Review: Starbucks' New Spicy Lemonade Refreshers Left Us Feeling Confused

Three new drinks have hit the menu with a chili powder blend.

Taking a 180 turn from the flowery drinks it introduced earlier in the month for spring, Starbucks has just released three new limited-time beverages with a spicy twist. The new Spicy Lemonade Refreshers contain a chili powder blend meant to create a sweet and spicy drink experience for customers.

The new beverages include Spicy Dragonfruit, Spicy Pineapple, and Spicy Strawberry flavors. Each drink contains a three-pepper mix of ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Each flavor costs $5.55 for a Grande in Chicago. In addition to the three drinks, Starbucks has also debuted a Spicy Cream Cold Foam which can be added to any of the drinks on the menu. It's simply a mix of the brand's usual cold foam and this new chili powder blend.

Spicy Pineapple

This drink is by far the best in the lineup. Of the three fruity, lemonade-y options available, the pineapple interacts best with the new chili blend in the drink. At first glance, the chili powder blend can be seen resting at the bottom of the cup.

Advertisement

Getting an even distribution of lemonade, fruit base, and chili powder takes some shaking around. Once that's done, the pineapple scent completely masks the spice aspect, so it's sort of like going in blind to the experience. I'm not one for overly spicy foods or drinks, but the pineapple flavor helps offset the twinge of the chili powder as it hits the back of the throat. Spicy Pineapple serves up the exact balance of sweet and spicy that Starbucks describes.

Spicy Strawberry

While the Strawberry Açaí Refresher is usually a go-to of mine, I can't say this spicy twist adds much to the experience. As with the Spicy Pineapple and the Dragonfruit to follow, the drink requires a decent amount of shaking around to evenly distribute the chili powder blend.

Advertisement

Once that's done, there's a hint of strawberry in each sip, but it does nothing to counteract the chili powder. The two flavors are battling in this beverage, and the chili powder blend is winning. Though I wish the two made sense together, they just don't, and I'm not sure who would want to pay more than $5 to figure that out.

Spicy Dragonfruit

For those looking to experience a chili powder kick without much sweetness from the lemonade, this beverage would be the one. Despite the usual dragonfruit bits, lemonade, and mango dragonfruit base included in the drink, most of what I taste is chili powder. The chili powder blend will hit the back of your throat practically instantaneously, and since the dragonfruit flavor is fairly weak, this generally tastes like a shot of spicy water.

Advertisement

It's evident that Starbucks is trying to add some refreshing surprises as it continues to push beyond coffee, but these spicy additions are only a third of a success. Very rarely does this coffee chain miss, but I'm glad to know the new spicy refreshers are only temporary.

Recommended

Advertisement