Goof Review: Starbucks Refreshers

Starbucks Refreshers

Every runner/triathlete has there own, personal routines when it comes to pre- and post workout regimens.  I think I may have found mine, which I am sure a lot of people will find peculiar, but my discovery has been recent.  In my journey to find the perfect post workout recovery regimen I had the opportunity to try the new Starbucks Refreshers.

The summer here in Florida has been typical. Hot and humid, with isolated thunderstorms and the occasional outer band of hurricanes, so  scheduled rides and runs usually end in the stifling heat with no regard to how early they start.   The completion of a 60 miles ride usually will the leave me feeling exhausted and dehydrated.  After the initial recovery of water and recovery drinks and the reduction of my heart rate, I find myself still in the need of a thirst quencher and at that point I have had my fill of gels, recovery drinks and water.  I have been searching for something different, which leads us to my review of the new product line of Starbucks Refreshers.

After a brick workout on the Suncoast trail one morning, (a brick is a workout that includes at least two events of the triathlon.  In this case a 42 mile bike and a 5 mile run) I had thought I was ready for some coffee.  While standing in line I noticed a single sign for refreshers with a tray of samples below it.  Of course I had to try it.  I grabbed the Very Berry Hibiscus first.  Even in this small cup it looked like it would be refreshing.  The deep red color caught my eye and the fruity smell made my mouth water.  As the icy cold liquid hit my tongue it immediately dropped the temperature of my mouth and sent a fruity flavor to my taste buds.  I immediately honed in on the cherry flavor noticing it was not terribly sweet, but was not tart either and while the density was very light, there was a certain thickness to it.  Hitting the back of my throat I noticed a secret almost non-existent after taste that more reminded me of Splenda or Stevia.  At this point I was thinking to myself that this was more because of the my state of dehydration.  It was only fair that I also sample the Cool Lime flavor as well.  It felt a lot lighter, with the density of flavors much less noticeable than the Very Berry Hibiscus.  At first it did seem to calm my taste buds with a nice citrus flavor, but as it rolled down the back of my mouth and down my esophagus, it left that same thick after taste I dreaded.

Being that I understand that working out as hard as we do tends to alter the chemistry of our taste buds and yearning for different flavors, I did give the refreshers a second try.  Prior to another ride a week later I walked into a Starbucks to grab my pre-ride latte, another batch of refreshers were on a tray at the pick-up counter.  In my normal state of being, prior to a workout, my taste buds had the same chemistry as I do at rest so this would be the perfect time to try again to make sure my initial opinion would be correct.  I was not feeling dehydrated, my pulse was at resting pace, the lasting toothpaste film that normally occurs after brushing had disappeared, so there was nothing that would hinder the full attention of my senses.  To make a long story short, nothing changed.  That aftertaste I can only attribute to the green coffee ingredient Starbucks had introduced via this new product line, was thick, long lasting and made me very uneasy.   I couldn’t wait to have my first taste of the thick explosive flavor of the espresso and milk that made up my latte, in order to give me some relief from this film that encased all the areas of my mouth.  The barista at the time, asked me my opinion of the new product and I was honest about them.  She then told me by adding some lemonade to either of the flavors seemed to reduce the after taste.  Of course in my head my question was as it was obvious I was not the only person who felt this way, why didn’t Starbucks include lemonade as an ingredient in the first place?

I am just one person and this is my opinion.  To me, Splenda, and Stevia (and these refreshers) leave an aftertaste that is chemical in nature but these products have now been around for a while so people do enjoy them.

That is my story and I am sticking to it, however, my friend Beth who writes the Discom-BOB-ulated Running blog turned me onto a guilty pleasure that has now been included after those very hot workouts.  This explosion of flavor has been around for decades and has enticed children of all ages including those children of adult ages.  It cools the core on contact and fills the glycogen stores on contact.  It is the perfect completion to a long, hot, difficult ride or run.  Let me re-introduce everyone who reads this to……

7-Eleven Slurpee

(Personally, I only really enjoy the Coke Slurpee but I am sure depending on whatever flavor one may call “refreshing”, will do.)

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Brad Minus

is a certified running coach, triathlon coach, personal trainer and sports nutrition coach who's real passion is to help others enjoy the journey on the way to conquering their goals. He has written many articles and guest posts on the technical, nutritional and psychological aspects of endurance training. He currently lives and trains in Tampa, Florida.

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