The biggest Starbucks fans know that Starbucks is about WAY more than just coffee.
Over the past two decades, the world-famous cafe chain has been expanding not only geographically, but in big ways with their menu as well.
You could argue this all began with Starbucks’ acquisition of beloved tea company Teavana back in December of 2012, with the company announcing major plans to expand the well-known brand into packaged tea products in 2018.
The past decade has also seen a huge expansion in food products being offered by Starbucks.
But let’s be honest, what most of us love most about Starbucks is their constant innovation on their drinks menu.
Whether it’s seasonal coffee-based drinks or its ever-expanding list of Starbucks Refreshers, there’s almost always something new and delicious to try at Starbucks.
As great as that is, it can also make these drinks hard to keep track of!
So to fix that, we’ve compiled this list of the best Starbucks refreshers you can get your hands on (and some you can’t)—both on the menu and off (the so-called secret menu drinks).
Let’s dive in and sample the best of Starbucks’ refresher drinks.
What is a Starbucks Refresher Drink?
Starbucks refreshers are cold drinks that combine real fruit juice, green coffee extract, natural flavors and freeze dried fruit over ice, served in Starbucks’ typical clear plastic to-go cups (or your own clean reusable one!).
They are in fact a lightly caffeinated drink, coming in at around 45 mg of caffeine in each one.
The refresher drinks we’re talking about here should also not be confused with the canned Starbucks Refreshers energy drinks that go by the same name.
These, too, are based on green coffee extract instead of actual brewed roasted coffee, but they come in their own unique (often simplified) flavors.
While they’re only moderately caffeinated and forgivingly low in calories, they do tend to be quite high in sugar content.
What Were The First Starbucks Refreshers?
The Starbucks Refresher got its start in the world back in 2012, when the company introduced the first 2 versions: the Very Berry Hibiscus refresher and Cool Lime.
Cool Lime had a bit of a fresher-tasting Mountain Dew or decarbonated Sprite flavor vibe going on, while the Very Berry Hibiscus refresher was a fruit juice infused instant favorite, complete with sangria-style freeze dried fruit mixed in.
Sadly, both of these original flavors are now discontinued, but on the positive side, Starbucks refreshers have come a long way.
There are now more varieties than ever, and some of the newer flavors are absolutely delicious.
Our List of the Best Starbucks Refreshers
As coffee geeks, we tend to seek out and try any and every new coffee-based beverage we can get our hands on.
Starbucks refreshers are no different, and we find they’re a fantastic choice on hot days or later in the afternoon when loading up on coffee (or the much higher caffeine content) isn’t what we’re looking for.
Thanks to our affection for these genuinely refreshing freeze dried fruit-infused cold drinks, we’re able to give you our list of the best Starbucks refreshers out there:
1. Mango Dragonfruit Refresher
The Mango Dragonfruit refresher—as well as its sibling the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade refresher—is a tropical-themed drink based on fruits native to Southeast Asia and other tropical regions.
While it’s based on both fruits, its vibrant pink color is distinctively dragonfruit-esque, and it will definitely make you feel like you’re taking a moment to relax on the beach.
Not to be confused with the Dragon Drink, this Starbucks refresher has pieces of real freeze dried dragonfruit mixed in to it.
2. Paradise Drink Starbucks Refresher
This is one of the newest Starbucks Refresher to make the menu—and despite sounding like it came from social media or the secret menu, it’s actually a purely official menu item.
This one also has a great tropical flavor, albeit one that’s a lot tangier and creamier than the Mango Dragonfruit refresher above.
It’s made with a blend of pineapple and passionfruit mixed with coconut milk and topped with real diced pineapple.
Some say the taste reminds them a bit of iced passion tango tea, although this green coffee extract-based beverage is definitely not to be confused with that.
3. Strawberry Açaí Refresher
This and its sister, the Strawberry Lemonade Açaí refresher, are kind of the spiritual successor to the beloved Very Berry Hibiscus refresher that’s no longer on the menu.
As the name suggests, it’s based on a blend of strawberry acai, shaken over ice with freeze-dried strawberry pieces mixed in.
As berry lovers, acai refresher might very well be our favorite.
Go for the lemonade Açaí refresher version if you’re craving a bit of citrusy tang in your drink.
4. Pineapple Passionfruit
Another one with a lemonade-based evil twin, the Pineapple Passionfruit refresher along with the Pineapple Passionate Lemonade refresher drinks are basically the Paradise Drink minus the coconut milk.
Other than that, the ingredients are pretty much identical, featuring a pineapple passionfruit blend over ice, topped off with freeze dried pineapple pieces.
