What is the best Starbucks Refresher? Top 15 ranked according to an ex-barista

Maddy Kinkead
Starbucks refreshers

Starbucks refreshers are the perfect thirst quencher for a hot day, and here’s a definitive ranking of the best ones, according to someone who used to work there.

Refreshers were introduced to Starbucks in 2008, and during my time working there, there was at least one new Refresher introduced with every seasonal menu change up, especially in Summer.

These drinks always come in fun colors, so are a big draw for people who like to post their Starbucks drinks on social media (everyone). On top of this, they are a great option if you’re not feeling coffee on a hot day.

Contents

What is a Starbucks Refresher?

Starbucks refreshers
Starbucks updates its Refresher menu regularly.

Refreshers come in 4 main forms: Standard Refreshers, frozen Refreshers, coconut milk Refreshers, and lemonades. They are essentially juice mixes, lemonade mixes, or juices mixed with coconut milk to create drinks that other brands would call a ‘cooler’.

Whilst Starbucks Frappuccinos is another great iced drink option from Starbucks, the Refreshers are definitely more “refreshing”, as it says in the name.

Note that Refreshers are not the same as Starbucks iced teas, and contrary to popular belief, they do actually contain caffeine. For example, the strawberry açai Refresher contains about a third of the caffeine that’s in an iced latte. This is due to the green coffee extract that is meant to give drinkers an energy boost without the taste of coffee.

Best Starbucks Refreshers ranked

In this list, I’ll only include the Refreshers that are currently available in the US. They do change up the Refresher menu quite regularly, so just check what’s available at your store before you order. Also remember that you can add syrups/lemonades etc and customize your Refresher, as with all Starbucks drinks.

15. Spicy dragonfruit

Starbucks spicy dragonfruit refresher
The spicy dragonfruit Refresher from Starbucks.

The new spicy range that Starbucks launched is a cool take on the food trend of adding spice to fruity drinks or food. That being said, the spiciness works better with the other fruit drinks in the spicy range. It’s not bad with the dragonfruit, but it’s definitely a required taste.

14. Pineapple passionfruit Starbucks Refresher

Pineapple and passionfruit is a flavor combination that you hope would be equal parts sweet and tangy, but full of flavor nonetheless. However, with this drink, the flavors are a little watered down. The lemonade version of this drink is really good, but as the standard Refreshers are made with water, this one just isn’t sweet enough. If you like something more subtle, this is a good choice for you.

13. Dragon drink Starbucks Refresher with Oleato Golden Foam

Starbucks dragon oleato refresher
The Oleato Refreshers are a recent addition.

The Oleato Golden Foam at Starbucks is cold foam made with vanilla and extra-virgin olive oil. This cold foam is available on some of their coffees for an Italian-inspired treat. Although this drink looks cool and has a fancy name, it’s A LOT. The flavors are pretty intense and are something you’ll either love or hate. It definitely doesn’t taste like anything you’ve had before.

12. Spicy Strawberry

The spicy strawberry is really good. The strawberry refresher itself is really sweet, so the little burst of heat is a flavor sensation. The drink is also made with lemonade, so you then get a little tang to finish things off. This drink has the complex flavors of a fancy cocktail that costs like $15 and will make you feel like you’re on vacation.

11. Spicy Pineapple

Spicy pineapple refresher
The pineapple flavors work well with the spicy heat.

The spicy pineapple is just slightly better than the strawberry. The flavor sensations are pretty similar with the heat, sweetness, and tanginess. However, the tropical flavors of the pineapple pair slightly better with the spiciness.

10. Paradise Drink

The Paradise Drink is the pineapple and passionfruit Refresher with coconut milk added. This flavor combination makes for a drink that tastes like if an orange creamsicle went on a Caribbean cruise. The coconut, pineapple, and passionfruit give it a pina colada vibe that’s perfect for summer. The name says it all.

9. Mango dragonfruit Starbucks Refresher

Starbucks mango dragonfruit refresher.
This drink has actual chunks of dragonfruit.

Dragonfruit is a pretty exotic fruit, so it’s cool to see actual pieces of the fruit in this drink. The drink is also a vibrant pink color that’s fun to take a photo of. On top of this, the taste is unique, however, the mango flavor is not that strong.

8. Frozen pineapple passionfruit lemonade Refresher

Everything tastes better when it’s in slush form, prove me wrong. These drinks are just the pineapple passionfruit lemonade blended and swirled with some strawberry puree, but they look really cool – and they taste even better.

7. Summer Skies Drink

Summer Skies Starbucks drink
This drink looks like a cloudless day.

The Summer Skies drink is part of the Summer Refreshers menu that was launched on May 7, 2024, this drink is made with berry-flavored juice, mixed with coconut milk and a raspberry-popping boba. This is a drink that looks like a cloudless Summer’s day and tastes like one too.

6. Summer-berry Starbucks Refresher

This drink is made with blueberry concentrate, water, and raspberry-popping boba. This drink is the standard version of the new Summer Refreshers and isn’t too sweet if you don’t want anything too overpowering.

5. Summer-berry lemonade Starbucks Refresher

Starbucks new summer drinks
Starbucks has introduced popping boba to its menu.

This one is pretty much the same as the standard Refresher, but it has lemonade instead of water. It gives the drink a stronger flavor with a tiny bit of tanginess, which makes it all the better.

4. Pink drink

The Pink Drink is the Refresher that made these drinks viral, and that’s why it comes in at number four. People may shrug this off as a drink for children because it tastes like strawberry milk – but who doesn’t like strawberry milk?

3. Dragon drink

Starbucks dragon drink.
The dragon drink is like a tropical Pink Drink.

This is just like The Pink Drink, but it’s made with mango dragonfruit concentrate and dragonfruit pieces – it’s like tropical-flavored milk and it tastes so good. It’s the perfect mix of refreshing and sweet and it looks great too.

2. Paradise drink Starbucks Refresher with Oleato Golden foam

This one is the paradise drink with the aforementioned vanilla and olive oil cold foam, which surprisingly works really well on this drink. With the coconut, pineapple, and vanilla flavors, it has a really complex flavor and the cold foam gives it a smoothie-like texture.

1. Strawberry açai Starbucks Refresher

Strawberry acai refresher
This is the best Starbucks Refresher.

Look, sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The Strawberry açai Refresher is the OG Starbucks Refresher and it tastes really good. It’s sweet, has whole strawberry pieces, and is like a more grown-up Pink Drink.

If you don’t feel like leaving the house, try making one of Starbucks’ most popular drinks at home. Just find an apron lying around (dye it green if you really want to commit), whip out your blender, and have the real thing practically anytime.