The Absolute Best Starbucks Tea Drinks Ranked

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Hot, iced, sweet, unsweet, herbal, floral, green, black... how do you take your tea? For some, just the flavor of steeped tea is enough, but for others, tea without milk and flavor is just nasty leaf water. We all have our own ideas of the best way to prepare the beverage, but it's easy to agree that the variety can be intimidating and overwhelming at times, especially at Starbucks. The chain offers multiple different brewed teas, tea lattes, iced teas, and specialty tea drinks — not to mention the plethora of secret tea-based creations that Starbucks customers have cooked up and shared online. 

We chose a wide spectrum of all Starbucks tea drinks — from plain Jane to full-on fruity, including the basic tea bag menu and secret recipe surprises — and tried them all to determine which teas are bomb brews and which are best poured into your houseplant. Here's our lineup of Starbucks tea drinks, ranked worst to best.

15. Green Drink

With the sweeping success of the Starbucks Pink Drink, fans perhaps saw an opportunity to create secret recipes under other color-related aliases. Thus we found the recipe for Green Drink: iced black tea, coconut milk instead of water, and two scoops of matcha. 

Don't order the Green Drink. If we could leave our review at that, we would, but let's elaborate. On their own and combined wisely with other things, the three components of this drink are delicious. This combination, however, is unflattering for all three. There is no sweetness to bring balance to the matcha, no fruitiness that pairs so well with coconut milk, and the iced black tea is just set up for failure with no complimentary additions like lemon or honey. The two teas clash and bring out the worst in each other's flavor. At best, this drink is just missing something, whether it be inclusions, puree, or a syrup. At worst, it's just a bland drink that doesn't stand up to all the other wonderful creations that Starbucks fans have concocted. 

You may like this drink if you aren't big on flavor, but we really think it's a flop without some major tweaking. You could try adding honey or lemonade to see if there's a great tea drink hiding somewhere in this recipe. 

14. Jade Citrus Mint

Oh, Jade Citrus Mint, we had high hopes for you. And it's not that you underachieved, it's more that the mint in your blend overachieved. The spearmint in this blend — while Starbucks says that there's only a "hint" — is too much for the lemon verbena and lemongrass vying for a spot on your tastebuds. 

We expected a tea that was tart yet cooling with a strong contrast of flavors. Jade Citrus Mint just didn't deliver — and its green tea base was lost altogether. The spearmint's slight sweetness was a treat, but other than that, we feel there are far too many other great teas on the S-bucks lineup to order this one again. 

However, you could offer this tea some redemption by asking for a dash of lemonade in replacement of some of the water; the added lemon might help bring prominence to the struggling citrus flavor in this blend. Otherwise, we recommend sticking with the Honey Citrus Mint for a more balanced citrus-to-mint ratio,

13. Iced green tea with honey blend

While light and refreshing, green tea can taste quite plain on its own. Thankfully, green tea is one of those drinks that can be piggybacked by just about any flavor.

That is why we added Starbucks' honey blend syrup to iced green tea. The first impression of the resulting drink was very mild in flavor, with the honey blend almost usurping the taste of the green tea — any more of it would have overshadowed the tea completely. Despite this, the honey and tea meshed together seamlessly; the tea was sweet because of the addition but it was still very palatable. If we ordered this drink again, we would ask for half the honey flavoring, to cut back on some of the sweetness. 

When we tested this drink, our local Starbucks didn't have any other flavors that sounded like an appetizing edition — but if honey's not your speed, try adding lemon, peach, or other fruity flavors. 

12. Peach Tranquility

Delicate, fruity, and summery are some of the words that come to mind when sipping on Starbucks' Peach Tranquility. This is a bright, flavorful, decaffeinated tea that can be enjoyed at any time of the day; it's invigorating enough for your morning rituals and soothing enough to be enjoyed at bedtime. Peach and pineapple flavors come together on the palate when you first take a sip, but there is a slight floral overtone that lingers after swallowing. To some this is a pleasant addition thanks to the chamomile and rose hip in the tea, but to others it may be an overbearing aftertaste. 

