Starbucks Refreshers are designed to be a fruity drink with a little bit of a coffee pick-me-up from green coffee extract. They are refreshing, both the drinks that are made in Starbucks stores and the lightly carbonated versions sold in grocery stores. I usually just pop the cans open and enjoy them as-is, but their fruity flavors make them a good candidate for mixing with other drinks – like tea, fruit juices and even spirits. Barman’s Journal created a half dozen delicious-sounding cocktails that all use one of the three Refreshers varieties as their base.
Pictured above is an Amaretto and Orange, made with a Starbucks Orange Melon Refresher, while pictured below is the Strawberry Basil Lemonade, made with a Starbucks Strawberry Lemonade Refresher. The drinks look gorgeous and sound delicious. I think I know what I’ll be serving at my next barbecue this summer!
This week, Starbucks launched their newest Refresher drink, a Valencia Orange Refresher. I remember that years ago, Starbucks had a Valencia Orange syrup that was used in mocha drinks as a staple in their stores. When I first heard about the new Refresher, I wondered if it meant that the Valencia orange syrup would be making a comeback. It doesn’t. The Refresher is made with a orange juice and green coffee extract concentrate (much like the other Refreshers), so it isn’t ideal for making mochas. It is, however, a very refreshing addition to the Refreshers lineup.
The drink has a strong sweet-tart orange flavor that reminds me a little bit of Tang – but in a good way. It has a little more punch to it than the lime refresher and isn’t quite as sweet as the hibiscus, putting it right in the middle as a drink that is both sweet and refreshing. I can attest to the fact that it is a great drink to have after a workout and I am definitely a fan. You can’t combine this with mocha, but you can combine the Refreshers base with their iced teas and Valencia Orange goes very well with Passion and Green tea if you’re looking for a little variety.
Coffee prices have been falling over the past several months, thanks to an abundant supply of both Arabica and Robusta beans. But bumper crops cannot be counted on long term, since it only takes one big setback to decimate entire crops in agriculture. Setbacks could include drought, flood, insects or fungus, which is the case right now in Central America. The fungus, known as coffee rust disease, is having a huge impact on arabica crops in most Central American countries and production is down as much as 20% this year. In countries like El Salvador, nearly 75% of plantations have been affected so far. The London-based International Coffee Organization reports that 70% of the crops in Guatemala have been impacted and over 60% in Costa Rica, so the impact in overall production could be even greater next year. This year, the problem is off-set by the bumper Arabica crops coming from South America, but the balance might not last long term, which could mean higher prices for consumers in only a short time.
After two years without any price increases, Starbucks has announced that they will be raising prices on some coffee drinks starting next week. The price increases will not affect all the drinks on the menu – only about 30% of the options – but the individual impact depends a lot on what you order. The price increases will not apply to venti and grande-sized brewed coffees or to Frappuccino drinks, but tall cups of brewed coffee will be going up, in some areas by as much as $.10.
One way to offset the price increases is to use reusable cups – like those that Starbucks sells for $1, as opposed to some pricier models – because they will save you $.10 per drink.