If you love going to Starbucks for the Strawberry Acai Refresher, you need to try this make-at-home copycat recipe! Plus, once you make the base, you can use it in all kinds of other delicious drinks.
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- ❓What are Starbucks Refreshers?
- ☕️ Do Refreshers contain caffeine?
- ❓What's in a Strawberry Acai Refresher?
- 🗒 Ingredients
- 🍓 How to make strawberry acai base
- 🥤How to make Strawberry Acai Refresher
- 🥣 Other ways to use
- 🕐 How to store
- 💭 How to make more
- ☕️ More Starbucks copycat recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
You have NO idea how excited I am to bring you this recipe today! In part, because it's absolutely delicious. And in part, because I need a little break from drinking Strawberry Acai Refreshers.
Let's just say I did A LOT of testing to bring this recipe to you. And I'm happy to say that I think I've created a copycat recipe as close as can possibly be to the original Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher.
In finally creating the best Strawberry Acai Refresher recipe possible, I also had to go back and revise my Starbucks Pink Drink recipe. Because the Pink Drink is essentially just Strawberry Acai Refresher base with coconut milk mixed in.
I might need a slight break from Refreshers and Pink Drinks, but I'm so thrilled to have these two Starbucks copycat drinks in my life!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
If you're a fan of Starbucks' Strawberry Acai Refreshers, this copycat recipe is for you! You'll be able to easily make your own drinks at home with just a few ingredients.
I've tried a lot of different copycat recipes and none of them taste quite like what you get at Starbucks. This one actually does!
It's easy to make and once you make the base, you can keep it in your fridge and easily whip up a Refresher whenever the craving hits!
❓What are Starbucks Refreshers?
Refreshers are iced Starbucks drinks that contain fruit juice, green coffee extract, and scoops of fruit.
They're a great alternative for anyone who wants a Starbucks drink but doesn't love coffee or tea. They're also fairly low calorie when compared to other Starbucks drinks.
Strawberry Acai is the most popular Refresher flavor, but other flavors include Mango Dragonfruit and Kiwi Starfruit.
The bases are combined with water to make Refreshers. But they can also be combined with coconut milk (for the Pink Drink, Dragon Drink, and Star Drink) or with lemonade with a sweeter drink.
Contrary to what many think, Refreshers are not tea. They're listed on Starbucks' menu under "cold drinks."
☕️ Do Refreshers contain caffeine?
Yes! Some people think that because the drinks are juice-based, they're caffeine free, but Refreshers actually contain a fair amount of caffeine (about 45 milligrams in a grande) due to the addition of green coffee extract.
The green coffee extract doesn't add any flavor to the drink, so if you're making it at home and would prefer to make a caffeine-free drink, you can certainly leave it out.
❓What's in a Strawberry Acai Refresher?
When developing this recipe, I first looked at exactly what is in a Strawberry Acai Refresher. Starbucks describes the drink as, "Sweet strawberry flavors accented by passion fruit and açaí notes, caffeinated with green coffee extract—a welcoming sweet spot of refreshment."
The ingredients include a strawberry acai base, ice, and freeze-dried strawberries.
And the ingredients for the base are listed as water, sugar, white grape juice concentrate, citric acid, natural flavors, natural green coffee flavor, fruit and vegetable juice, and rebaudioside A (which is basically a form of Stevia).
Since sugar and various forms of sugar were listed, the first time I made the base, I used strawberries, white grape juice, and granulated sugar to make a syrup. But it ended up being way too sweet. I find the Refresher to be a bit more on the tart side and since I was using real strawberries, which have sugar, and a sugar-y white grape juice, it was too much.
So, I decided to omit sugar from the recipe and just uses the white grape juice instead. This worked perfectly and gave me the base I was looking for.
However, if you like a sweeter drink, you can certainly add additional sugar to your base as you're making it.
To make this drink as close to the original as possible, you will need a few special ingredients that can easily be purchased online. If you don't want to purchase them, I do share some modifications later in this post that will allow you to still make a delicious drink without them!
Here's everything you need:
- White grape juice (I use Welch's)
- Acai berry powder
- Passion fruit extract powder
- Green coffee extract powder
- Lemon juice
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries
🍓 How to make strawberry acai base
The base is very easy to make. And once you make it, you can keep it in your fridge and have a Refresher whenever the urge hits!
To start, combine white grape juice and sliced strawberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Lower to a simmer and let mixture simmer for 10 minutes, until strawberries are broken down.
Remove saucepan from heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.
Press down on strawberries with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Discard strawberries or use them for something else.
Pour syrup back into saucepan and return to low heat.
Most acai powders don't totally dissolve into liquid, so you will have some granules in your mixture. This is normal, but if it bothers you, you can probably try adding a dash of acai extract instead (I haven't personally tried this).
