If you’re a pushover for all things kawaii, get ready to squee with delight over Starbucks’ matcha pudding cups. The tiny, green containers look just like their big sisters from the coffee shop, except they’re a delightful shade of tea green. It’s perfect timing, too, as matcha is having a moment.
The pudding cups are sold in Starbucks stores for ¥320, or about $2.90 each. But, sorry to say my Western friends, that only includes Starbucks stores in Japan. Ugh. While frustrating to curious palates elsewhere, it’s par for the course with Sbux, which also just released an American Cherry Pie Frappuccino in, you guessed it, only Japan.
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Starbucks also sells other pudding and custard flavors in their Asian outlets. Previously released puddings include chocolate and milk custard, also coming in tiny cups (even a holiday version). The cups also feature inspirational sayings that appear to be Sharpie-d on, as if a barista wrote them for you.
Matcha is, of course, being used to flavor just about everything on both sides of the Pacific these days. The pricier cousin to standard green tea is popping up in desserts like ice cream and cakes, cocktails. Even candies like Kit Kats are getting in on the craze. Craze, that is, to Westerners just encountering this ancient ingredient for the first time. The hearty, earthier tea is made from a fine powder ground from the prized leaves. It is traditionally prepared by whisking the powder into the boiling water with a bamboo chasen. It’s often touted for its antioxidants and it’s higher-than-average caffeine content as well.
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Unfortunately Starbucks stores in U.S. aren’t in the custard business just yet, so there’s no indication as to whether the matcha cups will make their way to America. Oh, and we’d also like to know if that’s ceremonial grade pudding, too.