Feeling under the weather? Brew a cup of this deliciously soothing Medicine Ball Tea Recipe. It’s cheaper than buying it at Starbucks and so much better for you.
Now that it’s time to Stock Up on Flu Season Pantry Staples, make sure you add the ingredients for this copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball to your list while you’re loading up on stuff to make Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe. It’s just the ticket for those puny-feeling days.
Sore throat? Cough? Sniffles?
The cold and flu season can really wreak havoc on your body. And mess with your appetite. A cup of coffee no longer sounds or tastes as appealing as it does when you’re well, does it?
That’s when you need something hot, delicious, and soothing. Bone broth or chicken stock often fits the bill, but sometimes you want something a little sweet, not savory. That’s where the Starbucks Medicine Ball comes in.
Starbucks Medicine Ball? What’s that?
A few years ago when my husband was fighting off the grunge, he walked into the Starbucks at his work — yes, his work has its own Starbucks — and the manager asked if he’d like a “Medicine Ball”.
He enjoyed it so much, he did some research on what it included so that we could make our own Starbucks Medicine Ball at home.
No way we were spending four bucks a pop, people! The result has been a go-to tea recipe that serves us well whenever we’re feeling a little less than our best.
Why Make This
It tastes great! I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the big deal at first. People have added honey and lemon to their tea for eons! And our family in particular has made Hot Lemonade (lemon juice, honey, and hot water) for colds for 20+ years. However, I think the trick with Starbucks Medicine Ball is the combination of citrus, mint, and fruity flavors, something akin to my Lime-Mint Coolers (Non-Alcoholic Mojitos), which are super good in hot weather. This is the cold weather alternative.
It could promote faster healing. Green tea and honey both have anti-inflammatory properties, so there could be some reasoning in the restorative benefits of this type of drink besides just soothing your sore throat. Additionally, drinking a Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea can help hydrate you, and the lemon juice provides vitamin C which can also promote wellness.
It’s cheaper than at Starbucks! I recommend you make your own Medicine Ball Tea at home rather than buying it at the shop. It’s cheaper, easier, and contains less sugar; plus you can drink as much as you want.
A homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball comes down to these basic ingredients plus hot water:
2 Kinds of Tea – You’ll need mint green and a fruity herbal variety of tea. You can use three separate bags (peppermint, green, and fruit) or you can mix and match these however you like. If you’ve got a mint green tea that you like and a fruity herbal tea you like, you’re set. Experiment to see what you like best. Obviously, the fewer tea bags you can swing, the cheaper your cup will be.
For the record, Starbucks uses Teavana Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility teas.
Hot water – An electric water kettle is super handy for heating water quickly.
Honey – Get the brand that you like the best, but don’t omit it. The honey accents the peppermint and citrus flavors in a way that sugar or other sweeteners won’t.
Lemon juice – You can use freshly squeezed juice or bottled juice, whichever you like. We’ve used fresh Meyer lemons as well as organic bottled lemon juice and not noticed a big difference. If you use fresh lemons, remember that you can freeze lemon juice if you’ve got extra.
Here’s how to make a Starbucks Medicine Ball yourself for less at home:
The process is super simple:
- Brew the teas in a big mug or travel cup, 3 to 5 minutes, according to taste.
- Add lemon juice and honey to taste.
- Stir well and enjoy!
This soothing beverage goes by a number of names: Starbucks medicine ball, sick tea, honey citrus mint tea, cold buster, etc. Thankfully, you don’t need to know any magic spells or name combinations. What was once a customer special order and then a secret menu item, is now a regular item on Starbucks official menu.
At Starbucks a Medicine Ball consists of: 1 Teavana Jade Citrus Mint green tea bag, 1 Teavana Peach Tranquility herbal tea bag, 2 honey packets, ½ hot water, ½ steamed unsweetened lemonade. There is debate among baristas if there are shots of peppermint syrup added, but this is the basic recipe.
The tea soothes sore throats and helps hydrate. Making it at home allows you to control the amount of sweetener included. Honey and green tea are both purported to be anti-inflammatories and lemon has vitamin C, so the tea may bring some health benefits as well.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- Teavana tea bags – $0.76
- honey – $0.22
- lemon – $0.15
While your prices may vary depending on where you shop and which teas you ultimately choose, you can expect to pay somewhere around $1.13 per homemade cup! So much cheaper than a store-made Starbucks Medicine Ball!