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
And pour mixture back into heat-proof bowl or into a large mason jar. Place in the fridge until it's cooled.
And your base is ready to be made into the Refresher!
🥤How to make Strawberry Acai Refresher
I like to start by putting freeze-dried strawberries into a cup and then filling the cup with ice.
Pour about ½ cup of the base and ½ cup of water into an ice filled shaker and shake well to combine.
And pour into glass.
At this point you should take a sip and see if it's to your liking! Some people like it sweeter and some people like it a bit more toned down.
But for me, a 1:1 base to water ratio is perfect.
There are plenty of modifications you can make to this drink if you don't have all the ingredients or if you want to tweak it a bit. Here are some ideas:
- If you don't care about adding caffeine into the Refresher, you can skip the green coffee extract. It doesn't add any flavor, so it's really just a way to add caffeine.
- If you don't have acai powder or passion fruit powder, this drink will still be delicious. In my opinion, both powders add some depth of flavor and make it closer to the original, but you can still make a pretty tasty drink without them.
- The freeze-dried strawberries do add a bit of an extra tart and fruity flavor to the drink, but just add some sliced fresh strawberries if you don't have any.
- If you want a sweeter drink, include ½ cup sugar in your white grape juice and strawberry mixture. This will turn the base into a thicker syrup and it will be sweet and delicious!
- If you've already made the base, but once you mix it, you want it to be sweeter without adding more base, add in a little simple syrup or another liquid sweetener like agave or honey.
🥣 Other ways to use
If you love the idea of a strawberry acai drink, but want something a bit different than the typical Refresher, there's lots you can do.
Lots of people order the Strawberry Acai Lemonade, which is basically just this base combined with lemonade instead of water. If you don't think the Refresher is sweet enough, definitely try mixing the base with lemonade instead (and check out my recipe for the drink)!
Of course, the Pink Drink is also a form of this drink. All you have to do is replace the water with sweetened coconut milk.
Those are the drinks that Starbucks officially makes with the Strawberry Acai Refresher base, but you can really do anything you want with it! Lots of people like mixing it with peach juice, some love adding vanilla cold foam, and some like adding pumps of various flavors of syrup, like raspberry or strawberry.
🕐 How to store
I recommend storing the Refresher base in a large mason jar in your fridge. When stored properly, it should last about 2 weeks.
💭 How to make more
If you want to enjoy a Strawberry Acai Refresher every day, you can easily make a bigger batch of the refresher base by simply doubling or tripling all of the ingredients in the recipe.
The base recipe I provide makes about 4 drinks total.
☕️ More Starbucks copycat recipes
I'm a big fan of treating myself at Starbucks, but I also love learning to make their drinks at home, so I can enjoy one whenever I want without breaking the budget! Here are some of my favorite copycat recipes:
- Pink Drink
- Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- Pistachio Latte
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappuccino
- Apple Crisp Macchiato
- Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
- Shaken Watermelon and Passion Tea
- Strawberry Puppuccino (for dogs!)
- Green Tea Frappuccino (from Lord Byron's Kitchen)
If you're a fan of the Strawberry Acai Refresher at Starbucks, I hope this copycat recipe helps you enjoy an authentic version at home!
Strawberry Acai Refresher
- ½ cup Strawberry Acai Base (recipe below)
- ½ cup water
- Freeze-dried strawberries
Strawberry Acai Base
- 2 ¼ cups white grape juice
- 1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
- ½ tsp acai powder
- ½ tsp green coffee extract powder
- ¼ tsp passionfruit powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Add about ½ cup strawberry acai base and ½ cup water to an ice-filled shaker. Shake well to combine.
- Pour mixture into an ice-filled glass with freeze-dried strawberries.
- Feel free to make alterations based on your sweetness preferences. Add more of the base for a sweeter drink and less for a less sweet drink.
Strawberry Acai Base
- Combine white grape juice and sliced strawberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Lower to a simmer and let mixture simmer for 10 minutes, until strawberries are breaking down.
- Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Press down on strawberries with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard strawberries.
- Pour mixture back into saucepan and return to low heat. Stir in acai powder, green coffee extract powder, and passionfruit powder until powders have dissolved as much as possible (acai powder is tough to fully dissolve, so there will be some granules remaining).
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Return to heatproof bowl or pour into large mason jar and put in fridge to cool completely.
- This recipe for Strawberry Acai Base makes enough for about 4 full drinks if using ½ cup of base per drink.
- The base should keep in your fridge for about 2 weeks.
- If you don't want caffeine in your Refresher, you can leave out the green coffee extract as it doesn't change the flavor.
- If you don't have acai powder or passion fruit powder, the Refresher will still be delicious!
- Mix strawberry acai base with lemonade for a sweet, tart drink or mix with sweetened coconut milk for a pink drink.
View Web Story for this recipe.