Starbucks Introduces the 'Vivanno' Drink: Looks, Tastes Like Smoothie, But Not One

20080714-starbucks-vivanno.jpgStarbucks is unleashing another "healthy" answer to the extra caramel Frappuccino with extra whip. Launching Tuesday, the "Vivanno" will taste, look, and act like a smoothie but since it's "so much more than a smoothie" according to Starbucks, they won't let you call it one.

The Vivanno will come in two flavors: Orange Mango Banana Blend, made with Naked Juice, protein and fiber powders, milk, and ice, with 227 calories in a grande. In the Banana Chocolate Blend, mocha syrup replaces the juice, and there's 270 calories for the same 16 ounces. Each blend also contains a whole banana, which Starbucks really wants you to know and love. According to one barista blogger, staffers were reminded repeatedly that there's “at least one serving of fruit with a whole banana" throughout corporate training. They even watched a DVD underscoring the banana presence. <!-- What it's not: a smoothie. What it is: a "nutritious" drink with a whole darn banana in every cup! -->

And bananas are good. Americans eat as many bananas as apples and oranges combined, according to banana sage Dan Koeppel. Less than 300 calories is also good, as Frappucinos can easily reach the 600- to 700-calorie range.

But is Starbucks a smoothie house? Not according to the barista blogger. "This isn’t Jamba Juice. This isn’t Smoothie King. This is Starbucks Coffee & Tea. Not Starbucks Coffee & Tea & Smoothies. Or I suppose Starbucks Coffee & Tea & Nourishing Blends."

What do you think? Would you grab a not-smoothie from Starbucks?

Read our review of the Starbucks Vivanno and a comparison to Jamba Juice Smoothies.