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Starbucks Drink Guide: Iced Teas

Updated on March 11, 2016

Expert Recommendations from a Starbucks Barista

As a Starbucks barista with a lot of experience, one of my favorite parts of my job is teaching people about our menu. I love when I'm able to help a customer find the drink they're craving! I decided to write a series of guides to explain all of the drinks on the Starbucks menu. There really is something for everyone!

If you're new to Starbucks or totally unfamiliar with the terminology, I recommend checking out my first guide, which details the sizes and basic terms you'll run into. In the previous section of my guide, I discussed the Starbucks hot Tazo tea selections.

In this installment, I'll be explaining everything about iced teas.

The Sizes

At Starbucks, iced teas are available in four sizes, instead of the usual three.
At Starbucks, iced teas are available in four sizes, instead of the usual three.

Usually, Starbucks drinks are only offered in three sizes—Tall, Grande and Venti. However, a new size was added exclusively for iced teas, iced tea lemonades and iced coffees. This monstrous 30-ounce cup is called the Trenta.

All iced teas and iced tea lemonades come sweetened with Classic syrup by default. Classic syrup is a simple syrup, which is basically a fancy way of saying sugar water or liquid sugar. The standard amount of pumps are as follows:

Tall - 3 pumps

Grande - 4 pumps

Venti - 6 pumps

Trenta - 7 pumps

Alternatively, you can get your iced tea unsweetened, or you can get it with any of the other sweeteners that Starbucks offers e.g. sugar, Raw Sugar, honey, Sweet and Low, Equal, or Splenda. I would recommend against using raw sugar or honey since they don't mix into the tea very well, and a lot of it just gets left behind in the shaker.

If you're feeling adventurous, add a syrup! Raspberry and Vanilla (available sugar-free) go very well in iced teas. Peppermint (also available sugar-free, seasonally) is a less common choice, but I think it's refreshing from time to time.

Summer of 2014 featured the addition of Blackberry syrup and the welcome return of Peach Syrup. Some stores still have these available in stock, but most batches are due to expire in February or March of 2015.

Shaken Iced Teas

Why are they called shaken? Because that's how we prepare them! All Starbucks iced teas are made in shakers with equal parts tea and water. Ice and sweetener are added, and the drink is shaken before it is served. This evenly chills the tea and ensures any sweetener is thoroughly mixed in.

Every part of this drink can be customized. For a stronger tea, ask for light or no water, and to make it weaker, feel free to add extra water and extra ice.

Technically, any of the Teavana teas can be made iced. It takes a few minutes to make them, though, so I wouldn't recommend ordering one that's not a standard menu iced tea if you're in a hurry or are going through a drive-thru.

To make a non-standard iced tea, the barista has to first steep the tea, then pour it over ice. This takes at least five minutes for green and herbal teas, and a little less time for the black teas. I'm sure that any barista would be happy to do this for you, but as it is not a common request, they may have to step away to look up the recipe!

The teas that are brewed in the store are actually made with bags that are specially designed for the way that Starbucks baristas brew their iced tea. They use one of these special tea bags, then steep it in one liter of hot water for five minutes, then top it off with a scoop of ice (to make it immediately cool,) and cold water. This tea is what is added to the shakers - it's brewed double strength so that it doesn't taste watered down when water and ice are added.

Below are the standard iced teas that are brewed daily in Starbucks stores.

The distinctively red Passion Iced Tea.
The distinctively red Passion Iced Tea.

Black Tea

If you're looking for a standard ice tea, this is the closest we offer. If you were a fan of the old black iced tea, which was a bit stronger, try ordering this without the water added. In summer 2014, Starbucks changed tea brands to Teavana. The Teavana Black tea tastes very similar to the Tazo tea we used to use.

Green Tea

The green iced tea offered in Starbucks is made using Teavana Jade Citrus Mint tea. It's minty and lemony, which may sound off-putting, but it's very refreshing. I prefer to drink this over the black tea, though it has a bit less caffeine.

Passion Tea

Our only decaf iced tea, Passion Tango Tea is very fruity. I've noticed that it's a popular choice for kids, and though I think part of that is because it's red, the flavor is also great. I like to drink mine with a little bit of sweet and low because it works well with the tea's tart and fruity flavor.

