Starbucks’ Summer-Berry Refreshers: Saved by the Boba

Starbucks has introduced a new texture innovation, “Pearls,” in its summer drinks lineup. The company’s first venture into boba, or bubble tea, originated in Taiwan but has gained popularity in the U.S. The new limited-time drinks are the Summer-Berry Starbucks Refreshers, which come in three versions: the Summer-Berry Refresher, Summer-Berry Lemonade Refresher, and Summer Skies Drink.

The Summer-Berry Refresher has an unexpected artificial candy taste, with the exact flavor difficult to pinpoint at first. The Summer-Berry Lemonade Refresher delivers a balance of fruity and tangy that the others do not. The tart lemonade complements the berry blend in the refreshing way that Starbucks intended for this menu. The literal pops of raspberry on the tongue from the pearls are like the cherry on top of this summer beverage.

The Summer Skies Drink consists of the same berry blend as the other drinks and a layer of the popping pearls at the bottom — but with the inclusion of coconut milk. Unfortunately, the sweetness and hint of nuttiness that comes from coconut milk don’t mix well with the fruity flavors of these berries, giving me Pink Drink flashbacks.

The real saving grace of the drink is the boba … I mean popping pearls… at the bottom. Using the large compostable straw included with all three beverages, I find myself glad the pearls overtake the majority of each sip. Otherwise, the visual appeal of this drink does not make up for its incoherent taste.

In the end, the new Summer-Berry Refreshers have some bright spots, even when the berry flavor trio doesn’t hold up. Specifically, the raspberry-flavored pearls at the bottom of each beverage are the best recipe decision made by Starbucks. Hopefully, these pearls and potentially other flavors of them stick around even after the sunny days end.

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