Do Starbucks Refreshers Have Caffeine? (The Untold Truth)

do Starbucks refreshers have caffeine

Starbucks is not just about frappuccinos, coffee, and tea drinks. The coffee giant has a line of refreshers that are great for hydrating and beating the heat in summer.

Refreshers are hand-shaken fruit drinks that consist of a fruit concentrate that is diluted with water, lemonade, or coconut milk over ice. Freeze-dried fruits are added for extra flavor and color. Some people prefer a blended refresher or slushy refresher to the standard hand-shaken version.

There are three types of Starbucks refreshers:

  • handcrafted refreshers
  • VIA refresher powder
  • ready-to-drink, canned refreshers

Since refreshers are fruit-based and have a pretty color, most people order them, especially for kids under the assumption that they are harmless fruit juices without caffeine.

This blog post discusses whether there is caffeine in refreshers and also answers related questions.

Do Starbucks Refreshers Have Caffeine?

Yes, all Starbucks refreshers are mildly caffeinated as compared to coffee. The refreshers have about 2.8mg of caffeine per fluid ounce whereas coffee has about 11mg of caffeine per fluid ounce. The caffeine content in refreshers is similar to the amount in soda.

Starbucks refreshers sizes are 12oz, 16oz, 24oz, and 30oz and they have 33.7mg, 45mg, 67mg, and 84mg of caffeine respectively.

As you can see, a Trenta (24oz)or Venti (30oz) refresher has comparable or more caffeine than a shot of espresso which may be too much for people with caffeine intolerance.

The table shows how the caffeine in Starbucks refreshers compares to other drinks.

Caffeine in 12oz (mg)Caffeine in 16oz (mg)Caffeine in 24oz (mg)
Handcrafted Refresher33.74567
Canned Refresher50N/AN/A
Brewed Coffee132176264
Black Tea6990138

Since refreshers are a big part of the Starbucks menu, see this comprehensive list of mouthwatering Starbucks fruit beverages that you should definitely try.

Where Does the Caffeine in Starbucks Refreshers Come from?

The caffeine in Starbucks refreshers comes from the green coffee extract which is one of the ingredients in the refresher base concentrate.

Starbucks refresher base is made of white grape juice concentrate, sugar, water, green coffee flavor, citric acid, natural flavors, Rebaudioside-A, and fruit and vegetable juice color. A refresher base is the foundation of refresher drinks and without it, the drink cannot be called a refresher.

Most Caffeinated Starbucks Refreshers

Canned refreshers and VIA refresher packets have more caffeine per fluid ounce than freshly-made refreshers. Canned refreshers come in 12oz cans that have 50mg of caffeine per can whereas VIA refresher packets have 45-50mg of caffeine per packet.

Most people prefer the handcrafted refreshers that are made for you at the store as they taste much better than the ready-to-drink options. The dried-fruit inclusions in the handcrafted options add to the color and flavor of the drinks. These inclusions are absent in ready-to-drink refreshers.

See the Starbucks handcrafted drinks guide.

6 Best Ways to Add More Caffeine to a Starbucks Refresher

The six best ways to add caffeine to a Starbucks refresher are

  1. adding a different refresher base syrup
  2. adding matcha scoops in the refresher
  3. substituting water with green tea or black tea
  4. topping a refresher with matcha-infused cold foam
  5. adding espresso shots,
  6. or substitute water with cold brew coffee for a much bigger punch

Since all the refresher base syrups are caffeinated, mixing two refresher bases together doubles the caffeine content and the fruity flavors. For example, adding mango dragon fruit base to a strawberry refresher, or a dragon fruit base to a passionfruit refresher.

Whereas adding espresso shots in refreshers may be frowned upon by some people, some customers swear by this practice.

Can You Order a Caffeine-free Refresher at Starbucks?

No, it’s impossible to get a totally caffeine-free refresher at Starbucks as that would mean avoiding the caffeinated base syrup which is what makes the drink a refresher.

Instead, get a caffeine-free fruit drink by ordering the zero caffeine iced passion tango tea, iced passion tango tea lemonade, or iced guava passion fruit drink. You can add fruit inclusions to give the drink a refresher appearance. Do not add the refresher base as it will add caffeine.

How to Reduce the Caffeine in Refreshers

Since you cannot order a refresher without caffeine here are two ways to order a refresher with less caffeine

  • order iced passion tango tea or iced passion tango lemonade with half pumps of your choice of refresher concentrate and dried-fruit inclusions
  • order your favorite refresher with fewer pumps of the base syrup to get less caffeine

The main drawback to diluting your refresher by reducing the base syrup for less caffeine is that the drink loses its flavor. We recommend adding a dash of guava juice or peach to retain the fruity sweetness when diluting a refresher.

What are Inclusions at Starbucks?

Starbucks inclusions are frozen fruits that are added to refreshers and other fruit drinks to accentuate the color and flavor.

Some Starbucks stores will not serve refreshers if the respective inclusions are out of stock. However, you can order a refresher without the inclusions if it’s your personal choice not to have them in your drink.

If you like the frozen dried fruits but you don’t like them floating in your drink, you can order the drink blended.

Final Thoughts

Starbucks refreshers have 2.8mg of caffeine per fluid ounce which is similar to the caffeine in regular soda. Refreshers get their caffeine from the green coffee extract which is part of the refresher base syrup.

Since there is no way to order a refresher without caffeine, you are better off ordering a zero caffeine fruit drink such as strawberry lemonade, iced apple juice, iced guava juice, or any of the iced passion tango teas.

See the best fruit drinks to order from Starbucks.

In the article above, we have provided you with amazing tips to increase or reduce caffeine in your refresher.

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Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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