The Starbucks brand has long been ubiquitous in Korea. The first Starbucks opened in Seodaemun on July 27th, 1999, and by 2016, Korea welcomed its 1,000th store in Cheongdam-dong. Although Starbucks here feature an extensive selection of desserts and cakes, often much more elaborate than those found abroad, some of the hype around Starbucks in Korea may be due to its exclusive menu items. Starbucks here offers drinks that often feature flavors unique to Korea such as Omija as well as flavors distinct to Jeju Island.
1. New Mungyeong Omija Fizzio (뉴 문경 오미자 피지오)
This drink stars the Omija Berry from the Mungyeong Province. Omija is known to have five different flavors; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy.The berry’s complex flavor in combination with the fizz makes the perfect refreshing drink for the summer.
It made its first debut the summer of 2016 as a seasonal menu option. However, due to its popularity and support of local produce, Starbucks reintroduced the drink this summer. Starbucks reportedly purchased 61 tons of Omija berries from the Mungyeong Province, a whopping amount compared to the to the 37 tons purchased last year.
2. Jeju Honey Peanut Latte (제주 꿀 땅콩 라떼)
Made with milk infused with peanuts from Jeju Island and sweetened with Canola honey, this latte is sure to pack a punch in terms of nutty flavor. Served either hot or cold, the drink’s flavor is reminiscent of misutgaru, a popular Korean roasted rice drink. Once exclusive to Starbucks stores in Jeju, this drink is now available all throughout Korea.
3. Jeju Hoji Tea Cream Frappuccino (제주 호지 티 크림 프라푸치노)
The Jeju Hoji Tea Cream Frappuccino features organic hoji tea. Hoji tea is a type of green tea that is a prized product from Jeju Island. It is prepared differently from other green teas, in that it is roasted before serving. This variety of green tea has undertones that are more creamy and often likened to caramel due to its unique preparation, which adds to the fullness and richness of the frappuccino.
4. Jeju Tangerine Green Tea (제주 영귤 그린티) and Jeju Organic Green Tea (제주 유기 녹차)
Two other drinks featuring Jeju flavors is the Jeju Tangerine Green Tea and the Jeju Organic Green Tea. The Jeju Tangerine Green Tea combines tart and earthy flavors with tangerine syrup and organic green tea. Jeju Organic Green Tea is simply just that. If you are craving more subtle drinks, these are a must-try.
The Lavender Cafe Breve is a lavender-infused espresso drink that provides a subtle taste but a striking presentation. Served at Starbucks Reserve, this Instagram-famed drink is presented in a clear glass with a beautiful lavender garnish.
This blended drink features the beloved green grape flavor that is quite popular for the summer. Green grape is usually served in ades, juices, and smoothies in cafes all over Korea. At Starbucks, it is combined with black tea and a squeeze of lemon, serving as the perfect drink for the hot summer weather.
There you have a list of new menu items that you may or may not have noticed before. Whether you are a Starbucks skeptic or fanatic, you might want to try out these items listed above and judge them for yourself. You just might find some new favorites.