Smoothies are hot these days, especially when they involve a generous dose of pure fruit and vegetable juices or Greek-style yogurt. Smoothies, of course, have gone in and out of style over the past few decades, but this particular wave of popularity is a strong one. It is so strong that Starbucks decided to test market a brand new menu item to capitolize on the smoothie craze: Evolution Fresh Smoothies. Starbucks already owns Evolution Fresh, a juice company that specializes in fresh-pressed juices made with fruits and vegetables, and has been selling their bottled juice products in their cold case for several years. It was a natural next step to bring a version of the juices to the menu board.
The Evolution Fresh Smoothies are made from a blend of fresh-pressed juices and Dannon Greek yogurt for a low sugar, high nutrient smoothie that will still be as refreshing as a Frappuccino on a hot day. The smoothies come in three flavors: Sweet Greens, “a fruit and vegetable-based Cold-Pressed Juice Smoothie with a hint of mango and banana”; Strawberry, a fruit-based smoothie with strawberries, apple and banana; and Mango Carrot, a “fruit and vegetable-based Cold-Pressed Juice Smoothie with a hint of pineapple.” All of the smoothies can be further boosted with protein powder or kale powder (yes, kale).
These smoothies are being test marketed in quite a few cities right now and I stopped by a local Starbucks to give them a try. I picked up the Strawberry and the Mango-Carrot versions, as I decided I wanted to ease my way into the green drink.
The strawberry smoothie had a nice hint of yogurt and a good strawberry flavor, though it was not particularly sweet and a bit of additional sugar would have helped the berry pop more. It was creamy and smooth, so not a bad choice for a strawberry fan. The mango-carrot smoothie had a really nice floral, mango flavor complimented by carrot juice, which is surprisingly sweet. It was a bit more flavorful than the strawberry smoothie and had just enough carrot flavor to remind you that you were drinking something healthy, not a milkshake. As a mango fan myself, I’d pick this smoothie again the next time I feel like something fruity.
The drinks are good, but pricey, and a more interesting alternative to the pre-bottled juice for those seeking a sweet, fruity fix. Still, I can’t help but think about how amazing Sorbetto was when I try a yogurt-based drink at Starbucks and think that these smoothies would be a lot better if they had a touch of that yogurt tang to them. The drinks are also on the pricey side ($5.95 in my area), so I’ll be curious to see if they catch on as the test run continues.