It's easy to elevate Peach Tranquility's flavor if you choose to do so. A lemon twist, small rosemary sprig, or splash of heavy cream would create three entirely new identities for this drink, all depending on the mood you're in. This is the tea for those who don't drink tea: not earthy or bitter like some classic options, not chokingly fragrant like standalone florals. The best of each brew comes together for a drink that is light, slightly sweet, and a touch tropical — a moment of warmth for cold days. 

Love tea but can't do boiling-hot Starbucks beverages in the heat of summer? Brew Peach Tranquility normally, then chill in the fridge and serve poured over ice.

11. Iced London Fog

A hot girl summer version of the classic. Starbucks' iced London Fog latte is technically a secret menu item, but incredibly easy to order: just ask for iced black tea with 2% milk instead of water, no cane syrup, a pump of vanilla syrup (the recipe calls for two but we opted for one instead for a tall), and vanilla cold foam. 

The tea flavor in this chilled variation of a timeless drink is very subtle, almost weak. We were concerned about sweetness but, with halving the vanilla, were pleasantly surprised at how pleasant the latte tasted — like the sweet milk left after a bowl of cereal. To take this drink to another level, try adding some lavender or blueberry syrup, if your local location has it in stock. 

We did feel like the Earl Grey was overpowered in the London Fog latte. Adjust the tea flavor by asking for less milk, and sweeten the drink by using more vanilla. Feel free to change the milk up, too; half and half will create a denser, creamier drink, while an alternative like oat milk will add more flavor. 

10. Chai latte

The Starbucks chai latte: we know her, we love her... but she's a bit of a basic gal. This particular chai latte is made with your steamed milk of choice (the default is 2%) and Tazo chai syrup concentrate, according to Stack Exchange

While S-bucks didn't do anything wrong with their chai latte, it didn't blow us away either. It was about as standard as a chai latte gets, and the various spices used in the recipe were benched in this latte — perhaps overpowered by the sweetener in the concentrate or the simple sugars in the steamed milk. Overall, this drink came across as mostly flat and bland.

There was the tiniest bit of heat at the back of the throat after swallowing a couple drinks — which would actually work great for people who prefer milder tastes — but because the spices are more of a whisper in this concoction, we feel this girl-next-door of the Starbucks menu needs a little dressing up to be remarkable: adding vanilla, white mocha, pumpkin, or cinnamon dolce flavor would sophisticate your chai latte nicely. Alternatively, you could top your latte with sweet cream cold foam for added sweetness, opt in oat milk for a more diversified flavor, or ask for a chai breve to give your drink extra creaminess. 

9. London Fog latte

It's been said Queen Elizabeth is a fan of Earl Grey tea, but what might the royal think of the London Fog tea latte? A London Fog is made with Earl Grey tea, steamed milk (2% is the Starbucks default), and a dash of vanilla syrup. The resulting concoction will transport you right to Buckingham Palace — metaphorically, that is. 

Because of its elegant simplicity, we think this latte is pretty tough to mess up. As such, Starbucks makes a good London Fog. The vanilla harmonizes with both the sweetness of the steamed milk and shy lavender overtones from the Earl Grey for a smooth and easy-to-drink brew, perfect to enjoy on a cloudy, moody afternoon just like one straight out of England. 

There are a couple ways you can add depth to the flavor of a London Fog: ask for two tea sachets, ask for steamed heavy cream or half-and-half, or ask for a pump of lavender syrup, if available at your local store. If you've never tried a London Fog before, you will be in for a pleasant surprise when you do; as tea enthusiasts on Reddit have noted, it can taste a lot like Froot Loops. That beloved childhood cereal is probably not a part of a balanced breakfast for the royal family, but who's to say a piping-hot London Fog isn't?

8. Earl Grey

If there were a salt of the earth in tea form, it would be Earl Grey. A base for many specialty tea drinks and lattes, Earl Grey is a traditional blend of black teas and bergamot oil. Starbucks' Earl Grey is earthy, complex, and aromatic, easy to enjoy on its own (if you're a tea purist, that is) or just as delightful with a pour of cream. 

The flavor of the Teavana tea starts as bright and citrusy, then melts to a floral aftertaste. We do wish the lemon and other citrus notes were made a bit stronger in this blend — the lavender is quite intense, especially for those of us not too crazy about floral teas. 

