Homemade Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher gives you all the delicious flavor of the store-bought beverage at the fraction of the price. You’re going to love this DIY copycat recipe as it tastes and looks just like the real thing! Plus you can make it healthier and customize how much sweetness or caffeine you prefer.
Strawberry acai is my favorite summer drink to order at Starbucks, right along with a delicious Mango Dragonfruit Refresher! You can easily turn this DIY strawberry acai drink into a Pink Drink by adding coconut milk; or make a Strawberry Acai Lemonade Refresher by substituting lemonade for water. All the ingredients can be found at your local grocery stores or Amazon.
I love this fruity refresher from Starbucks coffee shop, as it’s loaded with strawberry and acai berry flavors. But I’d like to make my OWN homemade strawberry açai base using fresh strawberries. After watching how a Starbucks Barista made it, I did a few experiments. Now I’m completely satisfied with my version and it tastes just like the one from Starbucks!
The best part? You can make it healthier and adjust according to your own personal desired sweet level.
What is a Strawberry Acai Refresher?
Strawberry acai refresher is a popular drink at Starbucks. According to its official website, it’s an iced beverage with “sweet strawberry flavors accented by passion fruit and açaí notes, caffeinated with green coffee extract—a welcoming sweet spot of refreshement.”
This iced beverage has a nice light red color, which mostly comes from strawberries. A Grande strawberry acai refresher has about 90 calories.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Original strawberry acai refresher from Starbucks contains freeze-dried strawberries, ice, water, sugar, white grape juice concentrate, citric acid, natural flavors, and green coffee flavor, and fruit and vegetable juice.
My version uses some easily accessible ingredients to create an equally delicious flavor combination: fresh strawberries, acai powder, white grape juice, simple syrup, ice, and water, and optional green tea (see photo below).
- Best strawberries to use: As one of the star ingredients for this recipe, strawberries add the refreshing fruity flavor to this drink while giving it a bright red color. I find that fresh strawberries taste best. Alternatively, you can use freeze-dried strawberry powder or freeze-dried whole strawberries.
- Acai Berry Powder: Acai has a flavor somewhere between wild berries and chocolate. It adds a wonderful berry flavor to the drink. I ordered the acai powder online, and you can also use acai juice for this recipe.
- White Grape Juice: It adds a refreshing, sweet, and crisp flavor to the drink. They’re available at your local grocery stores. You can substitute other fruity juice such as apple juice. Just make sure to avoid the ones with dark colors.
- Simple syrup: I like simple syrup for easy mixing. You can also substitute honey or sugar. Alternatively use stevia for a healthy drink.
- Green Tea: The store-bought version uses green coffee extract, but I didn’t feel like getting the expensive green coffee bean powder. I substitute green tea to keep it simple. You can skip this ingredient and it won’t affect the flavor.
You’ll also need some cold water and ice cubes.
How to Make a Strawberry Acai at Home
1. Prepare the green tea ahead of time: pour hot water over the green tea bag.
2. Steep the tea for 2 minutes. Then let it chill in the refrigerator. (You can skip these 2 steps if you use the green coffee powder or you’d like to make a caffeine-free drink.)
3. Slice strawberries into halves and add them into a blender together with 1 cup of water.
4. Blend until smooth and then strain them through a fine mesh.
5. Whisk together acai berry powder and 1/2 cup water until dissolved.
6. Add açai mixture, white grape juice, and chilled green tea to the strawberry juice. Mix well, and now you have a delicious strawberry acai base!
7. In a large pitcher with ice cubes, pour in the strawberry acai base and the rest of the water. Stir and mix well. Add simple syrup or sugar to your desired sweetness.
8. Fill the glass about 1/3 full of ice and pour the mixture into the glass. Garnish with a scoop of fresh strawberry slices and serve immediately!
Tips for Making the Perfect Strawberry Acai Drink
- Chill your green tea completely before making the drink.
- The regular strawberry acai drink has a light red color when you use water. If you use coconut water, the drink will become creamy with a soft pink color.
- Mix the acai powder with water until it’s completely dissolved. It may take a few minutes but it’s important to dissolve the powder.
- If you don’t like the tiny black particles from the acai powder, strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
- You can customize the level of sweetness and caffeine of your drink. Start with less amount of syrup and slowly add more. Taste and adjust for the perfect flavor. You can skip the green tea for a caffeine-free drink.
Strawberry acai refresher with lemonade
If you love lemonade, you can replace the water with lemonade. Depending on the lemonade you use, you’ll need to adjust the amount slightly to thin out the flavor.
Strawberry Acai Refresher with Coconut Milk: Pink Drink
Pink drink is another popular drink at Starbucks. It’s actually a strawberry acai refresher made with coconut milk instead of water. You can substitute soy milk or almond milk, but I would give coconut milk a try first because it adds creaminess and depth to the drink, making it absolutely amazing!
Coconut milk beverage works better than canned coconut milk for this recipe, as some canned coconut milk contains solid chunky lumps of white stuff that could be unsightly in the drink.
Healthy Strawberry Acai
Replace simple syrup with stevia, and substitute water for grape juice for a completely healthy beverage!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is strawberry acai refresher good? Yes, both strawberries and acai have many health benefits. When making this drink at home, you can make it even healthier by using high-quality ingredients and lower the sugar level.
- Does a strawberry acai drink have caffeine? The strawberry acai refresher from Starbucks is lightly caffeinated. A grande cup has about 50 milligrams of caffeine. For a homemade version, you can skip green tea and make this drink completely caffeine-free.
- Why does my drink have tiny black stuff flowing around? These are from the acai powder. If you like to have a perfect clear look, you can remove them by straining the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
If you like this recipe try these out:
If you’ve tried this Strawberry Acai Drink then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know. I love hearing from you!
Strawberry Acai Refresher Recipe (+VIDEO)
- 1/2 pound fresh strawberries stems removed and halved
- 4 cups water (divided)
- 3/4 teaspoon freeze-dried acai powder
- 1 ¾ cups white grape juice
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup (or sugar or honey, you can adjust the sweetness by using more or less)
- ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons optional green tea (chilled, you can add more if you'd like to have more caffeine, or skip this ingredient for a caffeine-free drink)
- Place a green tea packet into a cup, and pour hot water over the packet.
- Steep the tea for 2 minutes and let it sit until cool. (You can prepare this ahead of time and chill it in the refrigerator.)
- Prepare the strawberries by removing green leaves and cut them into halves.
- Add strawberries and 1 cup of water into a blender.
- Blend until smooth and then strain them through a fine mesh.
- Whisk together acai powder and 1/2 cup of water until dissolved. It takes a few minutes for the powder to dissolve completely.
- Add the white grape juice, acai mixture, and chilled green tea to strawberry juice. Mix to combine.
- (Optional) If you don’t like the the tiny black particles from the acai powder, you can strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (This step will give your drink a more beautiful clear look.)
- In a large pitcher with ice cubes, add the strawberry mixture and the rest of the water.
- Then add simple syrup to your desired sweetness. You can also use sugar or honey. Start with small amount, taste and gradually add more. Mix well.
- Fill each glass 1/3 full of ice cubes and a scoop of strawberry slices. Pour the drink into the glass and serve immediately!
- If you make this ahead, keep the pitcher in the fridge. Gently stir or shake before serving.
- To make Pink Drink: replace water with coconut milk.
- To make Strawberry Acai Lemonade Refresher: replace water with lemonade.
UPDATED JULY 8, 2020: This post was originally published on May 29, 2020. We added more details to help you make the best strawberry acai refresher ever. Enjoy!