I tried Starbucks' new line of spicy drinks, and I'd order 2 of them again

I tried Starbucks' new line of spicy drinks, and I'd order 2 of them again
  • Starbucks has released three new drinks — Spicy Pineapple, Spicy Dragonfruit, and Spicy Strawberry.

  • It also released a new Spicy Cream Cold Foam. All four feature the chain's spicy chili powder blend.

  • I didn't enjoy the spicy cold foam, but I would order the Spicy Strawberry Refresher again.

"Want me to get you a glass of water with that?" my barista kindly asked, eyeing the four concoctions laid out before me.

It might sound like a strange offer at Starbucks, but these were no ordinary drinks.

These were the coffee giant's new spicy creations — and they're definitely bringing the heat.

Starbucks is kicking off spring with a line of Spicy Lemonade Refreshers, as well as a new Spicy Cream Cold Foam.

Starbucks Spicy Lemonade Refreshers
Starbucks' new spicy Refreshers are available now. Anneta Konstantinides/Business Insider

Starbucks is turning up the heat on three of its Refreshers with the Spicy Dragonfruit, Spicy Pineapple, and Spicy Strawberry, which were inspired by the ongoing "swicy" (sweet and spicy) food trend. The New York Times predicted "swicy food" would be huge in 2022, but it's had enduring appeal thanks to TikTok, plus new products from big brands and fast-food chains.

Each flavor features Starbucks' new spicy chili powder blend, and you can modify the amount of heat by asking for light, regular, or extra in your drink.

So, how did they actually taste? Let's find out.

4. Spicy Cream Cold Foam

Starbucks Spicy Cream Cold Foam
Starbucks' Spicy Cream Cold Foam with its original cold brew. Anneta Konstantinides/Business Insider

Starbucks' new Spicy Cream Cold Foam is made with the chain's classic cold foam and the spicy chili powder blend.

Flecks of chili powder were sprinkled throughout the cold foam, which was a few shades lighter than red pepper hummus. I was surprised by how thick and dense the foam tasted, markedly different from the light and fluffy texture of Starbucks' vanilla sweet cream cold foam. I could taste the heat of the chili, but there wasn't much else to the flavor. The cold foam didn't enhance the cold brew coffee underneath — it was just kind of there.

I'd be intrigued to try the Spicy Cream Cold Foam with a different Starbucks drink, like the Chocolate Cream Cold Brew or Blonde Vanilla Latte, to see if it works well with sweeter drinks. But when it comes to a regular cold brew, I would skip this new addition.

3. Spicy Pineapple

Starbucks Spicy Pineapple Refresher
Starbucks' Spicy Pineapple. Anneta Konstantinides/Business Insider

Starbucks' Spicy Pineapple Refresher features flavors of pineapple and passionfruit shaken with lemonade, real pineapple pieces, and the spicy chili powder blend.

I tried the Pineapple Passionfruit Refreshers with lemonade when it was first released in June 2022. Starbucks accurately described the drink as "sunshine in a cup" thanks to its bright and bold yellow hue.

The Spicy Pineapple is more of a sunset in a cup with its pretty golden-orange shade, but I had the same flavor issue with both drinks. The combined tartness from the pineapple and passion fruit overpowers the overall flavor, and adding that extra dose of heat makes the drink taste even more intense. I loved the juicy bites of real pineapple, but I think this drink needs a bit of sweetness.

2. Spicy Dragonfruit

Starbucks Spicy Dragonfruit Refresher
Starbucks' Spicy Dragonfruit. Anneta Konstantinides/Business Insider

Starbucks' Spicy Dragonfruit Refresher is made with mango and dragonfruit flavors, lemonade, real dragonfruit pieces, and the spicy chili powder blend.

The Spicy Dragonfruit still has the original drink's beautifully vivid purple color, and it's definitely the prettiest of the three new spicy Refreshers. It was also the first spicy Starbucks drink I tried, so I was a bit surprised when the heat of the chili powder hit me so quickly. But I was into it!

Mango and Tajín is a dream combination, so I'm not surprised that the chili powder works so well in the Spicy Dragonfruit. The sweetness of the mango helps balance that heat, which has a comfortable kick that adds some nice depth to the overall flavor.

It's a level of spice that dances on your tongue —  but with ballet slippers, not tap shoes.

1. Spicy Strawberry

Starbucks Spicy Strawberry Refresher
Starbucks' Spicy Strawberry. Anneta Konstantinides/Business Insider

Starbucks' Spicy Strawberry Refresher features the flavors of strawberry and acai, lemonade, the chili powder blend, and real pieces of strawberry.

"I can't believe how much I like this," I wrote in my notes after taking my first sip. The drink just really nails that delicate balance between spicy and sweet. It's fun, playful, and delicious — and instantly had me dreaming of margaritas.

"If hot girl summer was in a Starbucks cup," I declared in my notes after several more sips.

I was apprehensive when I first heard about Starbucks' foray into spicy territory, but I think the chain has delivered some really fun twists on its classic Refreshers. And I know I'll be sipping on the Spicy Dragonfruit and Spicy Strawberry drinks again — and maybe pouring some tequila into them.

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