More Great “Feel Better” Recipes
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Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Recipe
- 1 bag peppermint green tea such as Jade Citrus Mint
- 1 bag fruity herbal tea such as Peach Tranquility
- 14-16 oz hot water
- 2 tablespoon honey or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or more to taste.
- Place the tea bags in a large mug or travel cup.
- Fill the mug with water and allow to steep 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and add the honey and lemon juice. Stir well and adjust for taste.
This post was originally published on February 2, 2019. It has been updated for content and clarity.
I have used a similar tea lemon and honey for years for sore throats and colds/fluey symptoms. A few years ago I developed type 2 diabetes and no longer can use honey. Do you know of any kind of honey product that I can use that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels? I honestly think honey is a main ingredient that is good for treatment in this lovely concoction.
I wish I did. I’m sorry I can’t be more help!
Love this so much! I always have this tea on hand to make even when not sick. It’s a lovely pick me-up on a cold afternoon!
I used Trader Joe’s green tea candy cane and a ginger/ peach tea. So yummy, even if you’re not sick. It’s probably a great way to boost immunity too. I have been making this for my family since you posted the recipe last year (or was it the year before?) and we all love it. Thanks Jessica!
I love this tea, whether sick or not. I live in the frozen tundra and enjoy it it the afternoon sometimes as a pick-me-up to the afternoon slump!
So easy, so yummy & so comforting! A keeper recipe! I used Peppermint Tea, Decaf Green Tea, & Tazo Passion Herbal Tea and only 1 TBS of Honey (2 seemed too sweet for me!) with the 1 TBS of Lemon Juice. SOOOO good!
So glad you enjoyed it!
This sounds good! I’ve been a fan of honey & lemon to fight off coughs & colds in the past; I’m going to have to try this. But what if you’re not a fan of mint? Can I just make this with a variety of green tea and fruity tea? (I’ve got several different kinds of both right now.)
Use whatever teas you like, just know that if you order one at Starbucks, it will have mint. 😉
Thanks! I’ll remember that. 🙂
I love Jessica’s medicine ball so much, that it’s now the only way I care to drink tea. I use Celestial Seasons peppermint and Republic is Tea decaf ginger peach. So delicious!
So glad to hear it! And thanks for the flavor recommendations!
This medicine ball recipe has helped me navigate my way to health. This year’s cold season has been particularly brutal and now I can save $$$ while making this hot healing beverage at home. I’m already shared this with friends at work??
Yay! So glad to hear it.
(Would you have a minute to come back and click the stars, as many as you think the recipe deserves? Thank you!)
Van Able Jenifer
Thank you for the recipe. However I would always buy local honey. Local honey is truly honey and so flavorful.
How nice that you have a good source for local honey!
All I can say is WOW!!! I have a chest cold , lost my voice and made this.I used mint blend and peach mango tea bags . Extremely soothing.. Many thanks!!
So glad it helped!
I’ve been brewing this in my 4 cup glass measuring cup twice a day since you wrote about it. Green tea + Tazo passion is the flavor combo I like best of the teas in my cupboard. Today I splurged on a cup at Starbucks. Of the four wellness teas on their menu, I had Citrus Defender. It was really amazing! Maybe I need to learn how to steam lemonade?!?
I think it’s just hot unsweetened lemon water!
This was delicious! I’ve been feeling something brewing in the back of my throat but not quite sick thankfully. I made a medicine ball this afternoon using the white pomegranate and TJ candy cane tea since that’s what I had on hand. I enjoyed every sip! My girls always ask for something when the don’t feel good, I think this is my new go to recipe!!
Glad it worked!
Edit to add: 5 stars.
Thanks for this drink. I think it really helped ward off some grunge I felt coming on!?
We were well for March and April and NOW kids are getting sore throats again. Busting this out.
I found this recipe on your instagram feed a few weeks ago. Between the polar vortex and cold/flu season, I’ve barely had a day without one!! So yummy. I’ve been using Moroccan mint (green mint) tea, peach or berry herbal tea, and some meyer lemon!
Thanks for letting us all in on this money saving wonderful drink!
My pleasure. So glad you like it!
We LOVE this drink! My younger kids call it “sour tea” – ha! I put 2 T. of lemon juice and a spoonful of honey. Thanks for the tasty recipe, Jessica!
Well, you can add more honey. Then it’s not sour. We went through gallons of honey this winter!
Oh – no! Sour is a compliment! He loves it (and so do I!)!!!
Hah! Good to know!