Starbucks is famous for many things, and we’re not just talking about the wide variety of coffee drinks offered here. In addition to macchiatos, Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos - this list could go on for a while - and other coffee beverages, Starbucks has become respected for something called the Medicine Ball.
The Medicine Ball Starbucks drink, aka Honey Citrus Mint Tea, is jam-packed with health-boosting ingredients. Not only is it ordered to alleviate sinus issues, common cold symptoms, and tension headaches, but it’s also one of the tastiest options on the menu with a mix of lemon verbena, mint, citrus, and even candied pineapple flavors.
Whether you’re a fan of coffee or a tea lover at heart, you’ll definitely want to give the Medicine Ball a try. Find out how to order one (as well as why you should) and how to recreate the original recipe in this complete guide.
What Is The Starbucks Medicine Ball? (Key Ingredients)
A traditional Starbucks Medicine Ball drink is made with specific ingredients that are known for boosting the immune system and improving overall health, which is why people order them when they feel under the weather. That gives you a general idea of what you can expect from sipping on one, but what’s actually in a Medicine Ball at Starbucks?
There are 5 Starbucks Medicine Ball ingredients in the baseline recipe, but as is the case with all Starbucks drinks, you can customize it based on your preferences and dietary restrictions. If you choose to go with the original Medicine Ball with no add-ons or alterations, here’s what’s inside:
- 1Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
- 2Teavana Peach Tranquillity Herbal Tea
- 3Steamed Lemonade
- 4Hot Water
Starbucks baristas start by filling the cup halfway with steamed lemonade - that’s right, it’s steamed! - and then the rest of the way with hot water. Then, a Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea bag is added as well as a bag of Teavana’s popular Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea.
The drink is completed by adding 2 pumps of honey (or more depending on the size ordered), but some people take it above and beyond by asking for an optional pump of peppermint syrup.
How To Order A Medicine Ball At Starbucks (On-Site & On The App)
The Medicine Ball is the most popular hot tea offered at Starbucks, so if you're ordering in the store or drive-thru line, just ask for a Medicine Ball Tea, and the barista will know exactly what to do. If by some chance he/she isn’t familiar with it, you can list out the ingredients or ask for the drink by its new official name - the Honey Citrus Mint Tea.
Things are a bit different if you're ordering on the Starbucks app. Since this is a custom Starbucks version of a drink and not listed as "Medicine Ball" on the original Starbucks menu, in the past, you had to customize your order if you were using the app to include all of the ingredients traditionally found in this special drink.
Luckily, Starbucks realized just how popular this drink is and recently decided to make ordering one a bit easier, even from the app. It started as an item on the Starbucks secret menu, but since it became such a hit, it’s now officially listed on the app under the Hot Tea category as the Honey Citrus Mint Tea.
Once you've selected that, just choose any add-ons or omissions before placing the mobile order at your local Starbucks store.
Make Your Own Medicine Ball At Home (DIY Copycat Recipe)
Like most professionally-made drinks at Starbucks, the Medicine Ball isn’t considered a cheap beverage. The smallest size costs about $4 with tax, so drinking one every day will add up to about $1500+ per year. That’s a pretty steep budget for tea if you ask us!
The good news is that there’s a budget-friendly alternative, and that’s to make yours in your own home. The copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball recipe is actually very simple; all you need are Teavana tea bags in Jade Citrus Mint Tea and Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea, lemonade, honey, and water. For a single serving, here’s what you’ll need:
Feel free to use similar tea flavors in the Medicine Ball recipe that aren’t from the Teavana brand, but if you want your Medicine Ball to be pretty close to the real thing as possible, it’s best to use Teavana’s signature flavors. You can find all of these ingredients at major grocery store chains, but if you’re having trouble finding the Teavana bags, many customers order through Amazon.
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do to make your copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball at home:
- 1Add the store bought lemonade to a microwavable mug. Heat for 45 seconds until very warm. This will have the same effect as steaming.
- 2Add hot water (slightly cooler than boiling water, or 190 degrees) to the mug with lemonade.
- 3Add 1 tablespoon of honey, stirring to dissolve.
- 4Add both tea bags and allow to steep for 2-4 minutes, or to desired strength.
