Posted July 21, 2012 by Big Red Boots in coffee energy drinks

Starbucks Refreshers Cool Lime energy Drink mix

Even though I get to try all the caffeinated products the world has to offer and have an intrinsic philosophical problem with Starbucks and the way they run small coffeeshops out of business, that does not seem to stop me from visiting my local shop enough that they know my name and drink by sight. I have my gold Starbucks card with my name imprinted on it, and can even smell the difference between their Pike Place and Veranda blends.

Even though I knew I should scoff, I got that little twinge of excitement when I saw these Cool Lime Refresher powders at my local corner shop, and one of my good friends was kind enough to fork over the six bucks for a pack for me to try out (thanks Martin!). They looked like those giant pre-sweetened Via packages, only in flavors I had not yet seen on the shelves.  It seems the lime blend is  only available in powder form, and not going to be produced in those slimline cans.  

These powdered refreshers are actually closer to an actual Starbucks product than many of the other Starbucks products.  These are very close to their Via line, only this is sweet and lime caffeinated powder, although still at heart a coffee product.  Of course I could not wait for water – pouring the first pack right in my mouth.  Absolute sour deliciousness!  It took me no time to finish off the entire pack – as they were just too yummy to be left lying around.

There is very little difference between this and the via packages, except for the iced drink and the lime coloring of course.  But the box is the same as a regular via, and that goes for the packages inside too.  It is a decent package as a whole,  the only flaw is that they go a little crazy corporate, corporate. The back has the little intro paragraph, a couple official words from the chairman – the usual stuff people pay copy writers for.

The drink packet inside is well designed too, also with the funny instruction silly illustrations on it – so you are sure to get that you add it to a bottle of liquid and stir it.   It opens poorly, but the packet is waterproof and all pretty – you could tell a whole lot of R&D went into the product, from beginning to end.

My only real problem here – is they annoyingly left off the caffeine content – which in this case makes no sense.  They do have it for their canned Refreshers varieties, and it is an added ingredient, unlike their coffee which could have varying amounts.  As a matter of fact, Starbucks is usually pretty good at listing the caffeine.  They just decided that it did not need to be added to just this particular product.

the first thing that hits you, literally, is the fine powdery mist which gets released in the air like a pack of Kool Aid. I managed to accidentally inhale a good-sized snort of lime sourness up my nostril and coughed for a good 5 minutes.  After the opening, you can have fun with the yummy powder inside, which is thick and a little chunky.  This stuff tastes great Fun-Dip style, licking directly out of the container, although I did try it in a number of water combinations too to see how well it performed.

Unfortuantely, it did not pass the dissolve test – even in lukewarm water.  When you create a drink powder like a Via or Crystal Light or any one of a number of energy mixes – it is vital that you do not leave the drinker’s glass full of grungy mess – leaving traces or clumps. Not the case with refreshers, however, leaving a big nasty film at the bottom of my jar.  Unfortunately, no matter how much you shake, there will always be some sediment left in the bottom of your glass.  This also menas that in the recommended 16 ounce glass, if you let this sit for any legnth of time the main tasty part of this drink settles to the bottom of the cup, leaving the top to taste like tart water.

As for the flavor itself, it was a very decent lime drink.  Cool Lime Refreshers taste like great real sour lime, grape juice and a hint of mint, sweetened with sugar, then soured up with citric acid and stevia.  Stevia is a chalky and bitter flavor – but it works pretty well in here with the lime and other ingredients to cut the flavor of freshly eaten plant leaf.  If it were not for the chunks at the bottom this would have bee a much more decent drink, however the flavor of this is nice enough make you put up with it.

Nutrition-wise, I expected this to be much less calorie laden.  There are 70 calories in here – unusual only because they used low calorie sweeteners in here like stevia, erythritol and  maltodextrin.  On top of that, the first ingredient is sugar, and the second is grape juice powder – so lots and lots of sugar.

Like the cans, these are fueled by caffeine from unroasted 100% arabica beans.  Unfortunately, it is not that  fueled.   I would compare this to a soda more than an energy drink, having about as much caffeine goodness as a Mountain Dew.  As a matter of fact, I will bet that if you added a packet to the recommended 16 ounces of water, there would be not even enough caffeine to have this be reviewable on the site. I can say for a fact that the energy in this is almost negligible.  I ended up finishing all the remaining 4 packs in one day – just pouring the whole thing in a liter and a half jar of water and sucking it up while working. I felt no lift or buzz at all, and while I did not feel sleepy, I would not dare bring this around to keep me awake during a long office meeting or road trip.

Big Red Boots