"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Evolution: Starbuck’s $5 water soon to be extinct

by Julie on October 15, 2012

in BHC Eats Out, Food News

Good. But not $5 worth of good.

The lesson here should be: ask before you guzzle.

The morning after my high school reunion and I stood in line at my regular Starbucks for my morning cuppa. The night before I’d pranced around the dance floor like a teenager and now my middle aged body was paying the price. Three Advils so far and everything still ached. I felt weak. Depleted. I needed sustenance. Replenishment. Above and beyond the obvious coffee.

That’s when I looked down at the case and saw it. Pineapple coconut water. ZOINK!

JUST the thing I was looking for. I opened it and guzzled half the stuff down before I got to the barista. I gave no thought to price. What could it be? $2.50 – $3 at the most? Even given the Starbuck’s markup? It sure tasted nice, besides.

I got to the counter, ordered my tall coffee in a grande cup, showed the kid my half-empty bottle of pineapple coconut water, and threw down a $5.

Actually, said the barista, it’s $7.  I blinked at him. He pointed to my 15.2-fluid ounces of flavored water. “That’s $5 by itself.”

“$5 for water?”

He nodded grimly.

“$5 for water.”

“Sorry,” he said. And he did look galled, but understood, as I did, that since I’d already opened and drank half the bottle, he couldn’t let me off the hook for my ignorance.

Reclaiming my jaw from the counter I slowly took my fiver back and handed him a ten, feeling a strange blend of foolishness and anger and astonishment. Very much unlike the refreshing blend of coconut and pineapple swirling in my mouth not a moment before.

“Wow, that’s a lot for WATER.”

“I know,” he said.

“You should mark the price somewhere.”

“I know,” he said. But usually people ask before they open it. And most people put it back when they find out how much it is.”

“Is it selling much?”

“We’ve got three cases in the back,” he said. “So no. It’s not selling.”

Expect to patsies like me.  I held up my $5 bottle of Evolution Fresh coconut water, and took another swig.

“Enjoy it,” he said.

“Oh I will,” I said, pondering how best to enjoy a $5 bottle of water. Should I dab some behind my ears? Maybe It would make a lovely vinaigrette.  Or I could sprinkle it over ripe figs like the finest balsamic. Try it as a shampoo? Soak my fingers in it? Incorporate it into sex play somehow?

The back of the bottle says that I deserve to drink something I feel good about, because it makes me feel good. I don’t really feel good about spending $5 on a bottle of flavored water, but then I didn’t ask before I guzzled. My bad. Then again, that kind of pricing structure needs to be marked front and center. So I don’t feel good about highway robbery, either.

But it’s Starbuck’s bad as well. It bought Evolution Fresh, a small juice company based in Southern California, last year, in a bid to enter the $5 billion refrigerated premium juice market. $5 water is the cheapest product they make ($8 green monster smoothie, anyone?). I can’t see it working out in this economy. But what do I know? I fell for it. Once.

What should I do with my remaining two sips of pineapple water? I’m never going to have another bottle of it, so make those suggestions count!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy October 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

Freeze it to make a coconut-pineapple amuse bouche, and you can eat it with a teeny, tiny little spoon so it takes longer.


Julie October 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

I love you, Dorothy!


audrey October 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

Reminds me of a Vegas trip. After Paul and I enetered the hotel room, parched and exhausted from our desert travels, Paul headed for the bottled water on the dresser.Like a Super Bowl quarterback I leapt through the air, across the room to block his contact with the temptress, screamming (I remember it all in slo-mo), “Nooooooooooo!” Too late! He opened it. 8 bucks!


audrey October 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

Sorry spelling is poor, no glasses or coffee yet.


CalHtsJohnny October 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

Oy! While Americans ponder an election that amplifies the debate over lower/higher taxes and the role they play in the economic pickle we find ourselves in, it never ceases to amaze me the absolute waste most Americans seem committed to when it comes to what we’re actually willing to spend our money on. A dozen coffee chains regularly selling $5 plus coffeedrinks, a nation addicted to bottled water, not to mention the thousands of dollars we’re willing to spend annually on the latest cell phones, electronic gizmos and related services really makes one wonder just how much business we have telling our politicians that they must revise their irresponsible handling of our nation’s budget.

Consider our alarm about gasoline prices and the role it plays on how we vote. Yet we continue to spend billions of dollars per year on bottled water? The US has one of the safest water supplies in the world, yet we are the world’s largest consumer of bottled water. Consider that $2 bottle of water in your hand: by the gallon, it’s more like $10 per! That same $2 will get you, on average, about 1,500 gallons of the stuff that arrives through your home’s tap. Then consider the added costs of manufacturing the billions of plastic bottles, the fuel and energy resources to truck it, train it, and fly it to every corner of the country, the cost to local governments to collect the bottles, attempt to recycle it (still less than a third of those plastic torpedoes are recycled) and remove them from our public spaces, waterways, oceans and beaches . . .

The fact that marketers feel that an $5 8oz bottle of cocunut pineapple surprise is worth a shot in our marketplace demonstrates just how gullible, irresponsible and hypocritical so many Americans continue to be, and the exceptional impact our personal daily decisions have on the world around us; much more than any elected public official could ever manage!


Katie September 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

Hahaha I just bought a bottle of this and was shocked at the price. I wanted hint blackberry, but they were out of it so I figured I’d try this. I almost passed out when I checked out. Went straight to google to see if it was even good before I started drinking it. Glad I ran across this 🙂


Audrey March 10, 2015 at 2:33 pm

It’s not just water though, it’s coconut water. It’s essentially ultra high end fruit juice. (Like if you got 15 ounces of straight up dragon fruit juice, undiluted.) Coconut water is -generally- expensive. (Yours is on the high end of the spectrum, but not particularly unbelievable.)


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