Starbucks, as well as other large food companies, is always test marketing new products to see how customers respond to them. It’s much easier to roll out a new idea to just a few key stores, rather than put it into every cafe without knowing how well it will do. I’ve seen examples of this before, but it’s hard to find the test market products because they’re never advertised. Fortunately, I was out on a bit of a road trip in Southern California recently and discovered one of them: new Starbucks Frappuccino Smoothies at a store in Moorpark, CA.
The smoothies are said to be made with nonfat yogurt, real fruit and have a yogurt whipped topping on them, and they’re available in Strawberry and Mango-Passionfruit. The smoothies are thicker than regular frappuccinos, much more like a Jamba Juice drink. They’re not too sweet, very refreshing and have a great fruit flavor, with a hint of yogurt to give it some richness. I particularly liked tropical Mango Passionfruit, though I’m always a sucker for that flavor combination. The whipped topping was made in the same iSi whipped cream canisters that they use for the regular whipped cream. It had a light, tangy yogurt flavor and the ultra-fluffy texture of whipped cream. It was the perfect topping for a smoothie (which I couldn’t see topping with regular whipped cream) because it tied in very well with the fruity drink and had a nice light, healthy feel to it.
I don’t know if these will make it to the regular menu or not, so we’ll have to wait and see next summer, but they’re a great summer drink and a very refreshing alternative to coffee on a hot day. I’ll be back for another, and I’ll definitely take it with the yogurt whipped topping.