Do Starbucks Refreshers Have Caffeine? (A Detailed Guide)

do starbucks refreshers have caffeine
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One of the most popular drinks sold by Starbucks, other than coffee beverages, hot chocolate, and other cold brews, is their refreshers.

These drinks are available in many flavor and combinations to choose from.

Since these iced beverages are gaining popularity lately, many consumers often wonder if Starbucks refreshers have caffeine among their ingredients.

To answer this question, we have dug deeper into everything related to these sweet fruity drinks sold by the company and examined all their ingredients, including caffeine levels, so you can get your buzz and chill in the hot summer months!

What is a Starbucks Refresher Drink?

More than a decade ago, Starbucks launched a line of drinks containing real fruit juice and were slightly caffeinated by using green coffee extracts from arabica beans, called Refreshers.

These Starbucks drinks include natural, frozen, and dried fruits as their primary feature, making a perfect combination of fruits and caffeine to cool off on a hot day in summer.

Though all Starbucks refreshers are caffeinated, each drink’s caffeine depends on its flavor.

History of Starbucks Refreshers

On July 9, 2012, Starbucks introduced the refresher to the market, which became an instant hit across the later.

The first two drinks launched were Very Berry Hibiscus lemonade and Cool Lime. However, Strawberry acai base refreshers have also been around since Starbucks began, while many flavors have come and gone. Today, it is still available in three flavors.

What are the Different Starbucks Refresher Flavors?

There are currently nine different refresher flavor options on the Starbucks menu, although some will change over time, and holiday-themed refreshers are available every now and then.

The following are the most popular Starbucks refresher drinks available to date:

Starbucks’ Dragon Drink combines mango dragon fruit refresher base with coconut milk for a creamy and pink iced beverage with a unique texture and appearance. It is topped with natural freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces for a fruity finish.

Starbucks Mango Dragon fruit Refreshers consist of the same mango dragon fruit base, freeze-dried fruit pieces, and a lemonade variant. Many of the most popular refreshers are made with mango dragon fruit as a base.

Using the pineapple passion fruit refresher base, three flavors of Starbucks’ refreshers are made, each topped with freeze-dried pineapple.

Combining this pineapple passion fruit refresher base with coconut milk results in the Paradise Drink, which has quickly become a social media sensation since its release.

However, the company’s social media platforms led to the popularity of the Pink Drink, one of Starbucks’ first refreshers that have remained a mainstay for many years to date. This drink uses coconut milk and Starbucks strawberry acai as its base.

Nine Starbucks refresher options are made using three flavor variations of this strawberry acai base, including both Strawberry Acai and Strawberry Acai refreshers. The Starbucks refresher caffeine actually comes from these bases.

What are the Ingredients Used in Starbucks Refreshers?

The ingredients used in the refresher drinks are the primary features that set these drinks apart from other typical Starbucks beverages. 

The entire line of these drinks consists of a natural fruit juice base, frozen-dried fruit pieces, and green coffee extract from unroasted arabica beans.

The fruit inclusions give these drinks their exotic, tasty texture and flavor, enhanced by the fruit juice base.

Moreover, all the different variations in the Starbucks refresher drinks are made by adding coconut milk to the base for a creamy texture or lemonade instead of regular water to make a fruity chiller!

Do Starbucks Refreshers Have Caffeine in Them?

Several people are confused about Starbucks refreshers because of two common misconceptions.

First, the Starbucks refreshers’ caffeine content is zero, and second: even if the refreshers have caffeine, it is due to the use of iced tea while making the drinks. 

Nevertheless, both of them are wrong!

The truth is that all Starbucks refreshers consist of a small amount of caffeine, which entirely depends on the flavor and variation of the beverage you have ordered, and of course, the cup size!

However, the caffeine content in these refreshers is much lesser than a regular Starbucks coffee.

How Does a Starbucks Refresher Get Caffeine?

A Starbucks refresher caffeine comes from the green coffee bean extracts.

It is derived from unroasted green coffee beans containing higher levels of chlorogenic acid. This acid is a natural compound with benefits like anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects.

However, most content of this compound is often lost when the beans are roasted, thus getting a higher caffeine content.

For this reason, Starbucks refresher drinks taste different with low caffeine, and nothing like other regular Starbucks drinks. So, if you have yet to try a refresher, it is now time because it is not your typical coffee drink!

How Much Caffeine is There in a Starbucks Refresher?

If you are wondering how much caffeine is there in a refresher drink at Starbucks, then here is your answer.

