Starbucks had new signage today welcoming the Vivanno. As explained yesterday, it's a nutritious answer to the indulgent Frappuccino, with only 250 calories for the 16-ounce Orange Mango Banana flavor, and 270 calories for the Banana Chocolate. Are they worth it? Fewer calories than a Jamba Juice smoothie or a Frappuccino, but they're gross.
After tasting one spoonful of the Banana Chocolate, Ed Levine compared it to milk of magnesia. Yum! Chewable tablets that relieve heartburn! Watery, with fake chocolate powder undertones, this isn't good. The closest Jamba Juice counterpart: Peanut Butter Moo'd, minus the peanut butter part. Vanilla frozen yogurt, chocolate "Moo'd base," soy milk, ice, and frozen bananas yielded no discernible flavor, but was more drinkable than Vivanno.
A Jamba Juice staffer estimated 460 to 530 calories for this edited Peanut Butter Moo'd, about 200 to 250 more calories than the Vivanno. Either way, Starbucks and Jamba Juice are not milkshake destinations, and this is essentially a milkshake.
Orange Mango Banana
The Vivanno wasn't horrible, but Jamba Juice was the clear winner. The drink was so thick, the straw could stand—levitate really—inside the Jamba Juice cup without touching the bottom, while the Vivanno was watery. Whipping out her calculator, a Jamba Juice staffer gave us a 340 to 420 calorie range for the drink, roughly 100 to 150 more calories than the Vivanno version.
If smoothies are your thing, then continue buying them at Jamba (it's worth the extra cals), and continue buying your coffee at Starbucks. But buy your milkshakes at a milkshake store.
As far as "smoothie" nomenclature goes, Starbucks window stickers broadcast, "Today is a new smoothie," alongside sketches of fit-looking runners in short shorts. As opposed to an early report from a barista blogger after corporate training, Starbucks isn't cracking down too hard on the "don't you dare call it a smoothie" rule. Though, a barista this morning translated a few "smoothie" orders to those of "nutritious blends" behind the counter.
Have you tried the Vivanno? Is it a Viva-No way José?