How to Make a “Medicine Ball,” Starbucks’s Slightly Controversial Tea Drink

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When you’re searching for relief from the discomfort of a cold or the flu, you likely hit up the drugstore’s cold and flu aisle. But at least some people also swing by their local Starbucks for a semi-controversial, cult-favorite drink. Yes, we’re talking about the Starbucks “Medicine Ball,” a soothing tea blend that has garnered a loyal following for its comforting effects.

We’re believers that the best forms of relief come from the most unexpected places, and that anything that offers a glimmer of comfort amidst the discomfort of sickness is worth its weight in gold. The only problem with the Starbucks Medicine Ball drink is that you have to leave your house to get it – and, if you’re drinking it because you’re not feeling well, that means potentially exposing the hard-working baristas to your germs. With that in mind, we pulled together a Starbucks Medicine Ball recipe, to help you recreate the soothing comfort in the safety of your own home.

What’s In a Starbucks Medicine Ball?

Firstly, it’s crucial to point out that the Starbucks Medicine Ball does not contain actual medicine. At Starbucks, the drink is officially known as Honey Citrus Mint Tea. The menu states it was a popular customer creation that ended up on the regular menu. The soothing beverage combines Jade Citrus Mint green tea, Peach Tranquility herbal tea (a tea made with sweet peach, pineapple, chamomile blossoms, and lemon verbena), hot water, steamed lemonade, and honey.

This drink does contain a small amount of caffeine, as it is made with a green tea which naturally contains this stimulant. But the overall caffeine level of this drink is relatively low compared to other Starbucks beverages, making it a comforting choice for those looking for a warm, soothing option with a hint of a caffeine pick-me-up.

And while, again, the Starbucks Medicine Ball does not contain any true medicine, some people find that consuming honey helps ease their sore throat somewhat, while mint may help clear congestion temporarily.

How To Order the Starbucks “Medicine Ball” Drink

To order a Medicine Ball at Starbucks, simply approach the counter and ask for a Honey Citrus Mint Tea, the drink’s official name. If desired, you can customize your tea drink by asking for more or less lemonade and/or honey if you want it sweeter or not-as-sweet.

A word of warning: some baristas aren’t huge fans of the Starbucks Medicine Ball, as evidenced by several Reddit threads like this one. The main complaint seems to be its popularity among sick people, who put baristas’ health at risk by coming into stores in person to order the drink. So keep in mind that if you are sick and contagious, you may not be considered the kindest patron if you’re prancing into a crowded Starbucks store, sniffling and sneezing – potentially exposing other customers to your illness. If you’re sick and you want to enjoy this drink, send a friend to snag one for you, hit up the drive-through (while wearing a mask), or make our Starbucks Medicine Ball recipe at home instead.

Related: Is It Rude to Lie About Being Sick? And 21 Other Illness Etiquette Questions

Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Recipe

To recreate the soothing Starbucks Medicine Ball tea at home, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
  • 1 bag of Teavana Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • 8 ounces of hot water
  • 8 ounces of steamed lemonade
  • 1 tablespoon of honey


  1. Heat your water to a near-boil and pour 8 ounces into a mug.
  2. Add both tea bags to the mug and allow them to steep for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. While the tea is steeping, heat your lemonade. You can do this by either heating it on the stove or by using a microwave. Aim for it to be hot but not boiling.
  4. Remove the tea bags from the mug, ensuring to squeeze them gently to extract the flavorful tea without releasing bitterness.
  5. Add the hot lemonade to your mug with the steeped tea.
  6. Stir in a tablespoon of honey, adjusting according to your sweetness preference.
  7. Enjoy your homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball, perfect for soothing a sore throat or just warming up on a chilly day.

If you don’t have access to Teavana teas, you can use other brands of green tea, mint tea, and peach tea to recreate this concoction. And if you don’t have lemonade on hand, a healthy squeeze of lemon juice can do in a pinch, although you may need to increase the amount of water and honey you use to compensate.

Then, sip and enjoy the soothing sensation. Ahhh…

Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian and freelance writer who is passionate about providing evidence-based nutrition information in a fun and interesting way.

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