The minute I feel a cold come on or signs of strep throat or the flu (or any kind of virus), this is the first thing I drive to Starbucks for! But let’s face it….sometimes you don’t even feel well enough to get in the car and drive all the way to pick it up. So here is everything you need to copycat the Starbucks “Citrus Defender” (a.k.a. “Medicine Ball”) hot tea recipe from home. Make sure you keep these few items in your pantry and then you’ll always have it when you need it!
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Starbucks has just one recipe but now they have a “variation” for those who don’t like the minty taste (although, I love it so much). But try the original that has mint before you knock it because the mint serves it purpose and helps with your sinuses.
If you don’t like mint, you would just ask for the “Citrus Defense Tea” packets with water.
But the actual “Citrus Defender” a.k.a. “Medicine Ball” or “Cold Bomb” is just the recipe below.
I should also note that my “research” before writing this post was not only reading through online forums BUT I also called a dozen different Starbucks (yes – I called 12 Starbucks) along the West Coast to confirm this info. I’ve known it but I wanted to be able to say this is “legit”.
Notice, I took the above pic in December with the Starbucks Holiday cups but just now getting around to posting it and sharing it with you at the end of February, ha! Better late than never, right?!
Starbucks uses Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility. You need one packet of each per person with a Venti-sized double-wall tumbler for hot beverages.
I like this one that I bought at Starbucks BUT you do NOT want to use the plastic straw it comes with. I prefer an aluminum straw because this has citrus in it and I like to use a straw to protect the enamel on my teeth better. Of course, you can use a traditional insulated beverage container with a sip spout if you prefer.
You want to use raw organic honey. It not only sweetens but coats your throat. Please don’t use any of the cheap stuff they call honey unless it’s all you have haha! Also, I love this Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lemon Juice but that’s because I don’t want to add any additional sugar. Instead, I sweeten it with Monk Fruit, a natural and safe sweetener. (Forgot to show it in the picture but will link it.) If you don’t mind the sugar content, just use steamed lemonade. But try to use this brand (because I love it and it’s organic) and it has more lemon juice than most lemonades. You want the benefits of the “citrus” part of this hot tea.
So here are 3 recipes below of this drink. First, the original with steamed lemonade. Second, the version with no added sugar and using the lemon juice and monk fruit instead.
Copycat Starbucks Original “Citrus Defender” Tea Recipe
- 1 Teavana Jade Citrus Tea Bag (or any kind of peppermint tea)
- 1 Teavana Peach Tranquility Tea Bag (or any kind of peach tea)
- Steamed/heated Organic Lemonade (make your own if necessary with lemon juice, water and sugar)
- Raw Organic Honey
Fill large insulated or double-wall beverage container (Venti-size) 1/2 way with boiled water.
Add both tea bags and let steep for a few minutes.
Top off with steamed lemonade.
Add generous amount of honey and stir.
Cool a bit before sipping but you definitely want it nice and warm or as hot as you can stand it.
Copycat Starbucks “Citrus Defender” Tea Recipe – NO SUGAR ADDED
(Great for those on Keto Diet or Low-carb diets)
- 1 Teavana Jade Citrus Tea Bag (or any peppermint tea you have)
- 1 Teavana Peach Tranquility Tea Bag (or any peach tea)
- Pure Organic Lemon Juice (I prefer the Santa Cruz brand)
- Monk Fruit Sweetener (natural safe sweetener with zero calories - perfect for those on Keto or low-carb diets)
- Raw Honey (omit this if you're on Keto or low-carb diets)
- Steamed Water
Fill large insulated or double-wall beverage container (Venti-size) about 3/4 way with boiled water.
Add both tea bags and let steep for a few minutes.
Add about 1/4 cup steamed pure organic lemon juice (or rest of the 1/4 volume of the beverage size, almost topping it off).
Add 3 TBSP (or more if desired) of monk fruit sweetener and stir.
Add generous amount of raw organic honey (if desired OR omit if on Keto) and stir well.
Let cool a little bit and then sip and enjoy. You want to drink it as warm as you can stand it but not hot. Be careful.
*Note – If you have a very sore throat, ease up on the amount of lemonade and maybe be more generous with the honey. This, of course, is not “medicine” but everyone (including myself) swears by it! I don’t care if it’s all in my head haha! It’s so delicious and helps open my sinuses up and loosen mucus and I feel so much better.
Try it and tell me what you think! I’ll link below some of the items for you so that you can just order them and have them shipped to your house in a couple days and then you have everything on hand. I like to bring it to friends also if they’re not feeling good.
(Click on arrows to scroll right and left)
Cheers! And if you’re here reading this and not feeling well, I sure hope you feel better soon! Lots of rest and fluids!
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Thanks for the recipe summer! I look forward to trying it! I had no idea Starbucks had a drink like this.
Summer Adams says
Oh you’re so welcome! Yes it helps sooo much! Xoxo 😘