Starbucks has great reusable iced cups that really keep your drinks cold. If you're a daily iced tea drinker, you should pick one up!
Starbucks has great reusable iced cups that really keep your drinks cold. If you're a daily iced tea drinker, you should pick one up!

Shaken Tea Lemonades

These beverages are made pretty much the same way as the basic iced teas, but lemonade is used in place of water. Everything else is the same! The lemonade that Starbucks uses IS sweetened, but very lightly.

Black Tea Lemonade

A very refreshing twist on the usual black iced tea, this drink is similar to an Arnold Palmer. The lemonade itself is sweetened, but not a lot. If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, I wouldn't recommend adding additional sweetener.

Green Tea Lemonade

This is my favorite of the Starbucks iced teas. I think it's the most refreshing overall, and the flavor is very unique. Because the Jade Citrus Mint Tea has a lemon flavor to it on its own, it goes very well with the lemonade.

Passion Tea Lemonade

This reminds me of other fruit flavored teas I've drunk. It's tart and tangy, and I love it on a summer day. Most of the baristas at my store would highly recommend trying this with raspberry syrup, and I totally agree. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and I only take two pumps of raspberry in a venti, though (which usually gets six.) My reasoning for this is that the Passion tea is already tart, with a tart lemonade added, and then the raspberry...

The mix of blackberry, mint and citrus is hard to describe! Since this is a featured drink, we are always happy to serve samples.
The mix of blackberry, mint and citrus is hard to describe! Since this is a featured drink, we are always happy to serve samples. | Source
Peach was a huge hit last year, and I'm glad to see it back!
Peach was a huge hit last year, and I'm glad to see it back! | Source

Seasonal or Limited Edition Iced Teas

With a recent change from Tazo to Teavana teas being served in Starbucks stores, Summer 2014 has seen two seasonal iced teas being featured.

Peach Green Tea and Peach Green Tea Lemonade

This seasonal offering features the same Green Iced Tea that is the standard, but it is sweetened with Peach syrup. The syrup does contain sugar, so unfortunately this is not available unsweetened. This has been featured in the past with Tazo tea, so hopefully Peach syrup will make a come back every summer!

Blackberry Mojito Tea and Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Blackberry syrup is a totally new offering for Summer 2014. It has a great berry flavor, and is not as sweet as some of the other syrups we offer. For example, I think this drink is much less sweet than a standard sweetened iced tea or the Peach Green Tea. The Blackberry Mojito Tea and Tea Lemonade is made with Green Iced Tea and sweetened with the Blackberry syrup.

Shaken Sweet Tea

This tea is still being tested in certain markets, so it is not yet available everywhere. I've heard a lot of buzz about it from customers. It is made with real cane sugar, and I've been told that it is SUPER sweet.

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    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 4 years ago from Hawaii

      What a great hub! I'm confused enough by the coffee choices, let alone the tea! But I love a Starbucks iced tea on a hot day. I'll have to bookmark this for future reference!

    • Nick 4 years ago

      What about smoothie?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I'll give the smoothies their own little guide. :)

    • LaFromLA 4 years ago

      Great entry! But how would you make make a Venti Passion Tea Lemonade EXACTLY? :)

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      A Venti Passion Tea Lemonade would be made by adding about half Passion Tea and Half Lemonade to the tea shaker (there are lines for consistent measurement), then six pumps of Classic and ice. It's all shaken together, then poured into the cup. :)

    • Finny 4 years ago

      I'm a huge zen fan, I find it so refreshing. Fab idea to create this guide!!! Great work!

    • melissa 4 years ago

      starbucks has recently started selling the tazo iced tea bags to make your own at home. i just made green tea lemonade, but i don't know how much sugar to add for it to taste similar. do u know the measured equivalents to the number of pumps?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      That's a tough one! I generally drink my tea unsweetened or with a packet or two of splenda, so I can replicate that pretty easily at home. I know you can buy the Classic syrup from Starbucks' website, but I understand not wanting to spend extra money when you could just use sugar instead.

