I wondered why Starbucks named its new line of energy drinks, BAYA, so I went looking for possible meanings. Merriam-Webster says it’s an East Indian weaverbird that eats seeds and insects and can be destructive to grain crops. Urban Dictionary says Baya is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. Google Translate says “baya” is Spanish for berry, and that definition probably makes the most sense since these beverages get their caffeine from the berry-like coffee fruit.
Wow! Look at me being all Dora the Explorer or Sesame Street-like by teaching a Spanish word.
While BAYA is its official name, I want to call these Starbucks Refreshers 2.0. There are similarities and differences between these and the, I think, discontinued canned Refreshers line. Both are fruity drinks in slim cans that get their caffeine from coffee but without the flavor of coffee. However, while the Refreshers had around 50 milligrams of caffeine per can, BAYA Energy offers 160 milligrams and is more carbonated. On the flip side, these have just 10%-12% fruit juice, while Refreshers had 25%.
BAYA Energy is available in three flavors — Mango Guava, Raspberry Lime, and Pineapple Passionfruit.
Let’s start with Mango Guava. Looking at the fruit combination, I thought this would be my favorite. However, it ended up being the one I liked least, mainly because of its initial strong, slightly off-putting taste that can be best described as an overly ripe fruitiness. But when that subsides, there’s a pleasant mango flavor. However, it’s the same vicious cycle with every sip — an off-putting taste followed by nice mango-ness. Look, it’s not horrible enough to make me spit it out, but it’s not how I’d like a beverage to start. Maybe that unknown fruitiness is the guava. But if it is, it’s not pleasing and not recognizable as that.
The berry in Raspberry Lime is immediately noticeable when I take a sip, but my taste buds can’t detect the citrus. It’s described as “a spritz of lime” on the can, but I can’t taste it, and if you told me this was only raspberry flavored, I wouldn’t question it. But I don’t mind the lack of lime because the pleasant and slightly tart raspberry is enough to make this a solid variety.
Pineapple Passionfruit is my favorite of the bunch. But, full disclosure, I’ve been quite positive about recent pineapple-flavored beverages. Its sweet pineapple aroma is as potent as its sweet pineapple flavor, making it a pleasure to drink. The can says it has “a hint of passionfruit,” and while I don’t notice it with the pineapple, it shows up somewhat in the aftertaste. But, like the Raspberry Lime, the secondary flavor is so mild that I wonder why Starbucks even bothered adding it.
Now, with all that said. There’s something about all three varieties that bothers me, and it’s something that, I think, I was concerned about with the canned Starbucks Refreshers. There’s a noticeable flavor flatness. The fruitiness doesn’t pop like the energy drinks from Monster or Rockstar. Granted, those probably use artificial flavors.
Starbucks BAYA Energy’s 160 milligrams of caffeine did give me a nice jolt of energy, and two-thirds of the varieties are tasty, but that’s not enough to compel me to purchase it over my usual Monster, which is more flavorful and in a larger can. But that’s if I’m at the store and had to pick between the two. If I’m at a Starbucks and want a non-coffee pick-me-up, I’d pick this up. Well, not the Mango Guava one.
Purchased Price: $31.79 (12-pack)
Size: 12 fl oz can/12-pack
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Mango Guava), 6 out of 10 (Raspberry Lime), 7 out of 10 (Pineapple Passionfruit)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Mango Guava – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Raspberry Lime – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (16 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Pineapple Passionfruit – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.