Science Behind Starbucks Refreshers

Energy Drink of the Month – February 2014

Fluffy Soft Valentines
How cute is this?!?

Many people have a love/hate relationship with February. Maybe you’re happy there are so many three-day weekends in February or maybe you feel like it’s harder to meet your monthly deadlines because the month is so short. Perhaps you’re looking forward to receiving something cute and fluffy on Valentine’s Day, or perhaps you’re excited about that pint of Half-Baked ice cream on Singles Awareness Day. Whether you like it or not, love is in the air, and I love this month’s energy drink.

Starbucks Refreshers GreenEyedGuideTo commemorate all the days I used to spend at Starbucks either studying, surfing POF, or hoping to catch the eyes of someone smart and good looking (see reference [4]), the Energy Drink of the Month for February 2014 is Starbucks Refreshers Raspberry Pomegranate.

There are a few other flavors of Refreshers available, but I rather enjoy pomegranate flavors (as you may note the trend from last month’s pomegranate blueberry flavored pick).

5 Reasons to Admire Starbucks Refreshers

1-Alternative Energy

This is another product that doesn’t quite fit the image of an energy drink. When most people hear “energy drink”, they think of the Big Three, but more and more “alternative energy” products like this one are cropping up. Granted this product has been around for a while, but it’s a great swap for someone who wants an energy drink without the health and safety lectures or condescending stares. (My word, the stories I could tell…do you have one to share?)

Coffee versus Energy Drinks

2-Green Coffee Bean Caffeine

Not to be confused with green tea, green coffee beans are Arabica coffee beans that are spared from the roasting that turns them brown and delivers the signature coffee flavor profile. It may seem like getting caffeine from green coffee beans is healthier or more natural, but honestly once it’s in your body caffeine is caffeine is caffeine. The only difference is the purity of the caffeine extracted. For instance, green tea and coffee both have high antioxidant contents so unless the caffeine is purified and isolated from its food matrix, you would be getting the subtle benefits of the phytonutrient package. Let me clarify with this picture:

Green Tea Analogy
Caffeine is caffeine is caffeine but what package is it delivered in?

3-Sweetened by Fruit

Paracelsus, the Father of Toxicology, said (paraphrasing) the difference between a poison and a cure is the dosage. The dosage makes all the difference; I don’t think sugar is toxic, but too much sugar isn’t good for anyone. This product contains 13 grams of sugar, primarily from fruit juice. There are no added sugars, and the sweetener system involves erythritol (good for the teeth) and stevia (yay, a non-artificial sugar).


4-Widely Available – There’s an app for that

With the Big Three dominating the energy drink market, it can be difficult to find healthy alternatives at your local grocery store or gas station. There are a few potentially-wonderful energy drinks that I’ve read about but have not tried because I didn’t want to commit to buying a whole case off the web. No offense, but I’m jaded from my experience in Quality Assurance – I need to know that the person manufacturing the product I’m about to consume has taken a few courses in food micro, and knows what a critical control point is.

The advantage of energy drinks like Starbucks Refreshers is that you can find them wherever you can find a Starbucks, and there’s an app for that. So many people rely on caffeine during road-trips or long drives so it’s good to know these drinks are showing up in more gas stations and grocery stores. Consuming caffeine safely means being able to choose between a product that delivers a little boost and one that provides a high-powered shove. Which brings me to…

5 Levels of Fatigue – Level 2

Due to the 25% juice content and the 50 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can, this product is a Level 2 in the 5 Levels of Fatigue. This product is perfect for those times when fatigue is not due to boredom or dehydration (Level 1) and when you don’t need to pull an all-nighter or wake up early after a night on the town.

Bottom Line

Starbucks refreshers provide a gentle energy boost without the overloaded vitamin content, added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Finding your soul mate is hard; finding a healthy alternative to the stereotypical energy drink has never been easier.


Test your caffeine IQ with this pop quiz – Only 5 questions!

*To learn more about the complexities of caffeine, the 5 Levels of Fatigue and any of the B-vitamins mentioned above, flip through the caffeine reference guide, Are You a Monster or a Rock Star, available wherever books are sold.

Follow the GreenEyedGuide on twitter, “Like” the Energy Drink Guide on Facebook and enter the monthly contest for your chance to win. Contests and winners announced every “Lucky-13th” of the month.

Additional Resources

  1. Starbucks Refreshers Main Site – click here
  2. Caffeine Informer Info on Starbucks Refreshers – click here
  3. 5 Levels of Fatigue from the Energy Drink Guide – Free Excerpt available here
  4. Top 10 Ways to Start Talking to Attractive Strangers