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Choices overwhelmed my senses as I stepped into the Loveland Mountain View location of Inta Juice, a Colorado franchise with 11 units. Six screens displayed choices in different categories: Bowls, Power Up (protein), Berry Patch, Island Paradise, Pucker Up, Veggie Blends and Classic Favorites. With no one else in the store at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, we took our time picking and wished there were some options that included coffee to keep us awake for the hours of driving that loomed ahead of us on our road trip back to Minneapolis. We snagged The Islander—a sweet concoction of guava juice, mango, peach and honey—and Paleo Strawberry Mango with coconut milk, ginger and honey, swapping the bananas for blueberries. Turns out, the sweetness and texture probably took a hit by nixing the banana; the Paleo was bland and chunky compared to The Islander, which was blended perfectly smooth. The ginger added an odd taste and a noticeable grittiness that didn’t seem to fit into the flavor profile.

The upshot: 16-ounce smoothies for $5.25 seems like a pretty good deal, but the hit-or-miss tastes and textures, coupled with squeaky Styrofoam cups, need some work to turn this small chain into a hit. —C.E.


Focus Brands undertook an evolution of Jamba after acquiring it in 2018, first dropping “Juice” from its name and later expanding the menu with plant-based options and reduced sugar selections. Its classic menu remains, and the Orange Dream Machine was the favorite on a recent visit to one of Jamba’s Minneapolis area stores. Rich in orange flavor, it’s reminiscent of those orange Flintstones Push-Up Pops. Among the newer options is the Go Getter, a plant-based drink with matcha green tea, vegetables and fruit juice. What you see is what you get: it has a sweetness but the vegetable/plant taste is evident and perhaps better suited as a meal replacement than snack. Also under the health umbrella is a peanut butter plus banana and whey protein option. The peanut butter flavor is pronounced, and with 42 grams of protein in a small, it’s a solid drink to get after a workout.

The upshot: Working on its perception as a lifestyle brand, Jamba is straddling the line between snack and meal replacement, with options for both. The drinks were between $6.29 and $7.29, prices that reflect the more premium ingredients. —M.L.


I’m a huge fan of the juice craze—so many crazy concoctions and wild flavors to try. While some taste like the inside of a lawnmower, others are so surprising and delicious they make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Clean Juice is solidly among the latter. I got two juices for me and my wife, The Energy One and The Wakeup One. As might be apparent, the baby had not slept well the night before. The Wakeup One was a wonderful and summery blend of ginger, lemon and orange. The Energy One, a fresh blend of beets, carrot, apple, celery, ginger and orange, was well balanced and tasted exceptionally fresh. But oof, at $11 apiece it was as much as a fast-casual entrée. The cold-pressed juices are slightly more approachable at $7.95. Adding some food, it was quite a ticket for lunch. The Nutty Bowl, an acai bowl with fresh fruit and granola, was $13.95, and the avocado toast was $7.95.

The upshot: Would I go back for the fancy juice? Maybe not, unless it’s on the company card. But the cold-pressed juice and that avocado toast, which was incredible, could create a repeat customer. —N.U.

Matthew Liedke is the senior writer for the Franchise Times. He has a decade of experience in journalism and has extensively covered business and economic development as a reporter.