12 Starbucks Refreshers, Ranked Worst To Best

Given that Starbucks is primarily a coffee house, you probably expect that there will be an abundance of popular drinks like iced coffees, cold brew, and the iconic Starbucks Frappuccinos. You may have even enjoyed some of the iced teas Starbucks has created — but have you tried any of the Refreshers? In the blistering heat, they may be just what you need to cool off with a fruity pick-me-up.

If you haven't heard of or experienced any of the Starbucks Refreshers, here's the rundown: They're fruit drinks that are a bit lighter and more delicate than fruit juice. Like an agua fresca, but fancy. There are currently three flavors: Mango Dragonfruit, Strawberry Acai, and Pinapple Passionfruit. Each flavor is made with a similar "base" of water, sugar, white grape juice concentrate, and natural flavors and colors. While these drinks don't pack as strong of a caffeinated punch as a nitro cold brew, they all include green coffee extract, so some caffeine is present.

From there, your base flavor of choice can be mixed with one of three different drinks: water, lemonade, or coconut milk, for a total of nine flavor combinations. There are also plenty of additional combinations you can make, and you can get them in a size tall (12 ounces), grande (16 ounces), venti (24 ounces), or trenta (30 ounces). To give you an idea of what to order, here's every current Starbucks Refresher, ranked worst to best.

15. Pineapple Passionfruit

If you aren't seeing the Kiwi Starfruit Refresher on the menu at your Starbucks anymore, there's a good chance it's been replaced by the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher, which was released in late June of 2022 — just as intense summertime heat waves began in earnest across the country. While we think all of the Refreshers are warm weather drinks, there's no mistaking this bright yellow drink as a summery stand-out. It certainly looks like an icy cup of sunshine, but we'll admit that it didn't quite meet our expectations.

We had visions of freshly squeezed pineapple juice that's both intensely sweet and mouth-puckeringly acidic and that tingling sensation on the tongue from the acids and enzymes. Then the passionfruit would provide a sweet, citrusy, and slightly musky punch it all together for a richly tropical burst of flavor. What we actually got was more of a platonic impression of those flavors, watered down and mellowed out. That's not an inherently bad thing. Drinking harsh pineapple juice spiked with bitter passionfruit in large quantities would probably wreak havoc on your stomach anyway.

Not only is this particular Refresher more subtle than we expected it to be, but it's not especially sweet. It's more like a slightly more complex lemonade with not enough sugar in it. There are 100 calories, 19 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine in the grande size of this drink.

14. Kiwi Starfruit Lemonade

We tasted the Kiwi Starfruit Refresher and the Kiwi Starfruit Lemonade side-by-side because we weren't sure how much of a difference the lemonade would make to the drink as a whole. We'll get to the plain version of it in a moment, but our first sip of the Kiwi Starfruit Lemonade was intense. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a strong citrusy kind of way. The kiwi flavor is both sweet and tart, but the entire sweet-tart experience was amplified by the inclusion of the lemonade. Starfruit is naturally acidic as well, but any starfruit flavor was overpowered by the lemonade. The bit of kiwi floating in the drink was a fun touch, but also added another hit of acidity when you bite into them. With all of that said, we didn't dislike this version of the drink. Next time we order it, we'd probably ask the barista to cut the lemonade with either half water or half green tea to bring it down a notch while keeping that sweet and sour flavor action going.

We ordered a tall (12-ounce) version of this drink, which cost us $4.95. Like most of the other Refreshers, the calorie count is relatively low, especially compared to some of the other beverage options. The grande size of this drink has 140 calories, 45 milligrams of caffeine, and 30 grams of sugar in it.

13. Dragon Drink

For each of the three Refreshers flavors, one of the drink mix options is coconut milk, and each of the coconut milk-based Refreshers has a special name that differs a little bit from the rest of the Refreshers. The Dragon Drink is made with the mango dragonfruit base, the Pink Drink is made with the strawberry açaí base, and the Star Drink is made with the kiwi starfruit base. Can that be a little bit confusing when it's your first time ordering? Yes, especially since all the current refreshers are listed on the Starbucks website, but not necessarily on the drink board at your particular coffee shop — it might feel like a lot of guesswork. But rest assured that you're not getting an entirely different drink.

It pains us to rank the Dragon Drink low because the mango dragonfruit flavor is a delight. But with the coconut milk base, we just thought it was the most boring version of the coconut-based Refreshers. We still drank the entire thing, and it was nice, but not impressive. The vibrant fuchsia color is appealing to look at, though. The coconut milk doesn't overwhelm the tropical flavors and blends nicely into the dragonfruit and mango. And, honestly, if you try some of the other variations and they're all too much for you, maybe come back to this one for a more subtle option. The Dragon Drink boasts 45 milligrams of caffeine, 23 grams of sugar, and 130 calories.