      I actually looked at the calories in a pump of classic syrup versus measurements of sugar, and I think that might get you pretty close. The sizes are tall, grande, venti and trenta with 3,4,6 and 7 pumps respectively. I would guess that would be 1 tablespoon of sugar in a tall (12 oz,) about 2 tbsp in a grande (16 oz,) 2 1/2 tbsp in a venti (24 oz,) and 3 tbsp in a trenta (32 oz.)

    • Jessica 4 years ago

      Hi! This blog is extremely helpful for making my favorite Starbucks drinks at home! I was wondering though, for a black shaken iced tea, how would you prepare that? I made 32 oz of the tazo black tea at home and made my normal drink (black tea with 2 pumps raspberry & 4 splendas) but it didn't turn out how it normally does. I there something I did that the baristas do differently? Thanks for your help!

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Hi Jessica, I'm glad you've found my hub and comments helpful. :)

      From what I can tell with the iced tea that Starbucks now has available to make at home, it's brewed just the same. I've bought some and made it at home myself. We do it double strength, then add water and that's what we're working with in our pitchers in the stores.

      The difference seems to be that we add extra water when we actually make the tea. We use roughly half tea and half water, then fill the rest of the shaker with ice (to the specific size line.) Shaking it does seem to make a bit of a difference.

      The specific steps in order are this: Add tea, add water, add sweetener, add ice, shake. If the tea tastes stronger than usual, I'd definitely try adding more water. However, if you think it tastes weaker, you can change how you're making it. I know the box gives a specific amount of water to add after you've steeped the tea bag, so if it tastes to weak, just add less water.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      This is a great guide to the Starbucks iced teas. I've never tried any of them, since I'll normally get some type of iced coffee drink when I go there but now I'm curious to try them.

      I also had no idea that there was a size available larger than a Venti.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Peach 4 years ago

      What IS a tea latte?

    • Kelly 4 years ago

      I love e black tea. I am thinking of purchasing the classic syrup to go with my tazo tea.

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      A tea latte is half tea and half steamed milk, in the simplest of terms.

      For example, the Black Tea Latte is made using one (in a Tall or Grande) or two (in a Venti) Awake tea bags and half a cup of hot water, then the rest is filled with steamed milk. (It also gets classic syrup as the sweetener.)

    • Abby 3 years ago

      Can you get iced teas with blended ice? Love Starbucks, thank you x

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      There aren't any blended iced teas on the Starbucks menu, unfortunately. I used to have a customer I would put a regularly made iced tea into a blender for because her daughter loved it that way, but the result is kind of a slushy mess.

      What gets Starbucks blended drinks to really hold together is the Frappuccino bases. If you really wanted to experiment, you could try asking the barista to add some Creme base (which has no coffee flavor) and blend it. This would add more calories and more sugar, but it might be worth it!

    • No Name 3 years ago

      How does it cost to buy a coffee free Raspberry Passion Tea Lemonade?!

    • Nancy Rooney 3 years ago

      Super helpful! I am a Starbucks loyalist - twice a day every day!

      One major issue though: how do I get a shaker (with the same markings as the store) to make my Treinta iced teas each morning? Many thanks!

      Nancy

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      The starbucks.com store offers a tea shaker/to-go cup, but it is only a Venti size and does not have the markings. I would suggest buying a large enough container (any sort of water bottle with a secure cap) and using one of the Starbucks Trenta cups to copy the lines over with sharpie.

    • Melena Cain 3 years ago

      Do you know anything about calorie counts? I've been drinking raspberry green iced teas since I read your article but I can't find the calorie count for it. Any insight? Usually get a grande or a trenta, thanks!

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I'm glad I helped you pick out a new drink to try! Most of the syrups in the store have similar calorie counts - for example, the raspberry would be the same as the classic syrup that is generally used to sweeten our iced teas. So, a grande green tea with raspberry would be about 130 calories, and a trenta would be 230 calories.

    • Alyssa Jones 3 years ago

      What would you recommend adding to the iced passion tea to make it more refreshing for a cold/cough and sore throat?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I'd recommend trying out the Passion Tea Lemonade. The lemon can be soothing to your throat. We can also do an iced Calm tea, which is our version of Chamomile. It's tasty with or without lemonade added, but it does take about 5 minutes for us to steep to make it right.

