Sakura latte is a sweet and creamy warm drink that blends milk with cherry blossom powder. The drink recipe is sweetened with honey and topped with fluffy whipped cream. The dreamy pink latte is a romantic spring beverage and will delight your taste buds!
Homemade cherry blossom latte
In case you were wondering, we’re obsessed with all things cherry blossom. We love the ruffly petals, the soft pink color, and the delicate floral scent.
After sharing soap, lotion, and candle recipes inspired by these gorgeous flowers, I wanted to create Sakura-flavored treats. Frist up were these delicious Sakura cookies, and now it’s time to make Sakura latte!
What is a Sakura latte?
Sakura latte is a Japanese drink popular in spring during the short-lived cherry blossom season (hanami). The caffeine-free beverage is composed of milk and seasoned with Sakura extract or powder to give it a subtle floral aroma.
What does Sakura latte taste like?
The flavor of Sakura latte may surprise you because the drink tastes floral, sweet, and sightly salty. It’s not cherry-flavored but has a delicate cherry blossom aroma.
And why salty? Sakura blossoms are pickled with salt and plum vinegar to preserve them and retain their beautiful pink color.
My cherry blossom latte recipe is inspired by Japanese Sakura lattes and Starbucks cherry blossom latte, but doesn’t claim to be authentically Japanese. It’s just my take on the beautiful spring drink and a way to express my love for cherry blossoms.
I will also say that cherry blossom latte isn’t for everyone. My mom and I loved it; my husband, on the other hand, wasn’t a fan. If you like floral flavors, you’ll enjoy the recipe. But if not, best skip this one.
Sometimes the simplest things are the best! This Sakura drink recipe calls only for 4 ingredients and is super easy to make. Check out the recipe card further down for specific measurements.
- Sakura powder infuses the latte with an elegant floral flavor and soft pink color. The powder is made from freeze-dried cherry blossom and cherry leaf paste. Please refer to the FAQ section for more info.
- Milk: I love whole milk because it makes your Sakura milk tea rich and creamy. However, feel free to make the easy latte recipe with any milk you like. 2%, non-fat, and dairy-free milk will work well.
- Honey sweetens the latte, and clear honey is best. Alternatively, substitute maple syrup.
- Heavy cream (optional) is the key to making the foamy latte topping. Cream froths up nicely and creates a silky texture.
How to make Sakura latte
Homemade Sakura latte comes together quickly + easily and tastes absolutely delightful! Let’s go over the recipe step-by-step:
Step 1: Warm milk
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the Sakura powder.
- Cook over medium-high heat on the stovetop until the milk is warm and begins to steam, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk constantly to dissolve the Sakura powder into the liquid.
- At this point, taste the milk. Feel free to include another tablespoon of Sakura powder if you desire a stronger flavor.
Step 2: Add sweetener
- Take the milk off the stovetop and stir in the honey or other sweetener of your choice.
- I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of honey and adding another spoonful if desired.
Step 3: Whip cream
- Place the cream into a small, cold bowl.
- Whip the cream with a milk frother or small whisk until the texture becomes frothy and foamy. The goal isn’t to beat the cream until peaks form but instead to fluffy it up a bit.
Step 4: Assemble
- Pour the warm cherry blossom milk into a cup or mug.
- Using a large tablespoon, gently spoon the foamy heavy cream over the milk.
- To garnish your drink, sprinkle dried Sakura powder on top.
Step 5: Serve
- Serve your Sakura latte warm. Enjoy!
Variations & substitutions
You can change the cherry blossom latte recipe up with different mix-ins and ingredient swaps! Here are a few ideas and substitutions that you can try.
- Milk: This Sakura latte recipe works well with different types of milk. Whole milk, 2%, and non-fat are good options. Light-tasting dairy-free milk, such as almond or oat milk, works perfectly, too.
- Sweetener: Instead of honey, use maple syrup or agave syrup to sweeten your Sakura blossom latte. To cut down on sugar, you can also opt for a sugar-free syrup like this keto simple syrup.
- Iced Sakura latte: Cook the Sakura milk tea as described in the recipe. Let the drink cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour or until you’re ready to make the drink. Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the Sakura latte. Top with whipped cream and garnish with Sakura powder.
- Matcha: To make matcha Sakura latte, add 1 tsp match powder when warming the milk. You can also add the 1/4 tsp match powder to the cream and create a matcha-infused foam topping
- Coffee: Add a shot espresso to the recipe for a caffeinated Sakura latte.
How to store Sakura latte
Leftover Sakura latte should be refrigerated in an airtight mason jar or container and enjoyed within 2 days. The latte is best stored when the toppings are left off. Reheat in a small saucepan for a few minutes or until warm.
Can you freeze Sakura latte?