- 5If using peppermint syrup, add 1 teaspoon to the mug and stir.
- 6Allow your homemade Medicine Ball to cool slightly, sip, and let your taste buds sing!
What Is The Starbucks Medicine Ball Good For? (Benefits Explained)
It’s no secret that ingredients like lemon (or lemon verbena), honey, and green tea come with some health benefits, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. Lemon, for example, is extremely high in vitamin C, making it great for heart health, weight loss, digestion, and even cancer prevention.
Then there's green tea, which is packed with antioxidants that are responsible for promoting fat loss, improving brain function, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Honey is another powerful ingredient; it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that are ideal for soothing sore throats and helping with cold/cough symptoms.
Not only are the ingredients beneficial to health, but so is the physical act of drinking hot tea. In particular, sipping on a hot beverage, herbal tea has been proven to improve digestion, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and stress.
All in all, it’s clear that the Honey Citrus Mint Tea deserves the name Medicine Ball.
Starbucks Medicine Ball Drink Nutritional Facts (Is It Healthy Or Not?)
Still curious about the nutritional value of the Medicine Ball tea? According to Starbucks nutrition facts, the 16-ounce Grande size has 130 calories, 30 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of fat.
Calorie-wise, 130 isn’t much, especially when many items on the Starbucks regular menu and Starbucks secret menu contain 300+ calories. Zero grams of fat is also great, but 30 grams of sugar is a bit concerning. This drink definitely can’t be considered a low-sugar option, and that’s mainly because of the lemonade and honey.
If you want to cut back on some of this sugar, the best way to do that is to make your Medicine Balls at home. You can use sugar-free lemonade or just squeeze fresh lemon juice into the water instead. You can also omit the honey if need be, but keep in mind that this will change the overall flavor.
But does the Starbucks Medicine Ball help to cure a cold? Well, the truth is that there are a lot of natural ingredients out there which can supposedly fight a cold or flu. Chamomile flowers and chamomile pollen, licorice root, rose hips, and other herbs have all been linked to your immune system but none of them feature in this drink. However, the Medicine Ball does contain a lot of good ingredients like lemon, honey, peach tranquility, and mint which can help you feel better, and the warm liquid will do you wonders.
Next time you're feeling under the weather it wouldn't be a bad idea to make yourself a Medicine Ball cold buster.
Starbucks Medicine Ball Drink FAQs
Can you get an iced Medicine Ball from Starbucks?
It's traditionally served as a hot drink, and there's a reason for that. The hot liquid plays a part in this beverage's medicinal qualities, so ordering it iced would take away from its health benefits. Plus, the cold and flu season is generally throughout winder so you'd want a hot cold buster. However, there are several iced tea drinks to choose from on the Starbucks menu.
Can I have a Medicine Ball from Starbucks while pregnant?
It depends on who you ask. Many health professionals say that drinking the occasional Medicine Ball during pregnancy is perfectly fine, but others will tell you that herbal teas of all kinds should be avoided. This is because herbal ingredients are not considered entirely safe for pregnancy, and the same goes for caffeine.
What's a good alternative drink from Starbucks when you're sick?
Hot teas and green teas, in general, are a great drink during the cold and flu season for alleviating a cold, cough, or flu, and according to a 2020 MSNBC post,
“the Medicine Ball does provide a few of the recommendations that can help a cold, especially if you have a mild sore throat. That includes fluid, some vitamin C and a bit of honey.”
There are a few more Starbucks drinks that will help to give you some short-term relief when you’re sick, like Chai Tea, Mint Majesty, Tranquility Peach Tea and Royal English Breakfast Tea.
Even if it's not a cure all, there’s no denying that the Starbucks Medicine Ball is one of the healthiest tea-based drinks out there. Ingredients like lemon juice, green tea, and honey have tons of benefits, and the Teavana tea flavors of Jade Citrus Mint Tea and Peach Tea make this drink truly unique.
If ordering from your local Starbucks every day isn’t in your budget, you can opt to make your Medicine Ball from your home kitchen. By doing this, you’ll also have a lot more control over the quality of the ingredients you use, and you can even significantly cut back on the sugar content by using sugar-free or light lemonade.