Judging Java: Starbucks Baya Energy Drink


Photo by: Jake Dabkowski

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor Elect

2.5/5 Globes

If you’ve been watching television lately, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for Starbucks’ new Baya Energy drink. The drink only comes in can form, it’s not something you can order in their stores but rather something at supermarkets and convenience stores.

I do not usually review energy drinks in this column. They are not coffee, nor would I even consider them coffee adjacent. The caffeine in most energy drinks is synthetic caffeine, and on the off-chance it has natural caffeine it likely won’t be from coffee, but rather from guarana berries, which naturally produce caffeine.

What makes Baya Energy different is that the caffeine found in it is derived from coffee fruit, the fruit that coffee beans grow. That, along with the Starbucks branding and my general curiosity led me to decide to give it a try. And so, here we are.

I opted for the Pineapple Passionfruit flavored Baya Energy. The drink is also available in Raspberry Lime and Mango Guava flavor. I would like to make clear that I chose the Pineapple Passionfruit. It was not the only one available to me, and I had the opportunity to choose between all three of them. I went with the Pineapple Passionfruit because it is what I thought sounded like it would taste the best.

I was not a big fan of this drink. Flavor wise I was underwhelmed — and I say that as someone who enjoys the taste of most energy drinks. Personally, I think that the standard Red Bull is the best energy drink on the market, taste wise, but I digress. The issue with the Pineapple Passionfruit Baya Energy isn’t that it’s too sweet or too fruity, it’s actually the opposite — there’s not enough flavor here to really write about.

The flavor being dull isn’t a huge deal breaker. Energy drinks aren’t expected to taste great. They’re energy drinks. What’s weird about this is that it doesn’t really provide a ton of energy. That really surprised me, as the drink has 160 milligrams of caffeine, which is a pretty substantial amount. That’s the equivalency of around two large cups of coffee.

I am going to phrase this next paragraph very politely and carefully. While the caffeine did not give me a ton of energy, it did have a side effect that caffeine tends to have. What I’m getting at is that it made me have to go to the bathroom. Again, I am phrasing this politely.

Even if it weren’t for the bathroom issues, I still would not score this very highly. That’s not to say it’s bad, it just feels pointless. The energy drink market is already oversaturated, and this doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The advertisements for this made it seem like the flavor and energy boost were the key selling point for these. After trying one, it’s clear that the real selling point for them is the Starbucks logo. If you’re really that interested in trying one, I’d recommend grabbing an individual can and not a twelve pack. You’ll understand why after you try one.