This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please see my Full Disclosure Policy for more details.
This recipe for the copycat Starbucks medicine ball tea (AKA the Starbucks coldbuster) will soothe all the colds and aches during the cold seasons. Serve it hot with plenty of honey to boost your immune system.
Y'all this is the first year we have had actual cold since Greyson was an infant! Being back in the DMV area, away from Florida and its 80 degree averages, we are enjoying the cold weather. But we aren't enjoying the cold and flu season.
Something about me: I can get sick with a quickness! So making sick tea is a big thing for my house. Don't feel good? I got a tea for that. Is it really medicine? No, I'm not a medical professional so I won't tell you this is medicine, but what I will tell you is that plenty of the ingredients do help with the symptoms and durations of an illness.
Cinnamon Ginger tea, Lemon Ginger tea, and my son's favorite healing mug of tea: the medicine ball from starbucks are all regulars whenever we feel some ickiness coming along. I feel like this one is a kid-friendly hot drink that won't get turned away for being 'too spicy'.
It's light and flavorful, with a touch of honey that kicks all your cold symptoms in the teeth.
This sweet, bright, formerly secret menu item is so cozy and surprisingly easy to make you'll be enjoying it all this season.
How to Make Honey Citrus Mint Tea at Home
Amazingly, Starbucks officially added their cold buster tea to the regular menu some time ago, and even shared the recipe on their website. So this copycat recipe is about as legit as you can get without being Starbucks baristas yourselves.
Starbucks' medicine ball tea only needs 4 ingredients, five if you want to add water: two teavana teas, some hot lemonade, and honey. Yes, that's all!
You'll need to buy Teavana peach tranquility herbal tea and the Teavana jade citrus mint green tea. You can use whatever peach teas or minty green tea you have on hand to make your own version of medicine ball tea, but if you want the flavor to be as close as possible to the Starbucks version, go grab the teavana tea bags.
You'll see it in the video, but this is so easy to whip up. All you do is heat up your favorite lemonade, steep a minty green tea bag and a peach tranquility tea bag, then give it a little honey, and you're done!
Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea Bag. This tea is has a blend of organic lemongrass verbena, spearmint, and lemongrass with green tea. If you're caffeine sensitive, just know that green tea does have caffeine (even though it's a lower amount than a black tea, it's still there.) so this honey citrus mint tea drink does have caffeine in it. And yes, you can use whatever citrus mint teas you have on hand.
Teavana Herbal Peach Tranquility Tea Bag. This is an herbal peach tea (so no caffeine here!) with pineapple, organic lemon verbena, and chamomile flowers. This one is super fruity, with pineapple, apple, and peach pieces, and I really enjoy it by itself.
Steamed Lemonade. Sounds difficult, it's not. You know I wouldn't do that to you while you're sick! Basically heat the lemonade on the stove top until it's steamy and simmering, about 185 degrees F. You can totally do it in the microwave, too. Use your favorite lemonade (my husband will make me lemonade with fresh lemons when I'm sick because it's a base for so many of our sick tea recipes).
So why lemonade when you're sick? Lemons have a ton of vitamin C. A meta-analysis of nine clinical trials, published in BioMed Research International in July of 2018 found that a higher dosage of vitamin C, taken at the onset of a cold, helped reduce the duration of the cold and lessen the symptoms.
Honey. I'm a big honey fan, even bought one from one of the many orchard farms up here in Northern Virginia, so that's what I used here. It's local and raw, which means that it was only strained before jarring and retains the pollen and antioxidants in the honey. It's also antifungal, antibacterial, and is an effective germ killer. It's a great addition to your tea and sweetens it up if you've got picky sick kiddos who need their drink very sweet.
(Optional) Pump of Peppermint Syrup. Back when this wasn't on the Starbucks menu and went by many names (the coldbuster, sick tea, the medicine bomb, and the medicine ball), a popular customer creation was to add a pump of peppermint syrup for an extra minty kick. Don't have the syrup? You can use a couple of drops of peppermint extract. Just a couple though, it's very potent.
Other Recipes to Combat Illness
At Starbucks, they steam the lemonade and froth it using their machines. You may not have an espresso machine like they do, but you can use a super handy milk frother to quickly make your hot lemonade bubbly and frothy.
Nope! Only heat it up to about 185 degrees F, or until gently steaming.
You don't want to boil the lemonade because it'll burn the tea when you steep the sachets.
I remember being pregnant and worried about everything I ate! Luckily, the amounts caffeine and lemongrass in the teas are very small and should NOT cause any problems. Nonetheless, this is your tea you're making at home. Find mint green tea and peach teas that don't include lemongrass.
Don't worry too much about the caffeine, you'd need to drink about 200mg-300mg for it to be a problem. According to Starbucks, a 16 ounce Medicine Ball contains 16-25 mg of caffeine. Here's a link to the Cleveland Clinic's article about caffeine during pregnancy.
Honey and lemonade are absolutely wonderful for temporarily soothing and aiding sore throats. If you find the lemonade too tart, add a quarter cup of water to dilute it.
Yes! You can easily double, triple, even quadruple the recipe and keep it in a pitcher to keep in the fridge. Remove the tea sachets before storing.
More Copycat Restaurant Recipes:
- Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Better than Olive Garden's!)
- Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Hot Spinach Dip
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- The Million Dollar Roasted Chicken from The Standard Grill
Click here to subscribe SWEET TEA & THYME’S NEWSLETTER for free and fresh recipes right into your inbox!
To pin this recipe and save it for later you can use the Pin button on the recipe card, the sharing buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above.
Tag me @sweet_tea_thyme on Instagram to share your remakes with me, I love looking through your photos!
And don't forget to leave a star rating and comment on the recipe card.
- 1 ½ cup (350 mL) lemonade
- 1 sachet Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea
- 1 sachet Teavana Peach Tranquility Tea
- 1 tablespoon (42 g) honey
- 2-3 drops peppermint extract (optional)
- Steam lemonade in either an electric tea kettle set to 185 degrees F or on the stovetop in a saucepan (measure temperature with a thermometer) over medium heat. Once at temperature, remove the lemonade from the heat and into a large mug.
- Optional: Once heated: use a milk frother or the steam wand on your espresso maker to froth the lemonade
- Steep the two tea bags in the hot lemonade: the green tea for 3 minutes, the peach tea for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the honey until fully incorporated into the tea.
- Drink hot!
Storing and Reheating
You can easily double, triple, even quadruple the recipe and keep it in a pitcher to keep in the fridge. Remove the tea sachets before storing.
The medicine ball tea reheats really well in the microwave in a microwave-safe mug or on the stove top over medium-low heat in a saucepan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.