If you’re feeling under the weather, you should give my Starbucks copycat Medicine Ball recipe a try. Made with just 5 simple, hydrating ingredients, making the well-beloved Starbucks cold buster known as medicine ball tea is almost as easy as ordering it, and much cheaper, too!
❓ What is a Medicine Ball?
Now officially called Starbucks’ honey citrus mint tea, this cult-favorite sick tea started as a secret menu item back in 2017. I had actually never heard of it until recently (as it's still not usually on the regular menu) when I was feeling a cold coming on and a friend recommended I order one.
This herbal tisane is primarily flavored with lemon, mint, peach, and honey, which makes for a delectable treat anytime as an alternative to a homemade tea or chai latte! That said, it felt particularly nourishing since I wasn’t feeling great.
💬 Can a medicine ball from Starbucks really help with a cold?
While this delightful refresher may not be a cure-all for your cold symptoms during flu season, it sure is soothing. The triple whammy of warm liquid, honey, and vitamin C doesn’t just taste good — it really can help relieve the symptoms we associate with a common cold. Not to mention, you can make it in the comfort of your own home - sweats and slippers on with a blanket nearby!
- Honey can both help to soothe a sore throat and has also been shown to be an effective cough suppressant.
- Vitamin C may not be able to prevent colds (I wish!), but it has been shown to shorten the cycle of illness by about 10%.
- Helping you stay hydrated is perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle, so it doesn’t matter if you drink it warm or cold.
That said, I personally find a warm beverage to be one of the coziest things possible when I’m feeling icky. Holding a mug that warms my hands and getting the steam to help clear out my sinuses gets me as close to comfortable as it comes!
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Aside from giving me seriously nourishing vibes, this medicine ball Starbucks recipe is:
- Quick & Easy - When I’m not feeling well, the last thing I want to do is… well, anything that keeps me from snuggling under a blanket. This simple recipe is nearly as simple as making a cup of tea, and it won’t take you any longer than waiting for your water to boil. In 2-3 minutes, you have the perfect drink for a cold day at a fraction of the price!
- Made With Only 5 Ingredients, one of which is water! I find the starbucks version to be a bit on the sweet side, so making it at home helps to adjust as you prefer! Enjoy peppermint extract, prefer a favorite lemonade, or want to use a different kind of tea? No problem!
- Community & Budget-Friendly - If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that staying home and away from other humans when I’m sick feels like the nicer thing to do. The fact that this yummy Starbucks medicine ball recipe costs less than ¼ of what it would if I were to have to interact with the public is icing on the cake.
🍴 Ingredients & Substitutions
This copycat Starbucks sick tea requires just 5 ingredients including two different teas from your local grocery store:
- Lemonade - Frozen, store-bought, or homemade with fresh lemon juice will all do the trick.
- Water - If possible, reach for filtered water for the best taste.
- Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea - Feel free to swap in your favorite citrus mint-flavored tea bag instead.
- Teavana Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea - Or any other peach-flavored tea. I found both teas at my local Target!
- Honey - This is optional as a sweetener, but I find it really does help to soothe my sore throat and helps to elevate this cold buster tea. You can also swap in agave nectar, maple syrup, or another flavor of homemade simple syrup you prefer.
- Lemon Slices and Fresh Mint - I don’t know about you, but the smell of fresh citrus and herbs is deeply cheering. I also like the added nutritional bump. Feel free to omit them if you don’t have any on hand, or use a candied lemon slice for a fancy upgrade!
⏲️ Optional Variations
While I like following the Starbucks medicine ball tea recipe pretty closely to how the coffee giant makes it, there are a few ways you can jazz up this tisane to your preferences:
- Iced Medicine Ball - If you prefer your beverages on ice, I’ve got you covered. Steep the tea bags in about ¼ cup of boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Add the honey and stir to combine, then add cold water and cold or frozen lemonade or roasted strawberry lemonade, stirring once more. Serve over ice and enjoy!
- Switch up the flavors by using a tea like chamomile, lemongrass, lemon verbena and even pineapple ginger juice to create your own twist on this starbucks copycat recipe.
- Add extra mint flavor by swapping honey fresh mint leaves simple syrup or a pump of spearmint or pump of peppermint syrup for the honey.
📖 Step by Step Instructions
This Starbucks medicine bomb comes together in as little time as it takes to boil a pot of water. Here’s how this hot tea drink is made:
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Herbal tea likes a rolling boil. While other teas like green, white, oolong, or black need slightly cooler temps and shorter steep times to protect all the flavor compounds, herbal tea is perfectly happy being brewed with 212F water for up to 4 hours.
- If you are using loose-leaf tea, try a ratio of 1 teaspoon of leaves (per flavor of tea) to 1 cup of water.
- Fresh mint and lemon can also be added before the boiling water to help release more of the flavor and nutrient compounds present in both.
💭 Recipe FAQs
The primary benefit of this coldbuster Starbucks drink is that it is very hydrating, which is especially important when you’re feeling under the weather. Vitamin C and honey have also both been associated with shorter cold durations, so it’s possible that drinking them can help to shorten the time you’re feeling ill.
Finally, hot beverages are cozy and comforting, and can help to ease congestion, and honey is great for soothing a sore throat and suppressing coughs.
Nope! This tasty tincture is 100% caffeine-free. That said, feel free to swap in a citrus-mint or peach tea that is caffeinated if you prefer.
Yep! It tastes like delicious, warming, refreshing, revivifying citrus, mint, and peach tea sweetened with a touch of honey.
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Medicine ball (Starbucks Copycat)
- ½ cup Lemonade, homemade or frozen
- 1 cup Boiling Water
- 1 Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea tea bag, or alternate mint tea of your preference
- 1 Teavana Peach Tranquility tea bag, or the peach tea of your preferance
- 1 tablespoon Honey, optional
- Lemon slices and fresh mint to garnish
- Warm your lemonade and tea - use whatever method works best for you! Adding into a saucepan and heat over the stove, place in the microwave, using your tea kettle. The goal is to have piping hot lemonade and how water.½ cup Lemonade, 1 cup Boiling Water
- Pour liquids into your tea pot or mug of choice. Steep tea for about 3-5 minutes.1 Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea tea bag, 1 Teavana Peach Tranquility tea bag
- Add honey if desired, along with the lemon slice and mint garnish before enjoying!1 tablespoon Honey, Lemon slices and fresh mint to garnish
- Iced Medicine Ball - If you prefer your beverages on ice, I’ve got you covered. Steep the tea bags in about ¼ cup of boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Add the honey and stir to combine, then add cold water and cold or frozen lemonade, stirring once more. Serve over ice and enjoy!
- Add extra mint flavor by swapping honey mint simple syrup for the honey.