Product Review: Starbucks Banana Frappuccino

Starbucks features a new Frappuccino flavoring this summer, as an addition to their iced drinks and blended coffee beverages selections. The Banana Frappuccino is a fresh and tasty addition to the Starbucks lineup, and offers a tropical taste for the season. In contrast to the traditional mocha, caramel, and original Frappuccinos, the banana flavor hit all stores earlier this summer and has gained fans of non-Frappuccino drinkers and smoothie lovers alike. The promotion is planned to run through August 2006.

I came across the Banana Frappuccino after visiting a local Starbucks in search of a fruit-based smoothie. I was surprised to learn that it is made of a real banana puree; the two featured drinks are a Banana Coconut Frappuccino which consists of blended coffee, coconut, milk, and ice; and the Bananas & Creme Frappuccino Blended Cr�¨me consisting of banana puree, milk, ice, and The difference? The blended coffee is similar in taste and consistency of any of the original mocha/caramel frappuccinos, while the Bananas & Cr�¨me blended version is a lot more like a smoothie (no coffee). The recent Strawberry Cr�¨me blended drink is another favorite of mine, as it is a great alternative to coffee-based drinks on a summer day or evening.

Both drinks can be topped with whipped cream, and the Banana Coconut Frappuccino has toasted coconut flakes sprinkled on the top. The Banana Blended CrÃ?¨me is better without the whipped cream, as it is basically a smoothie. After trying both, I decided to create a few variations; my group of coffee-loving friends were happy to oblige to a ‘taste test’ right in the store.

We proceeded with the following combinations and flavors:

âÂ?¢ adding extra mocha syrup for a ‘Chocolate Monkey’; many Starbucks locations do have a Banana Mocha Frappuccino item on their menu
â�¢ Combining the Strawberry cr�¨me with banana for a Strawberry-Banana smoothie (this was a hit)
âÂ?¢ Adding an extra shot of espresso to the Frappuccino for a ‘Banana Slammer’
â�¢ Adding vanilla flavoring to the Cr�¨me blend: this created a tasty vanilla-cr�¨me style drink, almost like a real milkshake

Now, all monkeying aside, do be warned about the nutrition facts for these tasty treats. The 20oz. Venti Banana Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream ranks in at a heart-stopping 720 calories and 11 grams of fat. It’s comparable to a fast-food sandwich (or more) , so if you can handle passing on physical food for the afternoon, you will fare well with this choice. Keep in mind that these drinks are sugar-based, and have caffeine additions; chocolate, pure sugar, and milk are the main components, as well as generous helpings of whipped cream. There are, however, a couple of alternative choices: Bananas & Creme Frappuccino Blended Creme, w/ whip (Grande) ranks in at 550 calories, 15g fat, and you can request the Banana Caramel Frappuccino in a ‘Light’ version with no whipped cream for 310 calories and only 1 gram of fat.

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