Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Starbucks testing green coffee drinks


refreshersStarbucks will begin testing summer drinks with a base of green, unroasted coffee in San Diego today as it works on new products to drive sales and put more distance between itself and rivals like McDonald’s — which is rolling out the kinds of drinks that Starbucks built its business on.

The drinks, called “Refreshers,” will be offered in cool lime and very berry hibiscus flavors. They are made with fruit and are low in calories and caffeine, said Julie Felss Masino, Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage. 

Ingredients include a “flavor neutral” powdered extract made from unroasted green coffee and formulated to have less of a caffeine kick than regular coffee, Felss Masino said.

“It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” she said, noting that the test is a response to customer requests for more “overtly” thirst-quenching drinks.