Another great option for a tropical getaway in a cup, which we personally prefer a bit since it has a lighter, thinner texture without the coconut milk.
It’s worth pointing out that this version without coconut milk saves you 40 calories, 4g of sugar and zeroes grams out the fat.
So if you want a healthier or more diet-friendly option with less sugar, without coconut milk, the Pineapple Passionfruit refresher or Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade refresher are your friends.
Coffee Geek Hack
For some extra flavors or a personalized spin on this Starbucks refresher, try adding some peach juice or vanilla sweet cream cold foam to the mix. It’s divine!
5. Pink Drink Starfruit Refresher
The Pink Drink is perhaps one of the most sensational and famous items on Starbucks’ menu, because it in fact started out as one of the many unofficial secret menu drinks that got its start as a viral social media creation.
Now an official menu item, starfruit refresher is easy to order by anyone.
And it’s worth ordering, too, because it went viral for good reason!
Starfruit refresher uses a Strawberry Acai refresher base (most secret menu refresher drinks use standard Starbucks refreshers as base ingredients), and adds passionfruit and coconut milk into a creamy and fruit refresher juice mix topped with real freeze-dried fruit.
Coffee Geek Hack
Try adding some raspberry syrup or ask for extra freeze-dried fruit to make your Pink Drink really burst with berry flavor!
6. Dragon Drink Starbucks Fruit Refresher
The Dragon Drink is to the Mango Dragonfruit refresher what the Paradise Drink is to the Pineapple Passionfruit refresher.
That is to say, it’s based on the same fruit refresher juice and freeze-dried fruit as the Mango Dragonfruit refresher (mango and dragonfruit, to be clear), but with added coconut milk.
The difference amounts to more than you may think, with the coconut milk going a long way to turn the beverage into a creamy treat that tastes very much like its own beverage.
Coffee Geek Hack
For this drrink, don’t be afraid to go nuts with extra flavors. We love ours with an extra infusion of strawberry acai refresher!
What About Secret Menu Drinks?
Starbucks lovers buzz all the time about the famous top “secret menu” at Starbucks, and all the wild and out-there drinks one can order if they’re “in the know.”
The truth is perhaps a little less glamorous, but nonetheless the secret menu does in fact exist. Sort of.
Starbucks’ secret menu refreshers and other beverages are really just highly customized versions of regular menu drinks.
They often start as social media trends or go viral after someone shares their own personal recipe.
Some of these beverages are so heavily modified that they no longer even resemble their original drink, making them truly a separate beverage option instead of just a personalized twist on a standard.
There have been multiple cases of Starbucks actually “promoting” secret menu creations to official menu items (like the Pink Drink we list below!), so in very significant sense, the secret menu is a very real thing.
On the other hand, there is no actual secret menu containing unofficial drink items, so asking your Starbucks barista for a secret menu item by the name it goes by on social is far more likely to get you a look of innocent confusion (or understandable annoyance) than the drink itself.
Because these drinks are effectively standard drinks modified using lots of customizations, the best way to order them is by asking for the drink it’s based on, and requesting the customizations that make it what it is.
If you do it that way your barista will thank you, and you’ll have full access to the entire secret menu and everything on it.
Our Favorite Secret Menu Drinks Based On Starbucks Refreshers
The Matcha Pink Drink
We’re adding this drink to the list because it’s very out there and frankly, not so great. It’s kind of proof that not all trendy “secret” menu items are good or worth ordering.
For this Frankenstein, you start with a Pink Drink and as for vanilla sweet cream cold foam to be mixed with matcha, which then tops the drink in a strange but undeniably creative concoction.
The Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Pink Drink
This one is pretty straightforward refreshers beverage. It’s essentially a Pink Drink topped with chocolate cold foam, although back when the drink first became popular Starbucks didn’t offer chocolate foam, so the original was made with vanilla sweet cream cold foam mixed with mocha sauce.
Rose Gold Refresher
Uses fully-concentrated Mango Dragonfruit lemonade base plus raspberry syrup AND peach juice (wow).
It’s full of wild fruit flavors and a truckload of sugar, but it sure is pretty!
To Summarize: Ordering the Best Refreshers at Starbucks
Starbucks refreshers beverage have come a long way since the humble days in 2012 of the Very Berry Hibiscus refresher and Cool Lime refresher drinks.
Nowadays there’s an entire spectrum of top passion fruit flavor options and real freeze-dried fruit you can add to your green coffee extract concoction to make it something special.
Whether you modify your Starbucks refresher or leave it as-is, we find they’re all deliciously refreshing, mildly caffeinated ways to cool down and get a little burst of energy pretty much any time of day and all year round.
Got a favorite secret menu best refresher? Tell us about it!