Seeing stars

As someone who does a lot of writing, I’ve come to frequent certain coffee shops in the greater Charlotte area, which is ironic because I don’t drink coffee. I do, however, drink a lot of tea – specifically earl grey and chai. Read: I am a tea snob.

If I’m picking up a latte from a local barista, I can usually trust that they’re giving me milk devoid of growth hormones which is comforting. But what about the days when I’m running late and Starbucks, conveniently situated on every corner ever, is the quickest option?

Let’s all shudder together at my guilty secret: sometimes I am a Starbucks customer.

Until recently, the only reason I felt bad choosing the almighty mermaid looking lady over a quirky midtown joint was because I like supporting local businesses. Then I started researching just what goes into numerous Starbucks beverages. It’s scary y’all.

The blog Real Food Family did a simple breakdown of the “Refreshers” which, although advertised as a healthy choice, aren’t actually that healthy (surprise).

While Starbucks makes an admirable effort here, using stevia instead of added sugar as well as ginseng and fruit juice, the company markets these drinks as natural, beat-the-heat beverages. When asked how the refreshers are made, one barista explained she uses a base mix. Ambiguity is not your best friend when trying to eat cleanly. Goodness only knows what goes into a base mix.

Ultimately, the main problem with these drinks is that they’re supposed to be lightly caffeinated alternatives to your cafe americano or your caramel macchiato. I’m not a coffee making genius, but I’ve learned that the longer you roast a coffee bean, the less caffeine it contains. If these refreshers consist of green coffee beans, this means the beans aren’t roasted at all, thereby containing more caffeine. The ginseng and vitamins in the refreshers are a form of natural energy, but again, when concentrated they give a strong burst of artificial energy that can result in all manner of unpleasant symptoms – the worst for me being shakiness.

So how do you avoid being misled at America’s favorite coffee emporium? Do you skip Starbucks altogether? Do you simply order a hot tea and avoid the extra fuss? Comment your go-to drink routine below!


Thanks to for helpful information!


One thought on “Seeing stars

  1. Pingback: Option b | Cayisa's Blog

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