A staple of Starbucks’ secret menu, the Pink Drink quickly rose to social media fame and became an official menu item. This Instagram-worthy drink features real strawberries, a refreshing coconut milk base, and a strawberry and acai base.
Does the Pink Drink have caffeine? Let’s find out.
A Lightly Caffeinated Beverage
Starbucks’ Pink Drink contains some caffeine, but it’s nowhere near as much as a regular coffee. According to Starbucks, a 16-ounce Pink Drink contains 45 mg of caffeine.
A cup of black coffee that you brew at home typically contains around 100mg of caffeine for eight ounces.
The 16-ounce cup size is the default option when ordering the Pink Drink, but the caffeine content will vary if you request a different size for this drink:
- A Demi or 3 oz Pink Drink will contain a little over 8 mg of caffeine.
- A Short or 8oz cup will have around 22 mg of caffeine.
- A Tall or 12oz drink will come with just under 34 mg of caffeine.
- You’ll get around 56 mg of caffeine in a Venti or 20oz cup.
- A Trenta or 30-ounce Pink Drink has around 84 mg of caffeine.
The FDA recommends drinking 400 mg of caffeine a day as long as you’re healthy. However, certain health conditions and medication can make consuming caffeine unsafe.
Overall, Starbucks’ Pink Drink can be a good alternative to your usual cup of coffee if you want to cut back on caffeine, but you should watch out for the high sugar content of the drink.
Where Does the Pink Drink Caffeinated Content Comes From?
The Pink Drink gets its unique flavor from the strawberry acai base used to craft the drink. This strawberry acai base mixes different natural ingredients to create a fresh and fruity taste, such as white grape juice concentrate and other fruit and vegetable extracts selected to give the drink its unique color.
The caffeine content comes from the addition of natural green coffee flavor in the strawberry acai base.
What Is Green Coffee?
Green coffee is a mild version of the popular warm beverage. Some will describe the flavor as grassy and less bitter than black coffee.
Green coffee comes from unroasted coffee beans. While the caffeine content doesn’t change during the roasting process, roasting coffee beans cause their water content to evaporate.
As a result, roasted coffee beans release more caffeine during the brewing process. Green coffee beans typically result in coffee with a caffeine content that is 25 to 50% lower. Since these beans release less caffeine, other compounds become more noticeable, including the compounds responsible for the fresh and grassy taste of green coffee.
Green coffee has some health benefits. Unroasted coffee beans release chlorogenic acid, a compound that can help with managing diabetes and protecting the nervous system.
How Much Green Coffee Is in the Pink Drink?
The exact quantity of green coffee present in a Pink Drink is unknown. Starbucks lists this ingredient in its nutritional information for the drink, but the exact quantities are a secret to protect the unique recipe for the strawberry acai base.
However, Starbucks lists natural green coffee flavor instead of green coffee, suggesting that a small quantity is present in the drink to infuse it with a grassy flavor.
The Downsides of Sugar and Caffeine
The sugar content of the Pink Drink is an important consideration because consuming caffeine and sugar at the same time can have negative effects on your health.
In the short term, the combination of sugar and caffeine can give you an energy boost and satisfy your sweet cravings. Both ingredients are stimulants that activate the reward centers in your brain and make you feel good.
However, consuming caffeine and sugar together can emphasize the crash that often follows after drinking coffee.
You can experience fatigue as caffeine stops acting on your nervous system, and the sugar high will subside and lead to low levels of blood sugar.
How Much Sugar Is in the Pink Drink?
Starbucks’ Pink Drink contains 25 g of sugar if you get the Venti or 16-ounce cup. This sugar content comes from a mix of natural and artificial sources.
The good news is that Starbucks uses Rebaudioside A in its strawberry acai base. Rebaudioside A is a purified compound extracted from Stevia leaves, a natural sweetener that is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Even though the Pink Drink tastes extremely sweet, it doesn’t contain as much sugar as you might think.
However, the strawberry acai base still contains sugar and juice concentrates that can include a mix of glucose and fructose naturally found in fruits.
The coconut milk added to the drink also contains cane sugar, coconut water concentrate, coconut cream, and other natural flavors that might contain sugar.
Sugar cane is a slightly healthier alternative compared to other forms of sugar thanks to its antioxidant content, but the exact quantities of sugar cane compared to other sources of sugar are unknown.
The freeze-dried strawberries added to the drink are another source of sugar. A strawberry contains around 7 g of sugar on average.
The American Heart Association recommends 36 g of sugar a day for men and 25 g for women. With its 25 g of sugar, a Pink Drink can have you reach your daily recommended sugar intake in no time.
Note: If you love the Pink Drink but want to reduce your sugar intake, you can request a customized drink that replaces the strawberry acai base with some sugar-free passion tango iced tea. You’ll still get sugar from the coconut milk, but the drink will be much healthier.
Customizing Your Pink Drink
Customizing your Pink Drink with add-ons has become a popular trend on social media. Among favorite add-ons, you’ll find heavy cream, vanilla cream cold foam, flavored syrups, white mocha sauce, or strawberry puree.
These additional ingredients don’t contain caffeine, but they will increase the sugar content of the drink.
However, adding matcha powder to your Pink Drink will increase its caffeine content since Starbucks’ matcha powder contains about 27 mg of caffeine per scoop.
With 45 mg of caffeine for 16 ounces, Starbucks’ Pink Drink is a lightly caffeinated beverage that can give you an energy boost while satisfying your sweet cravings. However, the high sugar content can emphasize the caffeine crash effect since several ingredients in the strawberry acai base, and coconut milk contain sugar.
We recommend enjoying a Pink Drink as an occasional treat if you’re a fan of this popular sweet beverage!