Starbucks Sakura 2011 merchandise in Japan

Starbucks in Japan just released their Sakura 2011 merchandise.  I know I said that there would be no new blog posts for one week, but I couldn’t pass this up.  It’s beautiful cherry blossom-designed merchandise which includes a tumbler, mugs, a bearista bear, a Sakura flavor for a latte and the  Frappuccino, and a special Sakura Starbucks card also.  Noboru Sakamoto (who emailed me the photos) was nearly insistent that I share these lovely photos here on  I can’t resist.

The Sakura flavor has its hard-core fans, and some of them want to see it come to the United States market.  I enjoyed having cherry available, which was recently a seasonal offering, so I might enjoy Sakura too.  Once in a while threads appear on suggesting that the Sakura flavor come to the United States.  However, having never tried the Sakura flavor, I can’t really weigh in on this idea.

Last year I briefly talked about the 2010 Sakura merchandise, though the photos are of a poor quality:

Cherry Blossom Tumbler 2010 – Japan

Just as an aside, I think it’s interesting that the Starbucks Japan website is already showing off a photo of the Tribute Blend Whole Bean coffee, and the Tribute Blend Via Ready Brew:

Starbucks Japan press release

This merchandise is really beautiful, and I love the idea of a matching card and tumbler.  We had the same kind of idea happening in the US market with the Adler mugs and cards.

Thank you Noboru Sakamato for taking these great pictures! Recently Noboru has launched his own Starbucks blog – Click here if you’d like to visit it.

And last but not least, I’ve “borrowed” this photo from the Starbucks Japan website:

Okay, now I’m really taking a one week break from posting.  I will see you all the 22nd.  I definitely need the break, but when I got the email from Noboru with all these photos, I simply didn’t want to wait to post them.  Enjoy and chat amongst yourselves. 😉

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  • Alexander

    The packaging for Tribute Blend looks great! Sleek, sexy, and very calm. I wonder if anyone’s tasted this already?

    Thanks, Mel. Have a good rest, you need it after that contest 😉

  • purple1

    Nob what truly beautiful pics you sent Melody and thanks Melody for adding this thread. I sure wish the merchandise in the USA compared to the merchandise in Japan. Why is it so different. Enjoy Texas Melody!

  • Javier Sandoval

    Wow! I wish there was some kind of merchandise like that here in the US, I love the color and the neatness of the artwork.

  • Nob

    I did not think that Melody updated blog so early. You may receive some Sakura merchandise during a holiday. That will make you busy. Haha.

    I think so too. “Why is it so different.”
    For example, I want to buy Starbucks ice cream in Japan. I want to buy bottled Frappuccino. Also Vivanno and Joy Tea, etc. Hmmm.

  • denise r

    beautiful pics!!!
    while I knew of the “Tribute” coffee soon to be released here, I just SO wish they would stop with the VIA. Maybe alter a few we already have, ie: decaf a flavor, etc. Otherwise, no more VIA. OR, keep it more internationally and give US something else in return. (things we’ve talked about here, and desire)

  • Melody

    @Noboru – You’re keeping me quite busy. 😉 Thank you again! @Alexander – I too like the sleek packaging. I’ve seen numerous tweets that partners are starting to get Tribute Blend to their stores, and some are breaking into it and tasting it, but I haven’t yet tried it.
    @purple1 – I see what you’re saying. I think Sakura is culturally a Japan event, but the designs are beautiful, and it would be lovely to see something like this here. Though I’d just love to see more merchandise generally. I’m getting very curious about what Tribute inspired merch might be coming.

  • purple1

    Perhaps SB just thinks that the customers are so different in the international arena vs. the USA market that they do not want to take a chance to promote this merchandise in the USA? Obviously, from comments here that is not the case and SB really needs to pump up their merchandise in the stores. As I have said in earlier posts, my local SB is sadly lacking in exciting merchandise or design.

  • CD

    Thanks for the pictures Nob and thanks Melody for one more post before your much deserved break. I like the Tribute packaging. I hope that they are using an actual sticker.

  • CD

    ^^^ “Sticker” as in stamp – a Tribute blend coffee stamp.

  • PurelyCoffeeBeans

    I really like the SB coffee beans that you can buy, and the Americanos. But in Taiwan, I generally find their products overpriced, lacking in variety and prefer to buy other products. Most SBs here stopped selling their electric products and opted for simpler equipment and cups.

    The other thing that isn’t so good in Taiwan are the cakes and cookies. The pastries tend to be better, but the other food items are things I generally avoid. And that’s not from choice. I would LOVE to buy some great food items, but just don’t see them too often.

    Will continue to buy coffee beans and other products where the Starbucks value are obvious. Unfortunately, SB Taiwan hasn’t varied itself significantly from the US/UK stores, so there’s plenty of variety OUTSIDE SB stores…


  • latteteadah

    Wow – thank you for the post! I’m such a drinkware hound, and these designs have me drooling!! Really wish they’d be convinced to market these here. Maybe they’ll turn up on ebay?
    It’s a tradition to preserve the cherry blossoms in salt and plum vinegar, then add them to water to make Sakura tea. A quick google search will bring up a list of reputable vendors, you can get them delivered to the states. (for those interested in seeing what the fuss is about) You could use them to make a syrup to flavor a home-brewed latte. I haven’t yet tried this myself, but I have Sakura tea blossoms arriving in the next week or two – I may have to stop back and share pics.

  • Sebastian

    You got the BEST MERCHANDISE EVER, Nob!! So amazing…these Tumblers are awesome! Just wonderful colors and flowers and all that…I don’t know what more to say. 😀

    I am jealous…

  • Nob

    I heard that. Starbucks Taiwan have unique card Rewards?  Merchandise only for the card users?

