Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
Today: the baked cheesecake frappuccino.
Starbucks Japan releases a lot of limited-time flavours that the UK just doesn't get. As such, even though 'Sutaba' is not a Japanese brand, I feel honour-bound to drink there.
Baked cheesecake is available only as a frappuccino, only in tall size, and only from June 1st to July 1st. It costs 658 yen including tax - £4.25 at the time of writing. It replaces Strawberry Delight, which replaced Cantaloupe Melon. And I have now tried it.
This edition even has a special light brown cream topping. Supposed to look like the light golden top of an actual baked cheesecake. Don't let anyone say Starbucks Japan skimps on the visual attention to detail.
When I popped the straw in, it also became clear that there's lots of crushed biscuit mixed in. Well, graham crackers, but as if a British person has ever used the phrase 'graham cracker' and known what that meant. It's got biscuit in it, okay?
From the first sip, you know this is a cream-based drink. 'Based' might be an understatement, as it tastes more like cream than cheesecake. There isn't much of a hint of cheese or cake. I've eaten a lot of cheesecake in my time, and this drink isn't even trying.
Ever had milk and cookies and dropped most of your cookies in the milk? That's this drink.
Not to say it's unpleasant, at all. The sweetness isn't too intense, and the cream on top doesn't overwhelm the rest of the drink. I quite like it.
The proportion of crushed graham cracker (apologies to all Grahams everywhere) is nice and generous. I got to the point where a spoon would've been far more effective than a straw. Seeing as I drank this after lunch, it felt like having dessert.
The verdict: 7/10. It's nice, but it sure ain't anything like cheesecake.