12. Kiwi Starfruit

Kiwi has an enzyme in it called actinidin, notes the National Library of Medicine, that's also found in pineapple and papaya. Some people may notice a tingling sensation in their mouths when eating those fruits, which is partially due to this particular enzyme, as well as the acid content. Given that kiwi and starfruit already lean slightly towards the acidic end of the spectrum, we thought the water drink mix-in for this flavor is a nice choice. It almost tastes like a kiwi green tea, even though we know there's no tea in it. It's lightly tropical and easy to drink. The freeze-dried kiwi bits have a nice crunch and pop of flavor to them whenever you manage to snag one. The grande size has 45 milligrams of caffeine, 19 grams of sugar, and 90 calories in it.

The color of this particular drink is hilariously bright green on par with one of the lime-flavored ice pops you had as a kid. The nutrition information for this particular refresher lists watermelon and huito fruit juices for color, along with turmeric. Huito fruit provides a blue hue, says ADM, which is likely turned green with the help of the yellow-pigmented turmeric. Given that the color is naturally-derived and playfully bright, we couldn't help but think it contributed to the enjoyment of the drink a little bit.

11. Star Drink

As we've mentioned, the Star Drink is just the Kiwi Starfruit flavor base mixed with coconut milk. Interestingly, where we thought the addition of coconut milk to the Dragon Drink diluted the flavors (making it a bit boring), the addition of the coconut milk to the Star Drink seems to bring a nice balance to the Kiwi Starfruit flavor, which we appreciated. It's still plenty sweet and acidic, but some of the greener vegetal notes are toned down by the coconut, and that neon green color becomes a pleasant pastel. It's also worth pointing out that the coconut milk in it isn't heavy or especially creamy like traditional dairy. It keeps the entire drink light and easy to drink with a well-rounded finish. Of all of the kiwi starfruit drinks, we think the coconut drink mix-in is the best. The grande Star Drink boasts 130 calories, 45 milligrams of caffeine, and 23 grams of sugar.

The biggest problem with the Kiwi Starfruit Refresher is that it was often out of stock. After a quick chat with our barista, we found that some locations receive a smaller quantity of the Kiwi Starfruit flavor than the other flavors. The Kiwi Starfruit Refreshers weren't listed on any of the menu boards we looked at, although they are listed online and in the app. But even though the online menu may say the Kiwi Starfruit is out of stock, it doesn't hurt to ask your barista in-store. Sometimes if the mix is low, it's removed from the online ordering system to keep from completely selling out.

10. Frozen Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade

The three existing Starbucks Refresher flavors were given the slushy treatment in 2023. The lemonade-based versions of each drink are blended into frosty beverages with a splash of strawberry purée syrup in each for a little visual magic and added flavor complexity. Each of the three flavors is even more amped-up than the iced lemonade versions, including the Frozen Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher, which we still like more than the Dragon Drink version that's been on the menu for a few years. But, we also feel like maybe it's a little too much, depending on how intense of a drink you're looking for.

The iced Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade ranks pretty high in our book. Making a frozen version of the drink is a welcome upgrade, but the additional strawberry purée syrup doesn't really do it for us. Instead of accenting the mango and dragonfruit, it almost seems like it's fighting with the existing flavors for attention. It's more sour and sweet than we were anticipating, like a sweet-and-sour candy if it was made with real fruit. But if that level of intensity is what you're looking for, this is probably the most intense drink in the entire lineup. 

The 16-ounce grande has 150 calories, 33 grams of sugar, and about 45 milligrams of caffeine. You might also want to ask for a straw since the top of the drink can be foamy from the blender.

9. Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade

While the water-based Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher left us feeling a little deflated in the sunshine, this version reinvigorated our enthusiasm for the flavor. You might not think that adding acidic lemonade to an already acidic drink would be a good idea, but it turns out that the lemonade base generously fills in the gaps where the pineapple and passionfruit flavors fell short. The sweetness of the lemonade instantly boosts the pineapple flavor, and the citrusy notes turn the flavor of the passionfruit up to a pleasing level.

Now, the drink still doesn't taste like it was made with fresh pineapple and passionfruit juices. And that's because it wasn't. The Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Refresher is made with a similar base as the other Refreshers, including sugar, white grape juice concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid, and beta carotene for coloring. None of these ingredients are unusual or unnatural, so don't let that deter you — just know before you order that this drink is pineapple passionfruit flavored, and has 140 calories, 30 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.

