An Hour-Long Journey Into My Strawberry Açaí Refresher


My Venti Strawberry Açaí Refresher with lemonade

By Stephanie Tulpan, Staff Writer

For many Wayne Hills students, going to the Starbucks on Berdan Avenue the day before the weekend is a core pastime. When the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing just right, and your friend asks, “Do you want to go to Starbucks after school?”, the opportunity seems irresistible. 

Incidentally, after school on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, my friends and I were guilty of indulging in the traditional, though refreshing, activity. 

We first walked in at 2:48 PM. “We” consisted of my friends Sienna, Mackayla, Maddie, Luna, and myself. When we got there, the seating was limited. I peered around each section: the high-seats with a  window view, the U-shaped booths, and the regular tables, were almost all taken.

There was a young woman seated in the center of a row of window seats, so Mackayla elected me to ask her to move over. I approached her and asked, “Excuse me, would you mind moving over, just so that my friends and I have a place to sit?” She was pleasant, and moved over right away. We were then seated, and ready to order our drinks. 

2:55 PM: I have a bad habit of ordering the same drink every time I go to Starbucks: the Venti Strawberry Açaí Refresher made with lemonade. This time, I, not surprisingly, ordered my usual drink, along with the Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich to quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger after the long school day. 

3:02 PM: I was looking out one of the windows while waiting for my drink and sandwich to be made, when a group of Wayne Hills Track and Field kids came out of nowhere. I asked my friends, “Where the heck did they come from? Why are they running so far beyond school property?” They were probably so thirsty, and would have enjoyed a Strawberry Açaí Refresher. 

3:04 PM: One of the baristas enthusiastically shouted, “Stephanie!”, and I knew that was my cue to approach the counter. When I received my drink, I noticed that its color was lighter than usual. Being a Starbucks enthusiast, this indicated that it was not made with as much of the açaí juice. There was also an overwhelming amount of strawberries clumped together at the top of my drink, which made sipping it an annoyance. 

I gave the peculiar drink a try, and my taste buds recognized it immediately. The moment was surreal; it was chilled to perfection, the ratio of sweetness to sourness was ideal, and the strawberries were copious, though crunchy. The feeling of that first sip could be described as euphoric. 

3:11 PM: It was the busiest time of the day. The Starbucks became frantic: regulars rolled in with their laptops, headphones, and latte orders, moms with young children came in to enjoy a few frappuccinos, and swarms of sweaty Hills students filled the café.

As the café grew more crowded, baristas continuously called out, “Christine, café!”, “Jennifer, café!”, and so on. 

3:21 PM: Suddenly, our friend Rebecca came out of nowhere! She stopped in to say, “Hey guys!”, and then disappeared into the line of people waiting for their orders to be taken. I lost sight of her amidst the cluster of eager customers. 

3:27 PM: Our computers and agendas were spread out on the table, along with each of our drinks. Maddie, Sienna, and myself all got the same drink; however, I noticed that they all looked different. Some were much darker than others, and some had far fewer strawberries. One thing about Starbucks is: you should never expect your drink to look the same twice. Nevertheless, the taste is always break taking. 

3:38 PM: Luna was slightly unusual; she was sipping on the Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher. But, Mackayla diverged from the refresher trend completely, and chose the uncomplicated and comforting Caramel Frappuccino. I smiled when she got her drink, solely because I had forgotten about the famous caramel frappe. But, it was good for her; she “enjoyed every sip,” she said. 

3:52 PM: My friends and I began to pack up our belongings, take the last sips of our drinks, and made our way outside just as even more customers made their way into the café. The mayhem was never ending. 

Now that the school year is coming to an end, so are our frequent after-school-trips to Starbucks. However, I anticipate that this tradition, which I hold close to my heart, will continue next year, and that my Strawberry Açaí Refresher will taste just as delicious when the time comes.