Category Archives: Refreshers

New: Via Ready Brew Valencia Orange Refreshers. (Refreshers Happy Hour Begins Tomorrow).

Starbucks Valencia Orange Refreshers - Via Ready BrewAs of June 25th, Starbucks began offering a new Refreshers Via Ready Brew – it is the Valencia Orange Refreshers Via.  There is a handcrafted version of the same in Starbucks stores.  I assume it will be popular!  I am not home in Seattle at the moment, and haven’t actually had the chance to try the Via version, but I do like the handcrafted Valencia Orange Refreshers.

For those readers not familiar with “Via Ready Brew,”  those are the little sachets with a powder in them.  You add water at home to make your wonderful Refreshers.  The “handcrafted” Refreshers are those that your baristas make for you at your neighborhood Starbucks stores.

Currently, there are three flavors of the handcrafted Refreshers:  Cool Lime, Very Berry Hibiscus, and Valencia Orange.  You can order any of those three flavors at your neighborhood Starbucks store.  If you want to try these handcrafted beverages, you can buy them for half price June 27 through June 29, from 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m.

There are four flavors of the Refreshers Via Ready Brew:  You can find the new Valencia Orange in Starbucks stores.  Also, in Starbucks stores everywhere are the Cool Lime Refreshers and Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers.  Starbucks also produces a Strawberry Lemonade Refreshers Via Ready Brew, but it is considered a “CPG” (“Consumer Packaged Goods”)  item only, meaning that you’ll only find it in grocery stores, and not at your local Starbucks.  (The Strawberry Lemonade Refreshers are a bit hard to find.  I’m not sure if it is being phased out, but it is really good.  If you can find it, give it a try!)

The hallmark of all the Refreshers is that they have a green coffee extract in them, meaning that the Refreshers have a little caffeine in them – it’s just a little bit more caffeine than if you were ordering an iced black tea at Starbucks.  They are nice cold, refreshing drink for a hot summer day!

Enjoy Refreshers Happy Hour starting tomorrow!  That’s June 27th through the 29th, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at participating Starbucks.

Valencia Orange Via Ready Brew

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A passion for Starbucks Refreshers: Today is the big launch day

Today (July 10th)  is the day that Starbucks Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers make their national launch.  They’re available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and I’ve heard that they will appear in Japan a little later this month.  (I am not positive about that information for Japan.)  Some of the international markets are calling this product
“Refreshas.”  There may be more places they’re coming.

I like these.  They’re new.  They’re delicious.  I can’t get enough of these.  I am totally serious:  I like that it is light and flavorful and so cold and delicious.  I can’t really decide which is my favorite.  I really like the Very Berry Hibiscus Via Ready Brew Refresher, but as to the hand-crafted version, perhaps the Cool Lime wins out.  Ask me again in a week, and I might have a different answer.  When it comes to cold and delicious beverages, I usually don’t want something as heavy as a Frappuccino, and something like an iced latte can be delicious but milk-based beverages are just so filling.  And I like the iced teas, but I want a change of pace.  This is it.

I hope you like them too.  This is the big day that they are launched everywhere, so I want to know how people like them, and how is it going in the stores?  I know that partners will be doing a lot of sampling of these drinks during the peak hours of the day.  There is a rumor that stores will give away a very limited number of 50% off coupons for the Via Ready Brew version of the Refreshers.

By the way, the partners will be wearing snazzy Refreshers t-shirts!

 

I stopped by Starbucks at the end of the day, on my way home from work.  I caught up with Emily, the barista whom I’ve recently written about in the article on the 5th and Columbia Starbucks,  and she showed me that she had made Refreshers earrings to wear, and extra earrings and pins for her store’s partners!

I have to say, I love all the passion that Emily pours into her work.  Three years after I met her, she’s still pouring her heart into Starbucks.  It sounds like a cliche to say that, but it’s true, and it’s important.  It really does not matter if you are an attorney, or if you’re a barista, or what your job is … have some passion for what you do!

So how is your local Starbucks’ big Refreshers launch day going? Which Refresher is your favorite?  How do you like them?

