Starbucks is back again with another attempt to confuse the public by coming out with more non-coffee products. Like the smoothies and Starbucks Breakfast Sandwiches, in store offerings of ice cream and salads (not to mention CDs and other non-music items), Starbucks has been trying to be more-than-a-coffee store for a long time.
Now Starbucks produces canned drinks, and has for a for a very long time, but this is their first foray into a non-coffee energy drink. Sorta. They have jumped on the green coffee bandwagon that seems to be going around, where they use the unroasted coffee bean to get energy as well as other healthy things, without even getting that coffee flavor. So this is a coffee drink, put out by a coffee store, that really has nothing at all to do with drinking coffee.
The can is actually quite pretty, going far away from their usual coffee laden brownish cans and going for a crisp and bright look, using a very rich color scheme to try to attract the female side of the energy drink market. Truthfully, they look more like they are in the Functional Beverage category than the energy drink category, steering clear of things like energy slogans and not listing the caffeine (grrrr).
The other bits are functionally done well, like double facing the can, using the new calorie tab to show their heaviness, and printing very cleanly even on the bare can itself. I like the overall design a lot, just bummed that they did not list caffeine content.
The Strawberry Lemonade Refresher came out of the can a nice pleasing purple color, which is not really the color I would assume from a strawberry lemonade drink. I really like lemonade drinks, so I was pretty excited to give this one a go. While I was not let down by the can, I was not totally impressed either. It is a nice lemonade drink, but forgetful too. The strawberry was the first thing to hit my mouth, and it was a pleasing and light flavor, like a strawberry seltzer water. The lemon took over, and it had a little more bite than I was expecting. I am not sure if that was from the lemonade, or rom the other ingredients they had in here.
There really was nothing that stood out from this drink, other than the slight bitter harshness that came from the stevia. The lemon was kinda weak, and the drink felt very light and airy. It by no menas was bad, but it was not good enough to really stand out either.
Nutritionally, they do have a good thing going. Refreshers uses stevia to get their sweet, a nice change from the usual sucralose/Ace-K concoction “light” drinks usually use. There are only 60 calories in a can, which is about half that of a similar soda. They use 25% juice in here, along with ginseng and B vitamins, although don’t go expecting a big energy boost.
The problem is that they are only using green coffee for their caffeine. This means that the content of actual energy this can give you is quite low. As a matter of fact, the 40-55mg of caffeine in here is barely worth making it onto my reviews, barely clocking in on my Diet Mountain Dew scale (drinks have to have as much caffeine as a diet mountain dew to get reviewed, with a few exceptions…). There is more caffeine goodness to be found in your half-caff soy chai latte than you can find in a Refresher.
In other words, do not go around expecting to feel a big buzz from these cute little cans. Get them for the taste and the cool cache you get from holding one as you bounce from office meeting to office meeting, just don’t expect it to be the thing keeping you from nodding off during the presentations.