Taste Test: Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal vs. Jamba Juice Oatmeal

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If your training lifestyle doesn’t leave a lot of time to make a gourmet breakfast every morning, you likely find yourself constantly getting breakfast on the go. Triathlete editor Brad Culp compares oatmeal from two of America’s favorite morning quick stops.

We had no idea that Jamba Juice had it out for Starbucks. The coffee giant released its Perfect (albeit instant) Oatmeal late last year, and now Jamba Juice has fired back with its own slow-cooked version. As an overly-caffeinated health nut, I frequent both places. After sampling oats from multiple locations of both franchises, I’m ready to declare a winner in the oatmeal war of 2009.

•    Price: $2.45
•    Calories: 140-300 (depending on toppings)
•    Protein: 5 grams
•    Fiber: 4 grams
•    Pros: Given Starbucks’ commitment to fast service, we’re not surprised that it has opted to offer instant oatmeal. It’s an easy way for it to offer something healthy without slowing down the rest of its operation. It’s a healthy fix on the run and the toppings (dried fruit, nuts, brown sugar) help you forget you’re eating instant oatmeal.
•    Cons: You really don’t get a whole lot, and as mentioned before, it’s the same instant oatmeal Quaker offers up for roughly 20 cents per serving.

Jamba Juice
•    Price: $2.95
•    Calories: 280-290
•    Protein: 8 grams
•    Fiber: 6 grams
•    Pros: You get real slow-cooked, steel-cut oats. This is what people ate before microwaves. The texture is certainly more pleasing, and the toppings (mashed berries, apple-cinnamon mix, fresh bananas with brown sugar) compliment the oatmeal better than the add-ons at Starbucks. Jamba claims the serving size is only one fluid ounce, but the baristas typically scoop in quite a bit more. You definitely get a bigger bowl at Jamba than Starbucks.
•    Cons: Our only knock against Jamba’s version is that it costs an extra 50 cents, and the baristas at the juicery have way too much energy early in the morning.

The Verdict: Jamba Juice wins a landslide victory.

If Starbucks’ oatmeal is “perfect,” then Jamba’s offering is better than perfect, and I’m not really sure what the word for that is. (Perfecter?) That said, the idea of paying two or three bucks for a small cup of oats is ridiculous to begin with. Three dollars will buy you a lifetime supply of oats at Costco.

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