Don’t forget to stop by Starbucks on Friday, July 13, 2012, from noon to 3:00 p.m. for a free tall handcrafted Refresher!

 

 

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Hibiscus Berry and Cool Lime Refreshers are almost here! Coming soon: July 10, 2012

Starbucks will be launching Via Ready Brew Refreshers soon!  They arrive in stores on July 10, 2012, and will be available in two flavors: Hibiscus Berry and Cool Lime.

As you probably already know, these are the same two flavors as the fresh, handcrafted version of the Refreshers, which will be also launching on July 10, 2012. In other words, both the fresh in-store handcrafted Refreshers, and the Via Ready Brew versions launch on July 10th.

This may seem a little confusing, so just to be clear, soon there will be three versions of Refreshers available:

  1. Handcrafted Refreshers in Starbucks stores – launching July 10, 2012. (Hibiscus Berry and Cool Lime flavors) (Available in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, Ireland, Germany, and possibly other markets.)
  2. Via Ready Brew Refreshers – launching July 10, 2012. (Hibiscus Berry and Cool Lime flavors) (Available in the U.S., as I understand it.)
  3. Ready-to-drink canned Refreshers – already available in grocery stores, and in the RTD case at Starbucks stores. (Strawberry Lemonade, Orange Melon, and Raspberry Pomegranate flavors)  (Canned Refreshers are available only the U.S.)

By the way, as I talked to partners and tweeted with them about which markets had which versions of the Refreshers, I heard conflicting answers, so please do correct me if I’ve got it wrong! Thank you!  Interestingly, the German market is calling these “Refreshas.”

I have had the fresh Refreshers many times, and always thoroughly enjoyed them.  I prefer the handcrafted flavors over the canned drinks, and I think I like the lime flavor the best, but it is a tough call.

The hallmark of the Refreshers beverages – whether the canned Ready to Drink version, the handcrafted version, or the Via Ready Brew Refreshers – is that the boost of caffeine comes from a green coffee extract.

I’ve heard that Friday July 13, 2012, there will be a big Refreshers sampling event:  Starbucks will be giving away the “tall” size for free, if you want to try one, however it is strictly between the hours of noon to three, as I understand it.

By the way, when I tried these in Orange County, California last year, I discovered that you could even order the Trenta size of the freshly made handcrafted Refreshers!  That’s a lot of Refreshers!  I am genuinely looking forward to these new drinks.  It brings a whole new category to the menu, and really offers something unique and light for a hot summer day.  At least when I tried them, the Refreshers always struck me as having something a little more substantial than an iced tea, but lighter than drinking a juice – that’s just my opinion obviously.  In any case, it’s nice to have a whole new category of cold beverages!

If you’ve tried these, please weigh in on whether you like them!  Feel free to weigh in on Refresher-related conversation.

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Starbucks is now selling Refreshers in a can in grocery stores

It’s been a long time coming, but the Starbucks Refreshers in a can are now hitting grocery stores everywhere in the United States.  Just as a short recap, Starbucks tested a fresh version of Refreshers in stores in Arizona and California.  The barista-made versions of Refreshers came in two flavors:  Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime.  I still prefer the barista-made in-store versions  a little more than the canned versions, but the canned versions are absolutely delicious too.  I mean that!  They really are very refreshing!

The grocery store version comes in three flavors:  Strawberry Lemonade, Orange Melon, and Raspberry Pomegranate.  Starbucks has an official website for the national launch of these, and you can download a coupon from the website too:

When I first heard that Refreshers had been spotted in Seattle, I was pretty giddy.  It feels like I have been waiting for a long time for this to happen. Last July, I wrote about canned Refreshers in Arizona in this blog post here.  One thing that is interesting about that blog post is that you can compare how the design of the Refreshers can has changed.  From what I can tell, the product has not changed, just the design of the can.  It is still a bubbly energy drink that tastes like a cross between a tea and a juice.  However, the extremely unique thing about the Refreshers is that it is made with a green coffee extract.  So at least technically, it is a ‘coffee’ beverage; however, there is absolutely zero coffee flavor in these beverages.