All refresher drinks contain the same caffeine content in them. However, it mostly depends on the cup size you are ordering.

For example, if you order a tall refresher cup (12 fl oz), the caffeine content in it will be 35 mg, whereas a Grande (16 fl oz) Starbucks refresher size contains 45 mg of caffeine.

Moreover, the Venti (20-24 fl oz) cup size has around 70-85 mg of caffeine, and the Trenta (31 fl oz) has approximately 90-110 mg of caffeine.

For a better understanding, let’s go through the following table showing the caffeine content for each Starbucks refresher flavor.

Orange Mango Refresher Caffeine: 50 mg per 12 fl oz.

Strawberry Acai Refresher Caffeine: 45 mg per 12 fl oz.

Coconut Watermelon Refresher Caffeine: 30 mg per 12 fl oz.

Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher Caffeine: 30 mg per 12 fl oz.

Raspberry Pomegranate Refresher Caffeine: 50 mg per 12 fl oz.

However, the average amount of caffeine in a Starbucks refresher drink is up to 45 mg per 12 ounces, which is the standard for most flavors available.

Also, canned Starbucks refresher beverages are available in the market with a caffeine content of 50 mg and come in a standard size of 12 ounces only.

Are These Refreshers Healthy?

Caffeine consumption should be within safe limits when drinking any beverage. Unlike many other caffeinated drinks, Starbucks refreshers use all-natural ingredients with no added sugar.

As a whole, Starbucks refreshers provide a healthy and delicious way to cool off. For example, the 12-ounce Starbucks refresher size of Strawberry acai contains only 50 calories, while the very berry hibiscus refresher has 70 calories.

Also, the green coffee bean extracts have their own healthy benefits, as discussed earlier.

The caffeine level of these treats varies based on the flavor, but plenty of caffeine-free and low-calorie alternatives are also available.

Are There Any Alternatives to Starbucks Refreshers?

If you are looking for caffeine-free refresher alternatives, it may not be the best option to go through.

However, Starbucks offers some excellent caffeine-free alternatives on its menu besides its line of refreshers. They are:

  • Iced Passion Tango Tea
  • Caramel Apple Spice
  • Blended Strawberry Lemonade
  • Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
  • Vanilla Creme
  • Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • The Classic Lemonade

Besides these, you can always order plain steamed milk, fruit juice, steamed apple juice, hot chocolate and cold milk too!

The Bottom Line

It is true that Starbucks Refreshers contain caffeine, even though it is lower than brewed beans and used in a deficient quantity than in Starbucks’ other coffee drinks.

But, how much caffeine is there in each drink depends on the cup size and flavor of the refresher you are ordering. For example, The Starbucks Grande, the medium size, has only 45 mg of caffeine, regardless of whether you get a Star Drink or Dragon Drink. There are also several options for a caffeine-free experience.

So, Get out there and take a sip from a refreshing drink with low caffeine and exotic flavors extracted from real fruit juices!


Should children be allowed to drink Starbucks refreshers?

Caffeine is often hiding in tea, coffee, or matcha-based products, so don’t assume that everything on the Starbucks refresher menu is suitable for children just because it looks pretty and colorful.

However, there is no law preventing children from having a refresher. So, if your child really wants it, go for the Pink Drink with strawberry acai base, coconut milk, and freeze-dried fruit pieces on top.

Which is the most caffeinated Starbucks refresher?

The canned refreshers from Starbucks contain the highest amount of caffeine, 50 mg per 12 oz. However, besides the canned drinks, the Strawberry Acai Refresher contains the most caffeine out of all the Starbucks refreshers (45 mg per 12 oz), depending on the cup size you order.

Which one is the healthiest Starbucks refresher drink?

The very berry hibiscus is the healthiest refresher available at Starbucks. This light pink fruity beverage is a perfect chiller in summer, with zero grams of fat and only 70 calories in a 12-oz Grande serving.

Do refreshers have more caffeine content than coffee?

There is a common misconception that Refreshers contain more caffeine than coffee, but it is essential to investigate further before making assumptions. Compared to Starbucks Grande Iced Coffee and Cold Brew of equal size, you’ll find only 45 mg of caffeine in a 12-oz Refresher, which is less than half of a cup of coffee, containing 165-205 mg of caffeine, respectively!

Can you order a refresher without caffeine?

Caffeine-free refreshers are available at Starbucks – perfect for those who don’t drink caffeine! Tempt your taste buds with iced passion tango tea or blended strawberry lemonade. Traditional lemonade is also available for those who prefer a classic refreshment.

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