Of course, this drink has already gotten the secret menu treatment on TikTok. Barista Tre Meullione suggests blending the Refresher with ice and pouring it over strawberry puree for the "Derek's Pineapple Sunrise," a refreshing play on the tequila sunrise cocktail.

8. Strawberry Açaí

So many strawberry drinks have a synthetic strawberry flavor that never quite tastes like the real thing. The Strawberry Açaí Refresher, on the other hand, tastes about as close to fresh strawberries as you're going to achieve without getting your own strawberries and making this drink yourself. Not only were we pleasantly surprised, but we were instantly in love. Considering this is the lowest-ranked strawberry açaí drink on this list, that's saying a lot for the variations yet to come with the current grande version having 100 calories, 45 milligrams of caffeine, and 21 grams of sugar.

When we think of a Mexican agua fresca, the Strawberry Açaí Refresher is what we've got in mind — a delicately sweet, ultra-hydrating, and satisfyingly fruity drink. The strawberry isn't overly syrupy or thick like a drink made with strawberry purée can be, and the açaí isn't overstated. We were a little surprised by how easygoing the flavors are, based on the vibrant color of the drink. While it's not quite as intense as the Mango Dragonfruit color, it's still a bold reddish pink. At this point, we realize that Starbucks knew exactly what they were doing by creating refreshing drinks in fun summer colors, and we're here for it. The freeze-dried strawberry pieces floating in the drink rehydrate quickly and add nice little bites of strawberry to the experience. The 12-ounce tall version of this drink cost us $4.45 before tax.

7. Frozen Strawberry Açaí Lemonade

While the Mango Dragonfruit and Pineapple Passionfruit flavors each have hits and misses depending on their preparation, we've established that the Strawberry Açaí Refresher flavor is pretty great in every iteration it's offered. The new Starbucks Frozen Strawberry Açaí Lemonade also gets an additional hit of strawberry purée syrup, which we thought would be a little redundant since it's already strawberry-flavored. And we weren't wrong, but it also isn't a total wash either. 

This Refresher packs a noticeably stronger strawberry punch. The extra strawberry purée makes for a potent mixed drink-style taste, as opposed to the regular iced version, which came across more like a boldly flavored water than a fruity drink. The flavor tastes like an actual strawberry, not artificial or candy-like. It's nice to also see the bits of strawberry fruit and seeds suspended in the drink. 

After the strawberry-forward notes (boosted by the lemonade) melt on your tongue, you start to taste the deeper earthy flavor of the açaí — but only if you're really looking for it. In its frozen and blended form, the drink gives playful resort bar frozen margarita vibes, leading us to think that if you've ever considered spiking a Starbucks drink with vodka or tequila (we have), this would be the one to do it with. The whole drink clocks in at 160 calories for a 16-ounce grande, 35 grams of sugar, and about 50 milligrams of caffeine.

6. Paradise Drink

It only took one sip to sell us on the new Paradise Drink, which is similar to the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher, but with a dairy-free coconut milk base instead of water or lemonade. After an audible, "Oh, that's nice!" we immediately realized that the pineapple and coconut combination was better than any blended piña colada we've ever imbibed (minus the rum, of course). The coconut flavor wasn't nearly as apparent in the other drinks we tasted, but paired with the pineapple passionfruit flavors, it was unmistakable.

A traditional blended piña colada recipe includes cream of coconut which is thicker and sweeter than coconut milk. A few of those with a heavy enough serving of rum in the hot summer sun will have you well on the way to a hangover. In contrast, the Paradise Drink is light, mellow, predictably tropical, and truly refreshing. After several sips, the coconut flavor begins to recede, letting the brighter pineapple and subtle passionfruit flavors take over. We also noticed that the coconut milk itself looked a little broken in the cup, which might have been caused by the acidic nature of the drink. But its taste was still smooth and delicately creamy. We also enjoyed the addition of floating pineapple bits, which really bring the whole relaxed mixed drink vibe together. This grande drink comes with 140 calories, 23 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.

5. Mango Dragonfruit

It's easy to get excited just by looking at the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher. It's a gorgeous fuchsia color, with cubes of dragonfruit floating around that look like tiny reddish-purple dice. The mango and dragonfruit flavors marry perfectly to bring a luscious and tropical flavor to the drink. The freeze-dried dragonfruit bits are slightly crunchy and sweet, and the seeds blend into the fruit pieces without being annoying. It might turn your tongue a little bit pink, but if you're as into it as we are, you probably won't mind.

