This Kiwi Starfruit Refresher Starbucks Copycat is easy, delicious, and completely natural! Using just a few easy to find ingredients, you can make a kiwi refresher that’s even better than the original. Add bonus – add a splash of coconut milk and you’ve got yourself a Star Drink!
I’m a big fan of the Starbucks line of refresher beverages, and all of the fun non-coffee drinks they put out in the spring and summer.
As a recipe developer, I love reverse engineering drinks like this and being able to make all of my favorites at home.
But because the first step in the process is checking out the ingredient list for the original, it usually brings my attention to the lack of real ingredients used in popular restaurant drinks.
It makes sense for a fast-paced coffee chain to use pre-made mixes or “natural flavors” over fresh fruits, but luckily for us at home, we can take a few extra minutes to make our drink with real, natural ingredients.
Ingredients in the original Starbucks drink:
- Kiwi Starfruit Refresher Base (water, sugar, white grape juice concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid, natural green coffee flavor, fruit juice for color, Rebaudiside A, turmeric for color
- Freeze dried kiwi
Quickly skimming the list, we can see that there isn’t actually any kiwi or star fruit juice in the drink.
There’s some dried kiwi floating around in the drink, if they make it for you that way. For some reason, whenever I’ve ordered this, I haven’t had any fruit pieces, just a plain green drink.
If you’ve ever eaten some fresh starfruit (also known as carambola), you probably noticed that it’s very mild, with an almost apple-like flavor. When I first tried the Kiwi Starfruit Refresher, I actually thought it was made with apple juice!
Instead, it’s made with white grape juice, which also has a mild fruity flavor that’s very comparable to the flavor of starfruit. Starfruit really is very subtle and sort of non-distinct.
The sweet and sour flavor of kiwi is present in the ‘natural flavors’, the tartness that citric acid brings, and a green hue from added fruit juices and a little turmeric.
If you’re wondering about that Rebaudiside A (also known as Reb A) it’s just a natural sweetener that’s derived from the stevia plant.
DIY ingredients list:
- Fresh kiwis
- White grape juice (100% juice)
- Lime (optional)
- Green tea (optional, for caffeine)
My ingredient list is much shorter, but the drink tastes remarkably similar!
By pressing the juice from fresh kiwis with a citrus squeezer, we get concentrated kiwi flavor and that gorgeous green hue.
White grape juice fills in for the starfruit. Starfruits are not very juicy, so it would be hard to try to extract their flavor into a quick drink at home. (Although you could make an easy syrup from them by following the same cold process as my peach syrup recipe.)
Starfruit isn’t the easiest to find year round, while white grape juice is available anywhere you can buy juice. Just make sure to buy unsweetened, 100% grape juice if you want the best flavor and quality.
Depending on the ripeness and sweetness of your fresh kiwis, you might want to add a squeeze of lime juice to brighten things up. This is optional. If you tend to like your drinks on the sweeter side, feel free to skip it.
Water or green tea
One of the greatest things about the Starbucks refreshers is that they have a little caffeine (about half as much as a cup of coffee).
That little bit of caffeine is perfect for getting me through the afternoon slump. To add a little caffeine to this drink, you can opt to use cooled green or white tea instead of water.
Brew double strength tea and allow it to cool first. If you want to keep it caffeine-free and kid-friendly, just use water.
How to juice the kiwis
I found it very easy to use my regular elbow-style citrus squeezer to extract the juices from the kiwis.
I placed a fine mesh strainer over a jar and juiced the kiwis over the strainer and into the jar first, then measured the juice for individual drinks from there. One kiwi yielded roughly a half ounce of juice using this method.
If you don’t have a citrus squeezer or reamer, you could blend kiwis in a blender and then strain the juice from the solids and seeds.
Shake it up
I recommend shaking this drink with ice for the best flavor and texture. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, use a mason jar with a screw-on lid. Measure the kiwi juice, grape juice, and water or tea into the jar and fill it about ¾ with ice.
Screw on the lid and shake until the glass is very cold, about 10 seconds or so. Strain the drink into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with fresh kiwi and mint, if you like.
Make it a Star Drink
Transform this Kiwi Starfruit Refresher into a creamy Star Drink by replacing 1 ounce of the water or tea with 1 ounce of coconut milk.
You may also like:
- Pineapple Matcha Drink
- Guava Passion Fruit Drink
- Peach Green Tea Lemonade
- Fassionola Soda
- Spicy Grapefruit & Honey Soda
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Kiwi Starfruit Refresher (Starbucks Copycat)
- 1 oz fresh kiwi juice (2 tbsp)
- 4 oz 100% white grape juice (½ cup)
- 2-3 oz water or cooled green tea (¼ cup)
- ½ oz fresh lime juice (1 tbsp) (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mason jar and fill it ¾ with ice.
- Shake until chilled, then strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with kiwi and mint, if desired.