We all have a little King Kong inside of us: an otherwise docile, gentle animal that lives in our minds that, when he’s happy, he does his cool gorilla thing. Probably eats bananas and swings in his hammock while catching up on Darwin.
However, when we get dehydrated, that inner King Kong gets angry, causing us to go bonkers, resulting in an array of side effects including (but not limited to): throwing random objects, running through traffic-filled streets, and impulsively roaring at the top of the Empire State Building. (This explains the curious behavior patterns of many New York tourists.)
Thankfully, Starbucks noticed this public dehydration problem and, hoping to relieve many of our inner King Kongs from lashing out, released their line of Refreshers and, in a city that has more Starbucks than grocery stores, I decided to stop in and give this new Valencia Orange Refreshers a go.
Tart, cold, and icy as all get-outs, “refreshing” stands as the best descriptor one can pin to this golden-hued sucker.
James Bond would appreciate that the preparation for Refreshers require it to be shaken, not stirred. The experience of slurping this bad boy down is akin to taking a Valencia, a Clementine, and a naval orange, smooshing them in a compressor, and creating a sugary fruit juice box from it.
Taken as a whole, it tastes of Tang or a gentler Sunny-D with a hint of overripe peach at the end, which may or may not be the implied “apricot” mentioned in the description. There’s also a tinge of bitterness and, if I close my eyes, a tart zing, most likely from some combo of the orange peel floating around and caffeine. It’s a nice dimension to what would otherwise be a strictly sweet drink.
Despite the orange-filled nature of this mélange, not a hint of pulp can be found, something my pulp-free spirit is pleased to discover. It does, however, come with a slice of Valencia orange. My specimen was a slender, middle-of-the-road slice, which was nice to gnaw on as I trotted my lightly caffeinated, 80-percent-Vitamin-C-fortified derriere through the streets of Midtown.
If you’re a fearless daredevil (and I know you are), you have the semi-secret option of mixing this with other Refreshers or cold tea. If you add a bit of the Berry Hibiscus and/or Passion Tea, it further emphasizes the tart/bitter dimension that plays off the sugary sweetness of the overall Hi-C-orangeade effect taking place within. I’m not sure why it’s so excellent, but, just like why “Y” is only sometimes a vowel, some things are best left unexplained.
Post-gulp, the half cubes of ice are great for crunching, although, in my case, many melted in the 94-degree heat of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which dulled the flavor. If you want a stronger concentration of orange-juice-box flavor, consider skipping the ice.
Overall, this is a success in my books. I can’t quite distinguish the specific Valencia orange-ness of it, but I don’t give a hoot. It tastes like grit-free Tang, and every growing girl needs Tang. The price point is a bit too steep for my liking, but it’s worth it for an occasional cool-off on a hot day. Starbucks mentions that these will only be around for a limited time, but I’m hoping they’ll end up being like a Macy’s One Day Sale: they say it’s for a limited time, but it keeps going and going and going…
(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces (Tall) – 70 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein, 80% Vitamin C.)
Item: Valencia Orange Starbucks Refreshers
Purchased Price: $3.54
Size: 12 oz. (Tall)
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Grit-free Tang. Juice boxes. Vitamin C. Lightly caffeinated. Crunchy ice. Freedom to mix it with other Refreshers. Happy gorillas in my head.
Cons: Orange flavor may hinge too sweet if you’re not into Tang. Limited time. Pricey. Ice dulls the flavor. Angry King Kong. Commercials for Macy’s One Day Sales.