Is Starbucks' blue tropical refresher even real? TikTok trend debunked

Yasmine Leung October 11, 2021
Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images


A mysterious blue drink called the Tropical Refresher from Starbucks has been going viral on TikTok, but is the beverage even real? How did it become a trend?

Food trends on TikTok

TikTok isn’t just a platform for cool transitions and dance trends, it’s also a good place for foodies searching for the latest and most delicious creations out there, such as feta pasta and dalgona coffee.

Starbucks drinks are a continuous on social media thanks to the endless customisations the Seattle coffee chain offers, prompting customers to share their secret menu.

A blue drink known as a Tropical Refresher has been spreading on TikTok but when consumers attempted to order it at their local branch of Starbucks, they were greeted by baristas with a confused look on their face.

What is the Starbucks Tropical Refresher? Does it exist?

No, the Starbucks blue Tropical Refresher doesn’t exist and neither is it on a secret menu. Starbucks has no blue ingredients, therefore it’s impossible for baristas to create the drink.

Business Insider reports many workers have been asked to create the non-existent beverage, which originated as a joke on a Facebook page for Starbucks baristas.

The video intended to poke fun at the elaborate drink orders baristas receive thanks to secret menus, but it became a real request when the clip was leaked on TikTok

Comments on the platform claim the blue liquid is Urnex, a cleaning product for coffee-making equipment, or simply Gatorade in a cup.

A Starbucks spokesperson said: “This is not a real drink and not available in our stores. We have rigorous food safety procedures in place of which use of a chemical in a beverage violates these standards.”

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Have you tried the new tropical refresher from Starbucks? It is out of this world!🌴🦩#starbucks #fyp #foryou #foryourpage #quarantinethings #coffee

♬ original sound – Brandi Shalon

Colourful drinks that are actually available at Starbucks

If you still want to try some colourful beverages from the famous coffee chain you’ve got options, even though they might not be as vibrant as the fake Tropical Refresher.

Blue drink

Also dubbed as the blue drink, it’s actually more of a light blue purple colour. Just ask for a passionfruit tea made with soy milk and vanilla syrup. Another variation is to add vanilla bean powder and raspberry syrup instead of vanilla.

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Orange drink

The orange drink can be achieved by ordering orange mango juice with coconut milk and vanilla bean powder.

Purple drink

The beautiful purple shade is made from a blend of passion iced tea, soy milk, vanilla syrup and scoops of blackberries.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.