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Starbucks Customers Are Reporting a Major Issue With the Chain's New Beverages

The execution seems to leave a lot to be desired.

Starbucks' latest attempt to cash in on its customers' love for those fruity, iced Refresher beverages is already generating significant attention—but perhaps not for the right reasons. Mere days into the debut of the new Frozen Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers, complaints are piling up from customers who say the drinks look very different from what was advertised.

These Frozen Lemonade Refreshers, available in strawberry açai, pineapple passionfruit, and mango dragonfruit flavors, launched on Starbucks' permanent menu on June 27. All of the drinks feature Starbucks' classic Refresher beverages blended with lemonade and pieces of real fruit, plus a strawberry puree swirl. However, customers are reporting that the blended beverages have a tendency to separate after just a few minutes–and they have photographic proof.

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Frozen Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers

In stark contrast to the homogenous, almost smoothie-like drinks that Starbucks advertised, pictures of drinks with thick, frozen layers on top and completely liquid bottoms have been multiplying on social media. And customers are not pleased.

"Separated in less than 3 mins definitely won't buy it again," one unhappy customer captioned a photo of a separated Frozen Lemonade Refresher on Reddit.

Responding to a similar post about the new Refresher issues, Starbucks employees said that separation was inevitable. This is because the drinks don't contain any "base," a syrup that Starbucks uses to help emulsify its blended Frappuccinos.

"Unfortunately, the recipe doesn't include an emulsifier such as a frap base, so the drink will always separate after a few minutes," an employee commented on Reddit.

According to some employees, this was actually an intentional decision from Starbucks.

"They have no smoothing base and are meant to be sipped with NO STRAW so you get the mix of flavors and temperatures (liquid and frozen)," a worker wrote on Reddit.

Even so, customers and employees alike are having trouble getting on board with the concept. One critic even went so far as to call them an "abomination."

Workers recommended that any customers who want to minimize separation should drink the beverages "immediately" and order them in person instead of through the app so they don't sit around before they're picked up.

When contacted for comment on the complaints, Starbucks shared the following statement: "This handcrafted beverage features layers of Refreshers, real pieces of fruit, strawberry puree, ice and lemonade, and some separation is normal as the beverage is enjoyed."

The company also recommended giving the cup a swirl to help with any separation.

This is only the latest Starbucks item to spark controversy this year. The chain has also received negative attention for its line of olive oil-infused coffees after customers complained the drinks were causing major stomach issues. Additionally, Starbucks faced major backlash from customers when it discontinued its popular raspberry syrup around the end of March.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe