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The *Secret* Starbucks Medicine Ball Drink: Will It Cure You?

There is something especially fun about ordering “secret“ menu items from popular restaurants. You feel like an insider who has a behind-the-scenes playbook of all of the best orders that only the true fans know about.

One of the popular “secret“ Starbucks drinks is the Starbucks Medicine Ball or Cold Buster Tea.

But, how do you order a Medicine Ball tea at Starbucks, and what does the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea recipe entail? Is the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea the same as the Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea?

In this guide, we will discuss what the secret Starbucks Medicine Ball drink is, how to order it, whether the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea will actually cure colds or other illnesses, and a DIY Starbucks Medicine Ball tea recipe so that you can make copycat tea on your own.

We will cover: 

  • What Is Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea?
  • What Is The Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Recipe?
  • How To Order A Medicine Ball at Starbucks?
  • Does the Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Work?

Let’s get started!

A Starbucks cup.

What Is Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea?

The Starbucks Medicine Ball drink is a secret Starbucks menu tea drink that has earned the moniker of a “Medicine Ball tea drink” due to its purported benefits of helping cure the common cold, flu, or other viruses that may ail you.

For this reason, some people consider the Medicine Ball Starbucks drink to be the herbal tea analog of chicken soup to cure a cold or flu.

In fact, after Medicine Ball tea debuted in 2017 as a Starbucks secret menu item, the cold-busting tea drink went so viral that it was upgraded from the Starbucks secret menu items to the official Starbucks drink menu.

There it was called the Starbucks Cold Buster in some regions before earning the official name Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea.

Therefore, in most cases, although some people still consider the Secret Medicine Ball Starbucks drink to be somewhat “better” or different than the Honey Citrus Mint Tea Starbucks official menu option, there are ultimately no major differences between them.

Two Starbucks cups.

The only major difference between the Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea vs Starbucks Cold Buster tea is that people like to customize the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea order, and as a secret Starbucks drink option, not every Starbucks barista will necessarily know what you are talking about if you try to order the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea at the counter. 

Similarly, if you are trying to figure out how to order Medicine Ball tea on the Starbucks app, you will likely need to look for the Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea option and then customize the Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea vs Medicine Ball tea ingredients from there, if desired.

What Is The Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Recipe?

So, what are the ingredients in the Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea beverage?

The basic Starbucks Cold Buster or Honey Citrus Mint Tea ingredients are as follows:

  • Hot water
  • Lemonade
  • 1 Peach Tranquility tea bag
  • 1 Jade Citrus Mint Tea bag
  • Honey 

Here is the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea recipe:

  1. Starbucks’ Medicine Ball tea is made by filling a venti cup half full with hot water and then adding steamed lemonade to fill the second half of the cup.
  2. From there, a bag of Peach Tranquility tea and a bag of Jade Citrus Mint tea are added.
  3. Finally, the Medicine Ball Tea recipe is finished off by adding a touch of honey.
The Starbucks App.

How To Order A Medicine Ball at Starbucks?

Even though the Medicine Ball tea is technically a secret Starbucks menu option, most Starbucks baristas will know what you are talking about if you try to order a Medicine Ball tea at Starbucks.

People also want to know how to order a medicine ball on the starbucks app.

As a secret Starbucks beverage, you won’t see Medicine Ball tea listed on the official Starbucks menu or in the Starbucks app.

Instead, you need to ask specifically for the Medicine Ball tea or order the Honey Citrus Mint Tea and then customize it from there, adjusting the amount of lemonade versus water, teabags, peppermint, honey, etc.

The Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea can be found with all of the other hot teas on the Starbucks app.

A Starbucks cup.

Does the Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Work?

Many people want to know if Starbucks Medicine Ball tea is “good” for them.

Of course, this may refer to tasting good or being nutritionally beneficial, which are two very separate things.

The first is a matter of personal preference; many people enjoy the soothing, sweet taste of the Honey Citrus Mint Tea, but if you don’t enjoy those flavors, you probably won’t like this beverage.

In terms of the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea nutrition facts, like any Starbucks beverage, the Honey Citrus Mint Tea nutrition facts will vary depending on if and how you customize the drink.

In terms of helping you “cure a cold“ or get over the flu, drinking the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea isn’t going to make things worse, but it likely isn’t going to be the illness cure-all you are hoping for.

A Starbucks cup.

The benefits of drinking Starbucks Medicine Ball tea when you are sick are largely due to the hydration that you may get, the soothing effects of drinking a warm beverage, the antioxidant and throat-coating benefits of honey for a sore throat, the nasal decongestant effects of the steamy hot beverage, and the antioxidants found in green tea.

The primary benefit of drinking Medicine Ball tea is that it aids hydration and helps you meet your daily fluid needs.

Dehydration is associated with many adverse effects, including fatigue, headaches, reduced metabolic rate, increased hunger, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and constipation, among other issues, and staying well hydrated can help your immune system stay stronger.

The warm tea can also be soothing to drink, encouraging you to drink more when you’re sick.

For example, studies suggest that drinking a hot drink, such as Starbucks Medicine Ball tea, is an effective way to provide quick, long-lasting relief from a sore throat, coughing, stuffy nose, and fatigue associated with having a cold. 

Moreover, the research found that drinking a hot drink was more effective than drinking room-temperature water.

A Starbucks cup.

Green tea is known to provide quite a number of health benefits, including improving heart health, reducing oxidative damage, potentially preventing aging, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

This is due to a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a type of catechin that has been found to confer all sorts of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, improving heart and blood vessel health, and preventing premature cellular aging.

Lemons also provide vitamin C, which can support the immune system, though most lemonade is relatively low in vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from oxidative damage from free radicals and is thought to support the immune system.

Honey acts as a demulcent, which means that it helps to coat and soothe inflamed or irritated tissues, like your throat, during a cold or cough.

Keep in mind that while there are some benefits of Medicine Ball tea, there’s still quite a bit of added sugar in the basic Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea recipe.

Two Christmas Starbucks cups.

Most of this sugar comes from the lemonade and honey, so you can reduce the calories and grams of sugar by asking the barista to cut back on these ingredients (though many people choose this tea for the benefits of honey for a sore throat).

In terms of the Starbucks Medicine Ball tea nutrition facts, without substitutions, according to the official Starbucks nutrition menu, the Grande (16 fluid ounces) Honey Citrus Mint Tea has the following nutrition facts:

  • 130 calories
  • 0 g of fat
  • 10 mg of sodium
  • 32 g of carbohydrates
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 0 g of protein

There is no cholesterol and just 16 mg of caffeine, which is essentially considered a low-caffeine tea.

The Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea caffeine content comes from the green tea contained in the Jade Citrus Mint Teabag.

A Starbucks cup.

The full Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea ingredients list is as follows:

  • Lemonade [Water, Lemon Juice, Sugar, Lemon Oil]
  • An Infusion Of Jade Tea [Water, Organic Green Tea, Organic Spearmint, Organic Lemon Verbena, Organic Lemongrass, Natural Flavor]
  • An Infusion Of Fruit Tea [Water, Apple Pieces, Candied Pineapple Pieces (Pineapple, Sugar, Citric Acid), Rose Hip Peels, Peach Pieces (Peach, Rice Flour), Peach Pieces, Chamomile Flowers, Lemon Verbena, Artificial Flavoring]
  • Honey Blend [Honey, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid]

To learn more about the benefits of drinking herbal tea, check out our guide to the benefits of nettle tea here.

A person drinking tea.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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