Here in Seattle, I’ve only found the Refreshers in a limited number of Safeway stores.  By the way, I do not think these drinks are intuitively placed in the stores.  They’re hard to find!  Both times I looked for them, I first went straight to the aisle with lots of bottled and can beverages.  This is not where I’ve found them.  They were placed in the deli area of Safeway, on a separate display.  Also, I noticed that there is only a warm display of them, and apparently no way to buy a cold can in the store.  I definitely recommend that you look for these, though I am giving the heads up that they might be a little difficult to find.  Last but not least, I think the price of each can is a bit steep.  Safeway has them for $2.39 each, and there does not appear to be any four-pack price.  Just in case you have an Albertson’s near you, one partner told me that she found Refreshers at her neighborhood Albertson’s.

They are delicious!  My favorite is the Raspberry Pomegranate, but the Orange Melon is a close second.  What do you think of them?  Have you tried them?

 

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Starbucks Refreshers

This is another episode about Refreshers.  I still love them.  I still want them to launch nationally.  Just as a reminder, Refreshers are the delicious light drink that tastes a bit like a tea or a juice, but actually has green, unroasted coffee in them.  The two flavors are Very Berry Hibiscus, and Cool Lime.  There have been several rounds of Refreshers testing, and as I write this, they’re available only in limited areas of California (from San Diego up to about Stockton), and stores in Arizona, for a grand total of about 2000 stores.

I was just in California at the end of August, and had the chance to try them again.  In fact, I constantly ordered them.  Many of the stores I visited were sold out of the Berry flavor, which seems to have been the more popular flavor.   This Starbucks beverage  innovation is solidly two thumbs up.

Some readers may remember that one year ago I went to San Diego to try the Refreshers, which were a San Diego-only test item at that time:

Melody tries Refreshers

I’m not going to repeat that blog article here, rather I’ll just share a few Refreshers-related photos from this trip.  Maybe you’ll be enticed by them too!

^ That in-store signage was in many stores, and I even saw it at the airport Starbucks as I was leaving California.  That particular photo is from Starbucks store #5704 on Tustin Avenue, in Orange.

And at one point I got  a Trenta Very Berry Hibiscus just because I could:

 

It was really difficult to get a good photo of the menu boards listing the Refreshers.  Many menu board have lights shining on them that create a distracting glare.  Here’s one photo that seemed to come out pretty readable (and for the record, I took this picture at a store in Anaheim).

Here are two more photos of the actual drink.  This cool lime photo was taken at store #5704, and the very berry hibiscus was taken at a store in Anaheim (store 6561).

 

What do you think? Have you tried them?  Which is your favorite?  Most test products never launch nationally, but this one just might really make it.

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Raspberry Pomegranate Refreshers by Starbucks = Delicious.

It’s time for another look at Starbucks Refreshers.  Next up:  Raspberry Pomegranate flavor.  Let me say, that without a shadow of a doubt, I am a complete fan of Refreshers.  They are indeed genuinely Refreshing.  Starbucks has experimented with a number of flavors and varieties of this product, so if you want to look at previous article on the Refreshers click here:

Previous StarbucksMelody.com articles on Refreshers

Since the current Refreshers are being tested in Arizona, I don’t have a chance to try them over and over again (I live in Seattle).  There are several canned flavors, and I received a can of Raspberry Pomegranate in the mail.  As I expected, this drink doesn’t disappoint.  I made a little video of me trying this drink.  Please be aware that this was a one take video.  Here it is:

 

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Starbucks Refreshers in a can – an early peek at the Strawberry Lemonade flavor

Starbucks is testing Refreshers in a can!  You may recall that I have written about Refreshers twice before on this blog:

Refreshers – Very Berry and Cool Lime flavors being tested in San Diego

Refreshers – Strawberry Citrus and Orange Mango flavors being tested in Washington State.

I really like the Refreshers.  So far, my favorite has been the Cool Lime version that was tested in San Diego in July and August of 2010.  The hallmark of the Refreshers lineup of beverages is that they include an unroasted green coffee in them.  The flavor, in my humble opinion, is a little heavier than a tea but not quite a juice-type flavor. They’re light and refreshing.