We like the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher just the way it is, but we're also tempted to try the secret menu variation of it, called the Rose Gold Refresher. The drink is made with the mango dragonfruit base but without the dried fruit inclusions. Instead of water, ask for it to be mixed with peach juice, and then add one pump each of vanilla and raspberry syrup. The resulting jewel-toned drink is hard not to love, and the customizations are also very easy to make online or in the Starbucks app if you're worried you might forget part of the recipe when you get to the register. The grande drink has 90 calories, 45 milligrams of caffeine, and 19 grams of sugar.

4. Pink Drink

It was hard to choose which of the remaining Strawberry Açaí Refreshers we liked best. Both the Pink Drink and the Strawberry Açaí Lemonade were delectable, but for completely different reasons. But for now, we're going to start with the Pink Drink, even though our opinion may swing back and forth depending on what day it is. The classic grande pinkity drinkity has 140 calories, 25 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.

Think back to your first bite of strawberry ice cream. Or rather, your first sip of a perfect strawberry milkshake. If that memory brings you joy, but the thought of drinking a rich and dense strawberry milkshake in the 95-degree heat is unappealing, you're absolutely going to want to grab a Pink Drink instead. The fresh and sweet strawberry flavor of the strawberry açaí base pairs beautifully with the delicate creaminess of coconut milk. It's a lighter version of a great strawberry milkshake — and it's so satisfying that we stunned ourselves by how fast we drank it. If you're looking for a smooth and light refreshment that still tastes like a beloved summertime indulgence, this is the Refresher for you. A 12-ounce Pink Drink also has 110 calories, which you're probably not going to find with any milkshake.

3. Strawberry Acai Lemonade

Tasting the regular Strawberry Açaí Refresher side-by-side with the Strawberry Açaí Lemonade almost isn't fair. The regular version of the drink is perfect in its simplicity, whereas the lemonade variation is perfect in its boldness. If you've ever had a strawberry or pink lemonade that you thought was awesome, just wait until you try the Strawberry Açaí Lemonade. It's bright and bold, but not overly sweet or painfully lemony. The strawberry pieces floating in the drink really give it an authentically homemade summer feel, assuming your homemade lemonade is fresh-squeezed and floating with ripe strawberries. It doesn't matter what age you are, a cup of this will go down easy as you consider calling your friends over for an impromptu kickball game in the backyard. The grande size contains 140 calories, 32 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.

Now, depending on how much you like lemonade, this might actually be too much. We think this drink also tastes great by cutting the lemonade with water, or even a tea (a strawberry Arnold Palmer sounds delicious to us). Given how popular these drinks are, it's no surprise that the Strawberry Açaí flavor has also gotten the secret menu treatment. The recipe that caught our eye is called the Gummy Bear Refresher. It's made with peach juice instead of lemonade and includes two pumps of raspberry syrup.

2. Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade

Somehow, every version of the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher feels like its own unique beverage. From the basic version that left us a little uninspired, to the lemonade upgrade that makes the sweet and acidic notes of each flavor really shine, and on to the smooth coconut-based Paradise Drink that tastes like a truly refreshing nonalcoholic piña colada — each one brings a new experience to the table. Likewise, the Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Refresher stands on its own and is quite possibly our favorite version of the drink so far.

It's got everything we loved about the iced lemonade version, with the addition of a strawberry purée sauce for an even juicier flavor, with a powerhouse sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the acidic pineapple, passion fruit, and lemon. And it's frozen, which makes the whole experience more reminiscent of sipping on a Dole Whip float. The additional strawberry purée sauce doesn't steal the show but adds another layer of flavor to the background while still allowing the tangy pineapple and lemon to take the lead. We'll still order the Paradise Drink when we're in the mood for a smooth tropical getaway, but if it's over 80 degrees out, we're ordering this one. 

The standard grande serving of this Starbucks drink has 160 calories with 33 grams of sugar and approximately 50 milligrams of caffeine — slightly more than the other versions of this flavor, but not by much.

1. Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade

At this point, you may be wondering how each drink just keeps getting better, but we think once you try them you'll understand. Although it should be known that once you have the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, you may never drink another Refresher flavor combination again. There's no other way to put this other than, it's just so tropical. The mango and dragonfruit flavors are already such a winning combination, but the addition of lemonade brightens the combo to a whole new level of juicy and invigorating. While each of the flavors is nice on its own, together they're more than the sum of their parts.

The 12-ounce size of the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade is 110 calories, and the 30-ounce size is 280 calories. Of course, there are a few secret menu variations of this Refresher, but one of the most popular versions floating around TikTok seems to be the Sunset Drink. According to Coffee at Three, the Sunset Drink is made with Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade (excluding the fruit inclusions) and peach juice, which goes into the cup first. After the peach juice and flavored lemonade, Starbucks' Iced Passion Tango Tea is poured on top, creating a gorgeous sunset effect with 140 calories, 31 grams of sugar, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.