REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Energy Beverages

Who would’ve thought Starbucks and Dunkin’ would be competing for our cash with fruity energy drinks this year? I didn’t have that on my 2024 Fast Food BINGO card. Earlier this year, Dunkin’ pushed 144 milligrams of caffeine into our bloodstreams with its SPARKD’ Energy Drinks. Now, Starbucks is helping keep America energized with its line of Iced Energy Beverages.

The sugar-free drink debuted with three flavors: Melon Burst, Tropical Citrus, and Frozen Tropical Citrus Iced Energy with Strawberry Puree. While the first two are permanent additions to the menu, the third one is only available for a limited time and exclusive to the Starbucks app. This review will cover the first two.

Starbucks says the Melon Burst Iced Energy features melon and cucumber flavors balanced with Passion Tango Tea. If you’re unfamiliar with the chain’s Passion Tango Tea, it’s made with a blend of hibiscus, lemongrass, and apple, creating a beverage with the color of passion. For a drink called “Melon Burst,” it sure doesn’t have a burst of melon. Nor does it have a noticeable cucumber flavor. Both come out a bit in the aftertaste, but I mostly detected the flavors in the Passion Tango Tea. It’s not a bad tasting beverage since I enjoy hibiscus teas, but I was hoping for more melon.

Starbucks’ Tropical Citrus Iced Energy combines passionfruit and citrus flavors with green tea. There’s a slight tartness from the passionfruit flavor, but I’m not sure I taste anything citrusy, which I guess, depending on the citrus fruit, could also cause the tartness. It starts fruity, and the green tea becomes more noticeable right before I gulp it down. Thoughts of Arizona Green Tea came to mind while drinking this, but as a fan of the cheap canned beverage, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If I were to repurchase an Iced Energy, I’d get this flavor over the Melon Burst.

With that said, I wish these had a stronger fruitiness. Their flavors don’t pop like they do with Dunkin’s energy drink offerings. Heck, Starbucks’ Refreshers are more enticing. I guess I’m disappointed because I’m used to zero-sugar Monster and Red Bull varieties being flavorful despite having zero calories and artificial sweeteners. But on the plus side, while these Starbucks beverages also use artificial sweeteners, I didn’t notice the sucralose and ace-k in them.

While these don’t pulverize your taste buds with flavor, they do pack a heck of a caffeinated punch. Melon Burst has 180 milligrams of caffeine, and Tropical Citrus has 205 milligrams. Those numbers are for the venti size, which is the ONLY size these drinks come in. I wonder if the reasoning for this is because of what happened with Panera’s Charged Lemonade.

If you want a lightly carbonated, lightly fruity, easy-to-drink, and heavily caffeinated pick-me-up that doesn’t make you feel like you need to brush your teeth afterward, Starbucks’ Iced Energy Drinks will satisfy your taste buds, bloodstream, and teeth.

Purchased Price: $6.25 each
Size: Venti (24 fl oz)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Melon Burst), 6 out of 10 (Tropical Citrus)
Nutrition Facts: (Venti) Melon Burst – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 180 milligrams of caffeine. Tropical Citrus – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 205 milligrams of caffeine.

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