Starbucks Officially Introduces 3 New, Boba-Inspired Berry Refreshers To Its Summer Menu

The rumors are true. Starting on May 7, 2024, Starbucks will be selling boba-like drinks for a limited time, per a press release shared with Tasting Table. We first heard rumblings of these new beverages at the beginning of the month, when Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan confirmed their impending arrival and videos showing them began popping up on TikTok. So, if you've been salivating since then, dreaming of the day that Starbucks would finally sell pearls in the U.S., it has arrived.

Not only is the chain launching "popping pearls," named because they pop in your mouth, but it's debuting them in three new summer drinks in its popular Refreshers line (hot on the heels of last month's new Spicy Refreshers). The Summer-Berry Refreshers lineup features a Summer-Berry Refresher, which boasts flavors of blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry shaken with ice and poured over a base of popping raspberry-flavored pearls. You'll also be able to sample the Summer-Berry Lemonade Refresher, which adds lemonade to the fruity mix, and the Summer Skies Drink, which incorporates coconut milk. 

Each beverage comes with a compostable, wide straw for maximum ease while slurping up your pearls. All three drinks also come in a sky-blue hue with ruby-red pearls, which Starbucks beverage developer Simon Vuong says was intentional. "We have never had a blue beverage," Vuong said in the press release. "The color really captured the feeling we were going for — reminiscent of long, summer days and bright skies for everyone to enjoy."

Popping pearls are bursting onto the Starbucks scene in the U.S.

While this nationwide popping pearl release is unprecedented for Starbucks stores in the U.S., it's not the first time the chain has dabbled in boba-like beverages. Starbucks almost served bubble tea in late 2021, which also featured flavorful balls called popping pearls at the time. And in East Asian stores, Starbucks has seen some success with its "bursting coffee spheres" and plum-flavored pearls in its Dark Caramel Coffee Sphere Frappuccino and Peach Plum Pearls Oolong, respectively. 

With the Summer-Berry Refreshers, the chain originally pictured them with fruit pieces, but later moved to pearls for a bolder burst of flavor. "We thought, 'Let's put fruit-flavored pearls in the beverage and try it out,'" Simon Vuong said in the press release. "It's very fun the way it delivers the flavor when it pops in your mouth." These drinks are sure to take center stage when it comes to Starbucks' latest offerings, but they're not the only items launching on May 7. 

We'll also see the return of last year's White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew at U.S. stores for a limited time, along with an Orange Cream Cake Pop topped with decorative buttercream and white chocolate icing, a Pineapple Cloud Cake featuring pineapple cream, spread, and fruit pieces, and a new naturally sweet Iced Coffee Blend. But while the latter items sound delicious, it's the popping pearl-infused cups that will have us running to our local Starbucks for a taste test.