Two icons go head-to-head, but one is a poor man’s strawberry.

Starbucks has been going bananas for, well, bananas this past month, first giving us a Banana Brulee Frappuccino, and now, a Strawberry Banana Frappuccino.

Our reporter K. Masami was quick to try the new drink when it was released on 26 June, but after she tasted it, she got the feeling it was similar to something else she’d tasted before — the Strawberry Banana Soy Smoothie from 7-Eleven. To find out which one deserves your hard-earned yen, she decided to compare both drinks on the same day, and as it turns out, there’s one clear winner, so let’s begin the taste test with…

▼ …Starbucks’ Strawberry Banana Frappuccino.

Priced at 690 yen (US$4.29), this is a beautiful-looking drink, with the yellow banana pulp sauce in the base blending with the pink strawberry milk in the body to create a gradation in colour that conjures up images of a sunset on a tropical island.

The blend of flavours was just as impressive as the blend in colours, as the sweet-yet-tart strawberries paired well with the juicy, sweet, pulpy banana. It reminded Masami of the mixed juice beverages that are a specialty of Osaka — which also became a Frappuccino in Japan at one point in time — but as mentioned earlier, it also reminded Masami of something else.

▼ The Strawberry Banana Soy Smoothie from 7-Eleven.

At 306 yen, this drink is less than half the price of the Frappuccino, and as you can see, all the ingredients are visible in the cup, requiring customers to use the machine near the front counter to blend it all together.

▼ The main ingredients here are soy milk, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, and syrup.

Once the drink has been blended, it looks remarkably similar to the Frappuccino, with the shade of pink being pretty much identical. However, that’s where the similarities end, unfortunately, because although the drink is strong in banana flavour…

▼ …the taste of strawberry is incredibly subtle.

It’s also a lot thinner too, giving you less of a moreish mouthfeel, and less satisfaction as you drink it. In its defence, it’s a tasty drink that holds its own in the smoothie world, and it’s a lot closer to the mixed drinks that are popular in the Osaka area, but when it comes to dessert beverages, you just can’t beat the Frappuccino.

▼ Starbucks delivers bold notes of strawberry and banana, while 7-Eleven is heavy on the banana, making us crave more berry.

However, considering that the Frappuccino is over two times more expensive than the smoothie, you do get what you pay for. So if you’re craving a fruity drink on a budget, 7-Eleven isn’t a bad option, but for those with fatter wallets, Starbucks is the place to go.

▼ If you really want to indulge, you can pair your drink with Starbucks’ decadent Lemon Cube Cake (300 yen).

While the 7-Eleven smoothie is available indefinitely, the Starbucks Frappuccino will only be around for a limited time, until 9 July.

Related: Starbucks Japan, 7-Eleven Japan
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