Yes, you can freeze Sakura latte (without the cream topping). Let the drink cool to room temperature before pouring it into a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for 1 month. Let defrost in the fridge before consuming.
- 1 cup / 240 ml / 8 fl oz milk (can be dairy or dairy-free)
- 2 tbsp Sakura powder, plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp honey (can sub for maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml / 2 fl oz heavy cream (optional)
- Warm milk. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the Sakura powder. Cook over medium-high heat on the stovetop until the milk is warm and begins to steam, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk constantly to dissolve the Sakura powder into the liquid. At this point, taste the milk. Feel free to include another tablespoon of Sakura powder if you desire a stronger flavor.
- Add sweetener. Take the milk off the stovetop and stir in the honey or other sweetener of your choice. I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of honey and adding another spoonful if desired.
- Whip cream. Place the cream into a small, cold bowl. Whip the cream with a milk frother or small whisk until the texture becomes frothy and foamy. The goal isn’t to beat the cream until peaks form but instead to fluffy it up a bit.
- Assemble. Pour the warm cherry blossom milk into a cup or mug. Using a large tablespoon, gently spoon the foamy heavy cream over the milk. To garnish your drink, sprinkle dried Sakura powder on top.
- Serve. Serve your Sakura latte warm. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 10g
What is Sakura powder?
Sakura powder is made from freeze-dried cherry blossom paste and cherry leaf paste. The powder also contains sweeteners (usually sugar) and colorants.
Sakura latte powder is also available. This product is made with milk powder, freeze-dried Sakura paste, sugar, and food coloring. Sakura latte powder has a lighter aroma, and I recommend buying Sakura powder if you can.
What does Sakura taste like?
As mentioned earlier, preserved Sakura blossoms and Sakura powder have a delicate, slightly salty aroma and aren’t cherry flavored. The flavor reminds me of plum wine.
Bonnie Eng from Thirsty for Tea explains that the “use of preserved sakura blooms […] is similar to how sea salt is added to caramel–it helps balance out the sweeter flavors that it’s commonly paired with.”
Where can I buy Sakura powder?
They also offer a Sakura leaf powder that dissolves in water and milk. I haven’t tried this one, but it’s great for latte and drinks, according to the site.
Can I make this latte with whole Sakura flowers?
No, I don’t recommend it. In my first attempt at this recipe, I ground up whole dried Sakura flowers in my food processor. The ground flowers didn’t dissolve in the milk, resulting in an unattractive grayish color.
Starbucks Sakura latte
Each year, Starbucks Japan offers a seasonal Sakura-inspired drinks as part of their spring line-up. The cherry blossom beverages are available for a limited time. Recipes vary each year and usually include an icy Frappuccino and a warm latte.
In his review of the drink, Aaron Baggett describes the Sakura latte as “Japan’s answer to the USA’s famous pumpkin spice latte.” And Delish’s Kelly Allen calls the pink lattes “almost as pretty as the flowers themselves.” The drinks are indeed incredibly gorgeous.
Despite slight variations, Starbucks’ Sakura latte always consists of strawberry sauce blended with steamed milk, garnished with whipped cream and a pink topping. In some years, they also added cherry tree leaf extract. Also, this latte is coffee-free.
Starbucks Sakura latte recipe
My Sakura latte recipe isn’t a Starbucks copycat because it’s made without strawberry sauce. However, you can easily adapt the recipe to make it similar to the Starbuck drink. Let me show you how!
- 1 cup / 240 ml / 8 fl oz milk (can be dairy or dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup / g / oz strawberry syrup
- 1 tbsp Sakura blossom powder (optional)
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml / 2 fl oz heavy cream
- Warm milk. Place the milk, strawberry sauce, and Sakura powder (if using) into a small saucepan. Heat on the stovetop over medium heat, for about 5 minutes.
- Froth cream. Pour the cream into a small, cold bowl. Using a milk frother or small whisk, whip the cream until the texture becomes frothy and foamy. The goal isn’t to beat the cream until it peaks, but rather to fluffy it up a bit.
- Serve. Pour the warm milk into a cup and top with whipped cream topping. Enjoy!
You can make your own strawberry sauce or buy a premade strawberry syrup, for example, from Reàl, Fontana, or Schmucker’s.
Strawberry sauce is often sweetened; hence I didn’t include a sweetener in this recipe. Of course, if you have unsweetened strawberry sauce, sweeten it with some sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
As I’ve mentioned before, Starbucks doesn’t always include cherry-blossom related ingredients in their Sakura recipes. The 2022 Sakura latte, for example, is essentially warm strawberry milk. So, it’s perfectly fine to skip the Sakura powder.
Starbucks decorates their latte often with strawberry chocolate shavings. Strawberry chocolate isn’t easy to find, but you could use strawberry candy melts or ruby chocolate instead.