have you tried the Lemony Swirl? Do you want to? If you do, don’t forget to like and share this post with your Starbucks or lemon loving friends!