    • Tara 3 years ago

      I wanted to try these out after reading this guide. Unfortunately I can't get them in my UK store :( (I contacted Customer Services to check) Iced tea is not that popular in Britain, which is a shame as I quite like it sometimes especially the flavoured ones like mango or peach.

    • Emy 2 years ago

      Would iced tea + milk be a possible/good combination?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I've definitely tried this, and it's a great option to play around with. My recommendation is to replicate our hot tea lattes iced. For example, I'd suggest the first thing you try be a black iced tea with vanilla and milk instead of water. I order this from time to time.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 2 years ago from Northeast United States

      Bravo ! :). A wonderful useful hub. Thank you for taking the time to write your menu. Great job

    • Rachel Atkinson profile image

      Rachel Atkinson 2 years ago

      Can I get iced tea in the UK ?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      From what I understand, you cannot get iced tea at most Starbucks stores in the UK. I would ask your local baristas if they can make you a custom iced tea, because it is a recipe we have in the US. It does take us five minutes to steep the tea when making it this way, but I have heard that traditional iced tea is not on the UK menus, so this might be a good option.

    • Maggie 2 years ago

      Sometimes I hate being Canadian... still waiting for the Trenta to make it's way here :(

      I am also hoping the Blackberry Mojito Lemonade will stick around. I have recently quit drinking pop as well as drastically cut back my frappe consumption (which is a killer during the early Pumpkin season) and this tea has been a wonderful replacement through the summer and am hoping will be my saviour ;)

    • cookingkitty007 profile image

      Chelsea 2 years ago from Newport News, Va

      trenta is actually 31 ounces :)

    • Jason 2 years ago

      Could you say specifically which Teavana black tea is used currently for the Iced Black Tea in stores?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I love the Blackberry Mojito! It seemed to sell well, so I'm hoping it will stick around. My store still has a decent stockpile of the syrup because we ordered too much towards the end of the season, so hopefully a store around you did the same!

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks! There's some confusion with this because the menu often reads 32 oz, but I notice the cups have 30 oz printed on the bottom.

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 2 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I believe the black tea we use for iced tea is the same blend as the English Breakfast tea. However, we get it shipped in a totally different type of package with larger sachets to suit our needs. On the Starbucks store, it seems you can only buy the Tazo iced tea sachets and not the Teavana ones yet, unfortunately.

    • Robin 19 months ago

      Is Starbucks still carrying the BlackBerry syrup?

    • mandination profile image
      Author

      mandination 19 months ago from Pittsburgh

      Unfortunately, no. I was really hoping they'd bring it back this summer, but I have seen no signs of it yet.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Love all of these Starbucks iced tea flavors. It would be great, if they came in K-Cups. I might have to visit Starbucks this summer. Voted up for useful!

    • Michelle Smithson 18 months ago

      I am wanting to make the Green Tea Lemonade at home. So I would get the Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea. Then keep that in a container. Put lemonade in a container then when wanting to make a glass put the same equal parts water and tea..some lemonade. Simple syrup and then shake it(like in a blender bottle)? How many tea bags would you use for a small pitcher?

    • Michelle Smithson profile image

      Michelle Smithson 18 months ago from Tennessee

      I am wanting to make the Green Tea Lemonade at home. So I would get the Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea. Then keep that in a container. Put lemonade in a container then when wanting to make a glass put the same equal parts water and tea..some lemonade. Simple syrup and then shake it(like in a blender bottle)? How many tea bags would you use for a small pitcher? Also is your lemonade already sweetened?

    • sharon thomas 8 months ago

      Is black tea with no water instead half and half weird?

    • Reen 4 months ago

      Love Starbucks Iced Green Tea Lemonade unsweetened. . It is very refreshing, soothing for your stomach and healthy. Im also hoping it truly has NO form of sugar in it. This would make it even HEALTHIER. Am I correct in assuming that ?? Exactly what ARE the ingredients for this drink?? Thx :)

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