Let’s face it - the strawberry acai refresher is probably the best item on Starbucks’ summer menu. It’s sweet, ice-cold, and downright delicious - not to mention refreshing. We might even be inclined to sink five or six in one day!
However, with the high price tag that Starbucks drinks often come with, our bank accounts might not enjoy the thought of that as much. So, how do we mimic the flavor of the strawberry acai refresher without blowing our summer budget all at once?
Simple - we’ve found the perfect way to make your own strawberry acai refresher without leaving the house! The recipe offers you the delicious sweetness of the strawberry refresher as well as the bitterness of the acai, without the cost of Starbucks.
If you love the Starbucks strawberry acai refresher, we guarantee that you will love this recipe. It has been created after watching a Starbucks barista making it over and over again, so you can’t get much closer to the real thing than this!
What is the strawberry acai refresher and how much does it cost?
The Starbucks strawberry acai refresher is an ice-cold drink made with sweet strawberry flavors, as well as passion fruit and acai notes. It has a small amount of caffeine within it thanks to the green coffee extract, but this doesn’t take away from the refreshment.
You can get the drink in four sizes - tall, grande, venti, and trenta. You can alter the ingredients such as the juice blends, flavors, toppings, sweeteners, and tea to make your drink tailored exactly to your taste.
There are 90 calories in the grande strawberry acai refresher with 0 grams of fat and protein. It has 23 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of which are sugars. The caffeine content is 45 milligrams.
The cost of the strawberry acai refresher at Starbucks is as follows:
- Tall (12 fl oz): $3.99
- Grande (16 fl oz): $4.49
- Venti (24 fl oz): $4.99
- Trenta (30 fl oz): $5.29
Of course, this price is subject to change depending on your additions or changes to the drink. While these prices might not sound like much, they quickly add up. The strawberry acai refresher is so more-ish that you can quickly rack up a tab without even knowing it!
Making your own strawberry acai refresher
Starbucks uses their own strawberry acai base to make their refresher, which is not currently available for us to buy and use at home. If it was available, it would be much easier to make your own at home without leaving the house!
Their strawberry acai base involves the following ingredients: Water, Sugar, White Grape Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Natural Green Coffee Flavor, Fruit And Vegetable Juice, Rebaudioside A.
Some of these are available within our kitchens, but some are not (what even is Rebaudioside A?). So, we cannot mimic the recipe exactly. This means that some trial and error had to be done.
Luckily for us, someone carried out this difficult task so that we all can reap the rewards. Below are the ingredients you’ll need as well as how to make your very own strawberry acai refresher.
Ingredients you’ll need
These ingredients are much more accessible than what Starbucks uses, meaning that you’ll be able to find them in your local store or even in your own kitchen cupboards. Plus, making your own concoction allows you to alter the ingredients to make your refresher even nicer for your personal taste buds.
Of course, you wouldn’t have a strawberry acai refresher without the main ingredient - strawberries! These make up the majority of the flavor of your drink and give you that fruity, refreshing taste that is so enjoyable.
Plus, the strawberries will give it that picturesque red coloring. Fresh strawberries worked best for us, although you can use an artificial alternative if you don’t want fresh. Freeze-dried strawberry powder or freeze-dried strawberries are interesting alternatives.
Acai powder can be ordered online as it can sometimes be difficult to find in supermarkets. Acai offers a berry-like flavor mixed with chocolate. It’s a very unique experience that takes your refresher to a whole new level. You can also use acai juice for this recipe, although powder is cheaper and comes with more so that you can make more refreshers.
White Grape Juice
White grape juice adds another layer of flavoring to make it sweeter and crisper. You’ll find it in the chilled section of the grocery store. You can use another juice type such as apple juice if this is more to your taste. Try to stick to a light-colored juice to prevent the red color from being diminished.
Simple syrup just sweetens the drink even more. You can also use honey, sugar, or sweetener depending on how healthy you want your drink. We found that simple syrup was the easiest to mix throughout the drink thanks to its consistency.
Starbucks uses crushed ice for their strawberry acai refreshers, so we chose to use this ice too. However, you can use larger ice cubes if that’s all you have or is most convenient. On the other hand, you can also use no ice cubes at all.
Pretty self-explanatory, water is used to increase the drink content as well as alter the consistency. Tap water will be fine for your homemade strawberry acai refresher.
You can purchase green coffee extract at your local store, but this can be quite expensive for not a lot of the powder. A cheaper alternative is green tea, which is what we used. Green tea doesn’t alter the flavor so you don’t even have to use it at all if you’d prefer a caffeine-free drink.
