Saving the planet, one banana at a time…

Japan has been upping its game when it comes to preventing food loss in recent years, and Starbucks is joining the trend with its latest collection of limited-edition menu items, made with “Mottainai Bananas” (“Wasteful Bananas“).

Image: Starbucks Press Release

These bananas get their name from the fact that they would otherwise go to waste, because despite being good to eat, the outside of the fruit has been bumped and bruised, making them unsuitable for normal retail sale. By using these bananas to create a new Frappuccino and two new sweets, Starbucks says it will be able to save three million bananas, which is a great result for farmers, distributors, and customers.

Our reporter Anji Tabata is always happy to do what she can to save the planet, so being able to do that while filling her belly sounded like something that was right up her street. She popped by her local branch of the chain soon after the range was released on 29 May, and decided to try the entire bunch, starting with the Banana Brulee Frappuccino.

▼ The Banana Brulee Frappuccino is priced at 678 yen (US$4.33) for takeout or 690 yen for dine-in.

This beverage combines a pulp-filled banana sauce with almond milk and caramel sauce, and throws in some brulee chips for crunchy contrast.

▼ The whipped cream and burnt caramel sauce on top gives it a wonderfully caramelised, brulee-like flavour.

You can really taste the rich sweetness of ripe bananas in this Frappuccino, with hints of caramel providing the perfect amount of bitterness. The almond milk has a nuttiness that’s well suited to the fruit, but what Anji really fell in love with was the aftertaste, because though the drink was rich and fruity, it had a light and refreshing finish.

▼ That light finish meant she had plenty of room for dessert, starting with the Banana Rice Flour Muffin (priced at 285 yen for takeout or 290 yen for dine-in).

The muffin had a warm and gentle flavour that was simple but delicious, with a homemade feel. The rice flour gave it a richness while the ripe bananas provided sweetness, creating a tasty treat that felt healthier and lighter than most other sweets on the menu.

▼ Those wanting a slightly more decadent treat will be happy with the Banana Rice Flour Roll Cake (priced at 437 yen for takeout or 445 yen for dine-in)

Wonderfully light and fluffy, this cake has a delightful texture that’s further enhanced by the smooth and creamy filling. The banana flavour stood out strong in the roll, washing over the taste buds with so much goodness that Anji wanted to eat an entire slab of them.

For a banana lover like Anji, all three treats were heavenly, and being able to eat them all together in one sitting was pure bliss. She highly recommends giving them a try while they’re on the menu until 9 July, and if you’re a strawberry lover, Starbucks has a treat for you too!

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