It’s clear that Starbucks wants to do something wonderful with this innovation.  I’ve heard that these beverages were also briefly tested in a small area of Chicago too, but I never had enough information to turn that into a blog post.

The new round of testing begins soon, and so here’s the early look:  Arizona will be receiving a CPG version of the drink.  (CPG stands for “consumer packaged goods” and it includes beverages that are ready to drink, and could be sold in a grocery store or in the refrigerated case at a Starbucks.  The bottled Frappuccinos and canned Double Shot beverages are examples of CPG products.)  I think that only Arizona gets the canned versions.

There are three flavors scheduled to be released as canned Refreshers, however I only have the photos of the Strawberry Lemonade.  The scheduled flavors are as follows:

  1. Strawberry Lemonade
  2. Orange Melon
  3. Raspberry Pomegranate

A close look at the can makes it look like the CPG version of Refreshers is a flavor similar to a version I tried in Washington: Strawberry Citrus.  The Strawberry Citrus drink that I tried previously did indeed have some lemonade-like flavor to it too, so it does sound like a similar drink to this canned “Strawberry Lemonade” Refresher.

I don’t have any review of the Strawberry Lemonade canned product yet;  I only have these photos but I wanted to share them.

This won’t be the last time that I write about Refreshers.  I have heard that starting on July 12, 2011, the Cool Lime flavor of Refreshers will be launching in Southern California.  I am very excited about this.  I might fly down and try the Cool Lime Refresher again.  My final thought:  I really hope the Refreshers do launch nationwide!  I’d like to see the Very Berry and Cool Lime launch! Delicious!

The pictures below come from a trusted source, so I wanted to share what the can looks like.  As I mentioned above, for sure I will be writing about Refreshers at some point again in this blog.

Please weigh in!  Have you tried these?

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NEW Starbucks Refreshers test beverages with unroasted green coffee: Strawberry Citrus and Orange Melon

Some of my readers might remember that at the end of September, I wrote about Starbucks testing “Refreshers” beverages in San Diego, California.  These drinks use an extract of un-roasted coffee and produce a beverage that isn’t quite like a juice, but isn’t quite like a tea either.  They definitely do not taste like coffee.  In San Diego, Starbucks tested a “Cool Lime” flavor and a “Very Berry Hibiscus” flavor, both of which I previously blogged about here.

Starbucks is again testing “Refreshers” but this time there is a test in Washington State, and the flavors are now “Orange Melon Fizz” and “Strawberry Citrus Fizz” Refreshers.  The new Refreshers may be in the same family as beverages as their San Diego counterparts, but have been dramatically altered in recipe.  Both variations on Refreshers include some kind of extract of green, unroasted beans, providing the beverage with caffeine and pulling it into the “Refreshers” family of drinks.  The new Refreshers are described as having “ginseng” and “Vitamin B” and have a fizzy layer of foam on top.  The appearance looks a bit like a bubbly Italian Soda.  I tried both of the new drinks, and preferred the Orange Melon Fizz over the Strawberry Citrus.  Interestingly, the consistency of the two drinks is a little different from their San Diego counterparts.  The new Refreshers seem to be light weight and easy to drink yet both drinks had an intense tiny bit of syrupy flavor at the bottom.  It was like as if there is some heavy component which settles at the bottom.  The last one-eighth of the drink is intensely sweet and tastes a bit like lemonade to me.

Writing about test beverages (or test products) is one of my favorite things to do.  I am continually amazed by the many things that Starbucks does test, most of which never launches nationally.  If you want to read more about Starbucks tests, I’ve listed out some of my previous “test” blog posts (up to this point):

I realize that I am repeating myself but it is important: Starbucks tests all kinds of things which never launch.  Do not get your hopes up that you’ll see this at your local store.  As I recall,  a little over one year ago there was news that Starbucks was testing ‘blueberry waffles’ for breakfast in Denver.  Unfortunately I never had any reason to fly to Denver to try this and was never able to put together any blog post on the blueberry waffles.  The fact of the test remains as yet one more example of Starbucks testing all kinds of food and beverage in many different geographies.  The new customize-able Frappuccino, which did eventually launch nationally this year, was in fact tested for a long time in Texas before the national launch.