Step One: Green tea (optional step)
Make a cup of green tea ahead of time so that it has enough time to cool. Pour boiling water over the tea bag and steep it for two minutes. Remove the teabag and place it into the refrigerator to cool quicker.
This step is optional if you’re not using green tea or are replacing it with green coffee extract. If this applies to you, skip right to step two.
Step Two: Preparing the strawberries
Slice your fresh strawberries in halves and place them into a blender. How many strawberries you use will depend on how strong you want the flavor. We used 15 whole strawberries which left us with a great flavor. You’ll have to conduct some trial and error to find out the optimal number for your strawberry acai refresher.
Blend your strawberries up with one cup of water until smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer so that you’re left with around 600ml of strawberry juice. If you don’t have this much juice, repeat the process again or prepare for a smaller drink.
Step Three: Add the acai
Whisk the acai powder with ½ cup of water until all is dissolved. The back of the package should tell you the amount of powder you’ll need to make up ½ cup of acai juice.
Add the acai juice, white grape juice, and cold green tea to the strawberry juice and mix well. This is your strawberry acai refresher base, similar to the one that Starbucks uses in their stores.
The amounts of white grape juice and green tea you use will depend on your personal taste. We recommend that you start with small amounts and gradually add more until you’re completely satisfied with the taste. Remember to make a note of the measurements you add so that you can replicate your drink in the future!
Step Four: Finishing touches
Use a large pitcher to mix your strawberry acai refresher base and add some water to mellow out the flavor. Again, the amount of water you add will depend on your personal preference. Add as much or as little simple syrup as you’d like to enjoy your refresher.
That’s the strawberry acai refresher done!
Step Five: Assembling your strawberry acai refresher
Fill a glass with ice at least ½ full. Pour your strawberry acai refresher over the top and garnish with a few slices of fresh strawberries. For the best results serve immediately so that the ice doesn’t melt.
If you have some left over in your pitcher that you don’t want to use yet, simply refrigerate until you’re ready to serve again. Alternatively, you could pour the leftovers into an ice cube tray and make refreshing strawberry ice cubes!
Fun twists and additions
Once you’re finished with your strawberry acai refresher, you might want to take the base and try it with other yummy ingredients to keep your refreshments fun and interesting. Below are a few alternatives that you can use the strawberry acai refresher base with to become your own barista.
Strawberry acai refresher lemonade
Why don’t you try replacing the water in step five with lemonade? This will give you a more bitter taste that is loved by many - adding another layer to your drink. Starbucks already offers a number of iced lemonade options, although we are yet to see them use their strawberry acai refresher base with lemonade.
As some lemonades are much stronger than others, you might need to use half lemonade and half water. Again, use trial and error to find the perfect amount of each ingredient for you
Starbucks pink drink
You might not know this, but the Starbucks pink drink that everyone loves so much is just their strawberry acai refresher base mixed with coconut milk instead of water. So, you can make your own pink drink in exactly the same way as we have detailed above, just swapping the water for coconut milk.
The coconut milk adds a much creamier texture to the drink, making it a little less refreshing without removing any of the enjoyment. Canned coconut milk works better for a pink drink as it is thicker and creamier, although make sure to mix it properly beforehand to get rid of any lumps.
Opt for a healthier option
The strawberry acai refresher isn’t exactly unhealthy - in fact, it contains one of your five a day thanks to the strawberries! However, there are a few ingredients that we’ve mentioned that make it slightly less unhealthy and increase the calorie content.
To make a healthy strawberry acai refresher, all you need to do is switch out the simple syrup for a sweetener such as Stevia. You can also look for a juice with less sugar in it. One cup of grape juice contains 36 grams of sugar and little to no fiber, causing your blood sugar to spike when you drink it.
There are juices out there with lower sugar content, but these might alter the flavor of your strawberry acai refresher. Alternatively, you might just want to watch how much white grape juice you’re using in your drink.
Of course, the healthiest strawberry acai refresher will be made with water rather than coconut milk or lemonade. However, sugar-free lemonade can be used if you want a sparkling kick from your beverage.
Some people think that caffeine is unhealthy, which is easily fixed when it comes to the simple strawberry acai refresher. Simply remove the green tea or green coffee extract altogether from your drink to enjoy a caffeine-free cold drink.
And there you have it - the knowledge to now make your very own strawberry acai refresher without having to visit a Starbucks store. We love the fact that this drink is so easy to make and so customizable to your personal taste.
You can easily make up a large batch to share with friends and family or to make your own way through on a particularly warm day. The cost per serving will also be much lower than it would be to purchase multiple drinks from Starbucks - especially if you use cheaper ingredients such as freeze-dried strawberries.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our article and enjoy your homemade strawberry acai refresher even more!