Saturday, July 14, 2012

Starbucks Refresher Beverages: Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime

Couple of posts ago I mentioned free Starbucks beverage giveaway event, so this post is about these 2 drinks. I woke up at around 2:00PM and got out of the place at 2:23PM. The N-train arrived in about 12 seconds after I stepped onto the station platform, and at 2:33PM I was already at the 18th Avenue station, but I walked out of it on the 19th Avenue, the opposite side of the station. It took me couple of minutes to backtrack to 18th Avenue and I found the Starbucks spot pretty quickly. The place was packed with people, and a lot of Asian kids were in line. Halfway through waiting, one of the cashiers said that the line starts on the other side of the establishment, so everyone in line had to reorganized into advised order, and this action has placed me into advantageous position with 8 people behind me and 3 people in front of me. My initial plan was to order Cool Lime since I was thirsty, and citrus-based drink is great in my opinion in quenching the thirst. When I got to the cash register, I told my order and cashier replied back that I had to wait for Cool Lime drink, which I agreed to. A minute or so later I noticed that they had several stacks of ready-made Very Berry Hibiscus beverages, with around 12-14 cups that were ready to be taken. Since the time was ticking and I had no idea how much longer I had to wait for Cool Lime beverage, I just told cashier to give me the Very Berry Hibiscus drink, which she promptly did and I was out on my way for the exit.

So this is pretty much a small Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher beverage. The first thing that striked me when I took a sip of it was the nasty pepper-herb taste. The second thing was the fact that this drink was not sweet, and this is a big fail on Starbucks part. But it did have bunch of berries and ice inside.

After a total of 3-4 sips of Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher, I said fuck-it and threw it out into the garbage bin. I did not enjoyed a bit of this drink, especially the pepper-herb/celery taste and the absence of sugar. After the disposal of the beverage, I went to the bus stop on the same block and waited around 10 or so minutes for the bus. I had high hopes that I would make it before 3:00PM deadline to the 2nd Starbucks joint. When I got on the B8 bus, the thing trailed like a snail. The bus driver did not seemed to give a fuck about hauling ass: I think that he was a union bastard. But at this time of the day, the street was a mess with bunch of business activity and deliveries, so traffic congestion was pretty evident. I even managed to spot an open Blockbuster location, probably the last one in Brooklyn. When I stepped out of the bus at the 85th Street stop, it was already 3:02PM but I still had hopes that once inside Starbucks joint, I can get in line and no one will notice that I got in past 3:00PM. It took me 5-6 minutes to find the location, and I had to spend another 8 or so minutes in line. To my misfortune the cashier charged me for the Cool Lime Refresher $3.54 for a 12-ounce drink. Yeah, the goddamn motherfucker charged me and I had to pay up, but I just had to taste it in order to complete my mission of trying-out the 2 beverages.

After 10 or so minutes of waiting for my drink (they had some kind of problems with coffee grinder, and most of the staff kept fucking trying to fix it), I finally got it. Now since I knew that the previous drink had no sugar in it, I decided to take no chances and added 4 packs of some kind of fancy brown sugar (from Cuba or something like that, that was printed on the packs) to the drink. The sugar kept floating on top no matter how hard I tried to spin the mixing stick in order to better-up the beverage. Not much luck was also achieved in actually mixing the sugar with the liquids. The taste was much better than the previous drink, due to the added sugar, but the nasty pepper-herb/celery taste was also present in this Cool Lime variation of the beverage. The berries were switched for lonely slice of lime for this Cool Lime drink. Overall I preferred this one over Very Berry Hibiscus, since it was sweet and limy.

After I drank all the liquid from the cup, this is what has remained: a shitload of ice cubes. The ice cubes are like 75% of the product, what a rip-off!!!

Bird's eye view of the ice.

I threw out the remains of the drink (ice and the cup) into the overstuffed garbage bin, checkout how much ice came out. I mean really; this much ice? This has to be some kind of screw-up or scam on Starbucks' part.

$3.54 spent on a shitty beverage, which was not worth it. All I can say is: don't buy this product, unless you want to pay for ice at the cost of expensive drink. And this is where I draw the dot about Starbucks and their overpriced products.


  1. I totally agree with you on the ice issue. I prefer the lime over the berry drink. For me the taste was good without adding sugar. But so much ice! Isn't Starbucks making enough money? Do they have to rip us off for what amount to pennies? The cup probably costs more than the liquid. In a 12 ounce drink we should get 8 to 9 ounces of liquid - this is probably 4. Way to go Starbucks, just aggravate more people. But they'll always have their zombies walking around with their days old Starbucks cup trying to make an impression. Great post Alex!

    1. Starbucks partly sold the Cool Lime beverage to me, which was mostly ice (solid water) at the price of a fruit beverage, and I am not happy with it. I am sure that this was not the case with most of the Starbucks locations, but I am sure that a handfull of employees and managers figured out that they can "stretch" their Cool Lime ingredients supply by watering-down the beverage. There is a recipe in every Starbucks location on how to make all their beverages and what quantities of ingredients are required per serving, and I bet that none of them mention to add 75% of ice, but the location that I have visited probably decided to go against Starbucks standards and have it made their way. Incidents like these where restaurants water-down and skim-out on the ingredients [like certain McDonald's location that say that they ran out of lemon slice for their Sweet Tea] tarnish their brands and consumer experiences with the products.

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