What do you think of this latest test beverage?  The previous versions of the Refreshers (the San Diego versions – Lime and Berry) seemed to have a following.  Once in a while people come to MyStarbucksIdea.com asking for them to come back.  Here is an example of that kind of thread:

Looking forward to your refreshing comments!

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Melody tries the Starbucks “Refreshers” test drinks in San Diego

Starbucks has been testing beverages called “Refreshers” in San Diego.  It was a widely-publicized test, so I had been aware of it long before discussing it with others on social media sites.  Through connecting with people on the blog and through twitter, a store manager in San Diego said, “Come to my store and try them!”  And to that I said, “Yes I will!”  It was an easy short trip.  I hopped on a plane; Stayed with family in Orange County, and then visited the Starbucks in San Diego with the beverage.

By way of a little background on this drink:  The beverage is called “Refreshers” and comes in two flavors: Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus.  This was a limited “test” item in San Diego County only and scheduled to end at the end of this month.  The drinks have been so popular that the supplies of them are nearly depleted.  The store manager who hosted me set aside a little bit of the Refreshers mix so that there would still be some for my visit.  Between the two, the lime flavor was my favorite.

Refreshers are an iced drink made with the extract of green coffee.  A tall “Refreshers” drink has less than 15 mg of caffeine – less than a cup of green tea and far less than a cup of brewed coffee.  The price point of the tall lime Refresher was $2.50.  The weather was scorching hot in San Diego – reaching 100 degrees.  This Seattleite felt like she was going to die.  Refreshers were refreshing.

I want to talk a little bit about this store (Starbucks store #527 in San Diego).  It’s a physically small neighborhood store.  It exemplifies the kind of store that is fairly busy with many regular customers and partners who know their drinks and names.  According to the store manager, this store first opened August 8, 1992.  She’s been here a few months, and loves it.  While I was sitting chatting with her, a customer named Tom S. joined the conversation.  He’s been coming to this store for a decade.  Tom and I had a fun time talking too – By coincidence, he and I went to the same law school.  Tom S. wanted to share his passion for this store and said this, “I’ve been coming here for over ten years and I can objectively say it’s one of the best I’ve been to and I’ve been all around the U.S.

When I travel to stores to write store reviews and try beverages a variety of things can happen.  Sometimes District Managers greet me at the store.  Sometimes nothing happens at all.  I have to admit I’m totally touched and flattered that this store clapped when I got to the register!! Okay, that made me blush and happy at the same time.  I’m a little embarrassed to tell my readers that they clapped but it did make my morning.  The store knew I was arriving through my twitter conversation with the store manager.  A partner named Zack sat down with us for a few minutes and told us a little bit about the beverages.  You can hear Zack talk about the refreshers by going to this link here:

This store offers a chocolate croissant too as a pastry item – something not available in Seattle.  The store was clean and busy the entire time I sat in the lobby.  I noticed a fun chandelier hanging.  It’s an older store design but looks great.  Though my favorite thing about the store (in terms of the physical store itself) was the chalk art for the Toffee Mocha and The Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I love barista chalk art.

This was a great store visit.  A lot of fun to try something brand new with enthusiastic partners.  It was an easy two thumbs up and I’m sure it’s a store that makes Starbucks proud.

This trip to Southern California produced a total of three store reviews: (Eventually all of the links will work, but some of the posts below have not yet been published)

Also, if you like reading about test products click on this link for previous blog posts on test products:

And if you like store review blog posts, go here for more:

Now is your chance to weigh in, and definitely if you’ve tried the Refreshers please tell me what you thought!

Thank you again to Kate, Zach, and everyone at this store – All of you made my visit absolutely perfect and wonderful.

(PS: I seem to be incapable of following a posting schedule for content, but I’m trying to get better at that. Sorry to be so off schedule. I had said Sundays and Wednesday. Well, I’m close. Today is Tuesday).

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