Bear Bites: Starbucks Debuts New Summer Drinks

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With summer right around the corner, Starbucks has introduced both a spicy take on their original three refresher flavors as well as a new flavor and topping altogether. Spicy and boba refreshers both seem like odd flavors, so we tried them to see if they were worth their money. 

The spicy new take on three popular fruity refreshers infuses their tasty fresh flavor with a three-pepper chili blend. It is an unconventional move for Starbucks, which rarely balances out its drinks’ sugar content.

Spicy Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher: 5/10

This drink combines the soft sweet flavor of dragonfruit with a punch from the chili. The spice of the drink was shocking at first and overpowered the dragonfruit a bit too much due to the fruit’s mild flavor. The flavor overall tasted a bit strange, but we’re also not huge dragonfruit fans. 

Spicy Strawberry Lemonade Refresher: 7/10

As die-hard fans of the regular strawberry lemonade refresher, we were excited to try this version of it. At first sip, it tasted a bit too spicy but had a flavorful aftertaste once the strawberry blended with the chili. It was an odd flavor combo, but we enjoyed it after we got used to it. Still, we’ll be sticking to ordering regular strawberry refreshers in the future. 

Spicy Pineapple Lemonade Refresher: 9/10

The pineapple was very tasty and fresh, and the spicy chili flavor meshed very well with the sweet flavor of the fruit. The drink makes you feel like you’re sipping a refreshing mocktail while lying by the beach on a hot summer day. 

The Summer-Berry Starbucks Refresher, Summer-Berry Lemonade Starbucks Refresher, and Summer Skies Drink hit menus on May 7, featuring colorful, raspberry-flavored “popping boba pearls” at the bottom.

Summer-Berry Starbucks Refresher: 3/10

The first thing we noticed about this drink was its overwhelming sweetness. Unfortunately, despite its headache-inducing sweetness, it didn’t have a lot of depth in terms of flavor; it tasted like a blue Jolly Rancher dissolved in cold water. In addition to that, the large boba straw didn’t fit through the top of the plastic cup, so in order to taste the drink in all its boba glory, we had to remove the lid completely, which took from the experience as a whole. The boba itself was just as mediocre as the drink itself, its hues of raspberry adding a little bit more flavor to the drink. Overall, while the creativity of this drink doesn’t go unnoticed, we wouldn’t order it again. 

Summer-Berry Lemonade Starbucks Refresher: 8/10

Once lemonade is added, the Summer-Berry Refresher has the depth and flavor profile to make it enjoyable. The lemonade perfectly pairs with the blended notes of blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry, making each sip taste like a warm summer night. The raspberry boba, however, slightly ruins the drink, adding an overwhelming amount of texture and artificial flavor. Overall, the drink is a definite level up from its plain refresher base, however only truly worth ordering if you do so without the boba.

Summer Skies Drink: 5.6/10

The Summer Skies Drink takes the Summer-Berry Refresher base and pairs it with coconut milk, similar to the famous Starbucks Pink Drink that’s been blessing the souls of Middle Schoolers for years now. The coconut milk compliments the berry notes of the refresher base surprisingly well, reminiscent of a tropical drink or (virgin!) piña colada. However, the drink quickly got too rich and the coconut milk became too overpowering. Overall, this drink was good in moderation. While we would order it again, we definitely wouldn’t get any size larger than a grande. 

These drinks might not be for everyone, but we mostly enjoyed them. When ordering spicy drinks, be sure to mix the chili powder so you don’t get hit with bigger chunks of spice. Still, all of these refreshers would be a great option to spice up a hot summer’s day!

Kate is a senior at M-A. She enjoys talking to people and hopes to write stories in which she can represent multiple groups and perspectives around campus. In her free time, she likes to read, play volleyball, run track, and spend time with friends.

Kitty is a junior at M-A and this is her first year of journalism. She hopes to write about events and culture at M-A and the community. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and is on the dance team.

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