  • Kaori

    I love how the Sakura merchandise has really brightened the store up with its whiff of spring! The girls working at my regular Starbucks were all wearing cute cherry blossom stickers on their cheeks. It seems the baristas were excited about the new Sakura series, too :-)

    Although we get a lot of merchandise, like Kenneth, I would really like to see more variety in our food menu. Or at least more choices for vegetarians…although we are a pretty rare group here in Japan.

    Hope you have a fun vacation, Melody!!! (and kudos to Nobu-san for the fantastic pics!)

  • Kate

    i love the cherry blossoms! so pretty! makes me want to go to japan just to get that stuff! :)

  • Hayley

    Wow Nob (and Melody!) those are gorgeous!!! I usually don’t like the bearista bears enough to buy one, but this one is Adorable!! I like this merchandise much better than last years, I remember the post very well! The merchandise last year was nice, but this year it’s beautiful! :)

  • LatteRose

    Beautiful! Has an almost Tiffany-style to it. I, too, wish they had designs like that here.
    (Now off to check eBay…)

  • Nick

    I have to say I am very excited about the new coffee! i love when Starbucks comes out with new coffees for me to try! I am a partner and I am going through my whole coffee passport again (I think it’s the third “official” time I’m doing it again…”) I decided since I blog about other coffees I might as well remind myself of the joys of our core coffees!

  • Taylor

    This merchandise is gorgeous!

  • denise r

    what a lonely site….. 😉 xxx

  • CD

    Hi @Denise R – how’s it going? Remembering what your grass looked like yet? On a Starbucks related note, my local store is pre-promoting Tribute Blend. A barista and I made a joke about it the other day. It is supposed to be comprised of beans from every coffee growing region in the world. That kind of reminded me of when kids fill their fountain soda cup with a bit of every soda offered at the fountain (a.k.a. a “suicide”) to which the barista renamed the blend to “Starbucks Suicide Blend.”

  • keikomermaid

    I just had a sakura latte today! I love the tumblers this year–they are so pretty! Way better than the previous years…except for 2009. Those were really cute, too. There is one other type of thermos they are selling…I think it’s for (cold) tea, since Japanese people are so into drinking tea. The sakura latte has a slightly salty flavor from the sakura. Sakura is not really sweet…it’s kind of a unique flavor–hard to describe–but makes for an interesting latte. I don’t know if I’ll get it again, but they have all these different sakura desserts, too! Sakura scone, sakura cheesecake, etc. Everything looks really cute cuz it’s pink, but the taste might be too….unusual.

  • Melody

    @deniseR-Hi!!It’s a little lonely but the parade will start up again. 😉
    @keikomermaid – I had no idea! I imagined a cherry flavor, not salty. Thank you for stopping by the blog and welcome! Please poke around – Under the categories tab, there is a link for “international” posts which shows off more from Japan, and all over the world too. I particularly like the Aruba blog article. Sorry sloppy, on my ipad.

  • CABarista

    I havn’t seen the packaging here yet, but I doubt it will be the same as in Japan. Have you noticed that all the seasonal offerings have a similar look in how they are packaged now? Filigree backgrounds. I doubt they will break this trend. The bearista bears made me giggle :) so cute!

  • CABarista

    @ Purple
    There will be a TON of new merch with the anniversary celebration coming out. No worries.

  • denise r

    Hi CD and Melody!
    CD: yes! too much grass! (I LOVED the snow!!!! the deep deep snow) But, I like March, too:)
    re: Tribute coffee, I asked my manager what he could compare it to (he’s had it, but doens’t have any) he said: maybe Christmas blend. ??? CD, have you had this yet? what did you think? (I know YOU didn’t have the “Tibute Via”!)

  • CABarista

    I have yet to try it yet, but evidently it’s closer to verona than christmas. It’s a post roast blend in order to maintain the flavour. But, unlike verona, it has fruity notes, so things like chocolate covered strawberries go with it. (our dm brought some so my manager has tried it, excited to do so myself)

  • ninjovee

    I actually wandered here because I saw a friend who owns the tumbler and posted it on Facebook, and I made a Google search. Oh gosh, I would so want to get all of these! The designs are just lovely!

  • Melody

    Hi Ninjovee – Welcome to the blog! I totally like these designs too. Are you in Japan so that you can easily get the tumblers, and card? Hope you’ll poke around the site and “like” the facebook page. I put all (or most) of the blog posts that feature stores and Starbucks merch internationally in this category:

    ^ So you can see the other times I written about Starbucks in Japan…

    Welcome again!


  • ninjovee

    @Melody: Hey~! Thank you so much for the warm welcome! Oh gosh, I wish I was living in Japan! I’ve never been! I just know an acquaintance from college who currently works in Japan — thus having a Sakura tumbler. I actually looked around some more in Google and found out that they were actually doing this every year! I’m quite tempted to buy a couple of tumblers for myself via auction sites in Japan (yes, I’m quite desperate. ~_~; ). During my search for more information about Starbucks Japan tumblers, I actually stumbled upon a blog post that shows their 2011 Valentines collection and they’re just lovely! I wish I knew of these sooner. I feel like I’m going to start a collection of Starbucks Japan tumblers just seeing how lovely they look.

    Sorry for all the rambling! I’m pretty sure I’ll be checking in now and then =) I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader too. Looking forward to read more of your entries =)

  • Dione Nahirnick

    As soon as I saw those gorgeous sakura mugs I wanted one. Lucky for me a coworker is leaving for a Japanese holiday today and I asked her to get me one if she could (if not a standard city mug will suffice). Here’s hoping she does manage to get one for me!:)

  • French Bean

    SQUEEEEEEE!!!! I want the Sakura bearistas!!! AUGH. So. Cute.

  • Brad

    LOVE these Starbucks Sakura items! Got myself the mug!

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