Starbucks Summer Menu review: Summer Skies, Boba Drinks, Pineapple Cloud Cake and more

The new menu is here with popping boba, new treats, and new drinks.
Starbucks Summer Menu Lineup
Starbucks Summer Menu Lineup /

Starbucks' new Summer menu is here, exploding onto the scene with popping boba, new treats, and more new drinks. While it’s perhaps not as bold as the recent swicy menu – popping boba is so I don’t know, four, five years ago? – you’ve still got some intriguing additions like the Summer Skies Drink, and the Pineapple Cloud Cake.

Though the new menu only dropped yesterday (May 7, 2024), we here at Guilty Eats have already hit up our local Starbucks to try a good chunk of this menu. With that in mind, let’s review, and break down what you need to head to the chain to test out yourself, and what’s a big ol’ skip.

Summer-Berry Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers Beverage

Starbucks Summer Berry Refreshers /

Full disclosure, there is also a basic Summer-Berry Starbucks Refresher on the menu; but that’s the base for the Lemonade, and Summer Skies Drink (see below), so it felt like I could get the general gist without drinking three beverages in one sitting. Instead, I had two in one sitting, and another one today (also see below).

The basic Summer-Berry Refresher, per Starbucks, is “a sweet and summery blend of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry flavors shaken with ice and poured over a layer of new popping raspberry flavored pearls.” The Lemonade includes all that and shakes it with, you know, lemonade. 

If you’ve had a Refresher from Starbucks, you know what to expect here, but essentially this is berry lemonade, and there’s nothing bad about that. Overall this was refreshing per the name, not to tart, not too sweet. There’s a good balance here to this drink that I appreciated.

Let’s talk “raspberry flavored pearls,” though, which is the real draw here. Since 2020, Starbucks has embraced the strawless lid, which is extremely laudable. When it comes to popping boba drinks, though, that’s just not an option. Full disclosure, I forgot to ask for a straw, and did not bring my own, so what I was left with was a pile of popping boba stuck under a layer of ice. The actual experience is supposed to be sipping through the straw and getting a surprising hit of boba as you do. If you don’t get the straw… Well, no surprising hit.

On their own, the boba are also sweet and tart, just like the lemonade. And as you might expect, they pop in your mouth with a nice berry flavor. Just don’t forget to bring your own straw.

Summer Skies Drink

The Summer Skies Drink is the addition to the menu I was most wary of, and I’ll spoil this right now: turns out it’s pretty great. This is the basic Summer-Berry Refresher poured over coconut milk and the pearls, and same issue here with me forgetting to get a straw.

But! The combo of the coconut milk and Summer-Berry is like drinking a melted popsicle, and even my son who generally doesn’t like coconut thought this was shockingly delicious. It’s definitely not the same level of refreshing as the lemonade, based on “there’s milk in there” so I’m not sure how often I’ll return to this one. But the mix of creamy coconut and berry is much better than I had imagined.

Orange Cream Cake Pop

Starbucks Summer Bakery Duo /

If you’ve had a Starbucks cake pop, you probably have a fair idea what to expect here, but the inside tastes lightly of orange and has the consistency of gritty cookie dough. The outside is described as white chocolate, and it is, but it has the pull of fondant to it and provides more look than taste.

These are very cute with the little orange slice designs, and if you like orange and cake, this is pretty tasty. But I continue to find the bang for your buck here – these are essentially two bites at best, for $4.25 at my local Starbucks – less than desirable.

Pineapple Cloud Cake

While the above were all available at Starbucks yesterday, the Pineapple Cloud Cake was sold out at the location I visited – so I grabbed it this morning, instead. This was easily my most anticipated item on the menu, as pineapple is delicious, and the idea of a light, poofy cloud cake is extremely appealing.

Yeah, this is not that. Here’s how Starbucks describes it: “an airy cake filled with layers of pineapple cream, pineapple spread and whole fruit pieces with a sweet drizzle topping,”

First of all, this is not cloud cake. Pound cake is closer to the consistency, and inside the middle is a large goop of pineapple cream, topped with a bit of pineapple spread. It’s extremely thick, extremely sweet and cloying, and doesn’t pay off on the name – or the basic concept of cloud cake – at all. My wife described it as “an inside-out Twinkie” and that’s pretty close except even a Twinkie is lighter on the cake than this is.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still cake and pineapple cream, so you can’t go too wrong. But overall a huge disappointment.

White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew /

While picking up the Pineapple Cloud Cake, I decided to try a returning favorite: the White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew, which includes sweet macadamia syrup with Cold Brew, white chocolate macadamia cream cold foam and toasted cookie crumbles on top.

I didn’t get a lot of the macadamia from this, though it’s definitely white chocolate Cold Brew, and didn’t get too powerful with the sweetness. I’m not sure why you would add cookie crumbles on here – the one or two that I tasted felt like I had accidentally swallowed some crumbs with my coffee – but they melt in pretty quickly so perhaps it’s just for presentation.

Overall this is fine, but as a Cold Brew lover I would much rather skip the syrup and foam and get to the main event.

The Starbucks Summer Menu is on sale now nationwide.

The Summer Skies Drink is surprisingly good, like a melted popsicle. The rest you can take or leave.. . Starbucks Summer Menu. Starbucks Summer Menu. C+

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