As the seasons change, so do the menus of the world's Starbucks, but this time in Japan they changed in a way that piqued my interest. PUDDING? Yes, pudding, resting in the bottom of your Frappuccino cup under a cream-based chocolate cookie shake. Before we go any further, let's go ahead and say the beast's full name:
CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUMBLE FRAPPUCCINO BLENDED CREAM WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE PUDDING!!
It's a name so long the official blog post apologized while announcing it. 590 yen for a tall is about US $7.23.
I found this handy diagram sketched out in a participating Starbucks (who are we kidding, they are all participating here!) so let's break it down:
Starting from the bottom up: Starbucks original pudding, cream-based Frappuccino with chocolate chips and [chocolate] syrup in it, whip cream with chocolate sauce and "black cocoa" cookie cookie on top. "Have a special dessert-like drink as a reward for yourself!" Starting to sound pretty decadent, right? Unfortunately it ended up being exactly the opposite, but even if the Frappucinno itself wasn't fancy, we ate it in a fancy place...!
This is the view looking back as you go up the escalator entering the newly opened Tokyu Plaza mall in Omotesando, Harajuku. You can just barely make out the outline of the rope line there as security guys wrangle the shopper assault during the building's first week of business. The Starbucks in this castle of clothing, accessories, and fashionable household items (I bought a Pantone umbrella) is on the 6th floor, right next to the roof deck—the perfect spot to sip ourselves to diet destruction.
No really, though, with 558 calories in a Tall (small) size, this is not a snack to take lightly. I'm liable to be pretty upset if something with that many calories is not tasty enough to be worth every single one. C'mon Starbucks, don't let me down!
"Bizarre! What...was that?" Sadly, it was the so-called "rich and extravagent" Starbucks original pudding getting pulled through my straw in bland clots. The texture is closer to cloudy Jell-o. White Chocolate? Where? I couldn't taste it. I guess if there were real pudding in there the calorie count would have sky-rocketed even further, but I wanted that silky milkiness going on and it just was not. Many jokes about reverse liposuction through a straw were made at the expense of everyone's midriffs.
As for the shake part, it was, yeah, a chocolate shake with some cookie bits in it, but then expecting something on the level of a McFlurry would be folly. This is still a drink after all, not a real dessert. That ended up being the take away. For some reason I thought maybe with the pudding and everything they would serve it with a spoon, but the whole experience is still just designed to be inhaled through a tube. When you think of it that way, the weak flavors and lackluster texture seem like par for the course.
Maybe you weren't planning a trip to Japan to sample their exotic Starbucks drinks anyways, but the Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with White Chocolate Pudding is one you can skip!
Thanks to @sandrajapandra for the final photo and original food tip!