August 4, 2010 / 3:24 PM / 7 years ago

Starbucks testing green coffee in summer drinks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Starbucks Corp will begin testing summer drinks with a base of green, unroasted coffee on Wednesday as it works on new products to drive sales and differentiate itself from rivals like McDonald’s Corp.

<p>People walk past the Starbucks outlet on 47th and 8th Avenue in New York June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Lily Bowers</p>

The drinks, called “Refreshers,” will be sold at 113 company-operated cafes around San Diego, California, and priced from $2.50 to $2.95. Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage Julie Felss Masino said they are made of fruit and low in calories and caffeine.

Ingredients include a “flavor neutral” powdered extract made from unroasted green coffee and formulated to have less of a caffeine kick than regular coffee, she said.

“It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” she said.

Investors watch new product launches from high-profile companies like Starbucks because they can open up new sales opportunities. Starbucks invented the Frappuccino blended beverage and turned it into a $2 billion annual business,

Starbucks has been focusing on new drinks after a massive restructuring that closed roughly 900 cafes globally.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein

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