Will Starbucks customers give a cold shoulder to the company's new iline of green coffee Refreshers drinks? Hopefully they'll get a better reception than the VIA instant beverage mix that was panned when it launched in 2010, and which resurfaces with a new twist here.
The fruit-flavored iced coffee beverages, produced with unroasted green arabica beans, are rolling out in the U.S. and Canada on July 10th, with a global rollout to follow.
According to the Huffington Post, "The drink line will be offered in three formats: handcrafted (made by baristas), ready to drink and VIA. VIA is Starbucks' newest drink format, brought to market three years ago, and is best described as a microground product that dissolves when emptied into water."
The Refreshers sub-brand page states that all three are made with green coffee extract as their base for a "boost of natural energy" and are made with either "real fruit" or "real fruit juice":
• "Handcrafted" can be ordered in either Very Berry Hibiscus or Cool Lime flavors at Starbucks stores: "These low-calorie drinks are made with real ingredients like whole blackberries, lime slices and fruit juice, and are combined with Green Coffee Extract for a thirst-quenching boost of natural energy."
• Sparkling (lightly carbonated) ready-to-drink Refreshers come in three flavors, Stawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Pomegranate and Orange Melon: "Each of these is a sparkling, delicious boost of natural energy from Green Coffee Extract you can enjoy anytime. With real fruit juice, B vitamins, ginseng, antioxidants from vitamin C and only 60 calories per can, it's a pick-me-up you can feel good about." They cost $5.95 per five-pack.
• VIA Refreshers instant beverages come in two flavors — Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus — and are being sold for $2/can at select grocery stores. They're designed to be mixed with cold water (unlike VIA's launch as a hot coffee ground mix): "Starbucks VIA Refreshers instant beverages are made with real fruit and Green Coffee Extract for a boost of natural energy you can enjoy anywhere. Just open a packet of refreshing goodness, add cold water and recharge."
The barista-made handcrafted drinks debuted in France last week, and will be promoted in the brand's U.S. and Canada stores with a free tall-size drink giveaway at participating Starbucks locations on Friday, from noon to 3:00 p.m.
“Innovation is at the core of everything we do. As the coffee category continues to evolve, our customers expect more and we are committed to bringing uniquely relevant products to market,” said Cliff Burrows, president Starbucks Americas, in a press release. “The introduction of Starbucks Refreshers™ beverage platform, featuring green coffee extract, is an innovative extension of the coffee market and is the perfect solution for customers looking for a boost of natural energy and thirst-quenching, delicious refreshment.”