Starbucks: Japan vs. US

Starbucks is a place you can count on all around the world. Or at least pretty close to it. Going to Starbucks here in Japan is great because the menus are labeled in English, and for the most part the baristas understand the American names of the drinks. This sounds simple, but it doesn't always happen at other places you would expect, like McDonalds, but thats another post. For as popular as Starbuck's is in the US, I would say it is equally, if not more popular here. I have rarely seen a Starbuck's that is not packed. The stores located at prime locations, like Umeda Station, are usually so packed that getting it to go is the only option, and an employee will greet you at the entrance to tell you that you cant stay to have your coffee because they are too full.

In Japan, a tall just isn't small enough. They serve an even smaller 8 oz cup of coffe, called "short."

Disregarding the fact that it is so tiny it's like paying for a sample, isn't it the cutest little cup of coffee you have ever seen? A short regular latte costs 340 yen, or just under $4.00. 

Not only does Japan have their own size, but they have a very interesting seasonal drink menu. The current promotion is the Candy Orange Latte. I havent tried it, because there are too many weird things about that name (orange+coffee =no, as does candy in my coffee). The previous promotion was the White Chocolate Sakura Latte. A sakura is a flower that blooms here in Japan, so I can't imagine what that one would taste like either. Some other slightly unusual flavors that can be found at a Starbucks in Japan include:

Crunchy Caramel Latte (and yes, it is crunchy)
White Chocolate Green Tea
Coffee Jelly Frappachino
Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappachino with white chocolate pudding (I would have tried this one if I would have been here for it!)

If comparing Starbucks in Japan to Starbucks in the US, I would give this one to the US for one reason only: drive throughs! Nothing beats not leaving the comfort of your warm car to pick up some hot coffee!

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