We mostly love Earl Grey for being a blank canvas, but there are plenty of tea drinkers for which this blend is far too plain on its own. If that's you, opt for adding in an herbal or citrus tea bag to complement the Earl Grey and bring more tastes, like Peach Tranquility or Honey Citrus Mint. 

7. Honey Citrus Mint

Props to Starbucks lovers for coming up with a way to harness the feeling of being cared for on a sick day in elementary school and putting that feeling into a cup. The customer-created Honey Citrus Mint is made with lemonade, water, honey, and one each of the Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility tea sachets. Originally a Starbucks secret menu item called the Medicine Ball, Honey Citrus Mint became so popular that the company made permanent space for it on the menu. Its OG nickname comes as no surprise, since this drink seems to carry some feel-better magic.

Honey Citrus Mint is tart and sweet. Its slight lemony bite might be overbearing over time for some; since the drink is made with half lemonade and half water, you can ask the barista to replace a couple ounces of lemonade with water to cut down on the pucker. Our only complaint about this drink is that the mint is slightly overpowered by the honey and lemonade unless you hold the tea in your mouth for several seconds. If you prefer a stronger mint flavor, ask for an additional Jade Citrus Mint teabag.

Overall, we found this customer creation to be comforting and vibrant. If, in all your adulthood stresses, you find yourself longing for the feeling that only hot Campbell's, pajamas on a weekday afternoon, and old cartoon reruns can bring, try the Honey Citrus Mint. 

6. Blue Drink

It seems rare to find a drink where soy milk is given the attention it deserves. If this is your dairy alternative of choice, give the Starbucks Blue Drink a try. As Starbucks kindly mapped out on Instagram, simply order an iced Passion Tango tea, replace the water with soy milk, and replace the liquid cane sugar with vanilla syrup. 

The soy milk stitches together the vanilla and the tart tea. Mildly sweet and fruity, this secret drink allows you to definitely taste tea but not be overwhelmed by it — and same for soy, a cow's milk alternative that often gets flack for its taste. We do think soy was the best milk choice here, but coconut milk would be our understudy. Skip the almond and oat milks for this one — nutty flavors wouldn't go well with the fruity, floral flavors of the Passion Tango tea. 

Blue Drink is actually far from blue in color, but it's a solid choice to spice up a basic Starbucks tea — ask for blackberries inclusions to take this drink a step further. 

5. Brewed chai

If you could turn the crunch of fallen dry leaves, nippy October air, and trips to the apple orchard into a taste, that would be the taste of brewed chai. It's an unsung member of the Starbucks menu, hiding in shadow cast by the chai latte. The difference between the two is simple: the chai latte is steamed milk and chai concentrate, and brewed chai is just a chai sachet and water. The flavor of Starbucks' brewed chai is beautifully complex. We caught notes of licorice, ginger, and anise, and the Starbucks site highlights the blend's clove, cinnamon, and cardamom; it's a bold and spiced taste that may not be for everyone in the way that licorice, ginger, and anise are not for everyone. 

However, if your complaint about the Starbucks chai latte is that it's too bland or not spice-forward enough, we recommend giving the brewed chai a chance at redemption. The spices are brought off the bleachers, and the absence of simple sugars from steamed milk does well to rein in the sweetness. Tip: use two teabags for an even stronger spice flavor. 

Still want the silky texture afforded by the milk in a latte? You can add a healthy dash of heavy cream to reach middle ground between plain brewed tea and a latte. By using unsteamed dairy, you won't be adding sweetness or frothiness to your brew, but it'll be warming, velvety, and reminiscent of pumpkin pie — autumn in a mug. 

4. Mint Majesty

Aptly named by Starbucks, mint is royalty in the tea world. An oxymoron in a cup, Mint Majesty warms and invigorates on its way down, but refreshes and calms the body as you make your way through these eight-or-so ounces of serene tea. Mint in itself is a standout herb, misunderstood except in its hyper-specific applications like mojitos and lamb mint chutney. It's not as earthy and savory as its siblings that are so beloved in the kitchen— like rosemary, oregano, and thyme — but is also a distant cousin to the floral flavors of rose, chamomile, and lavender that often charm the palates of tea drinkers. Mint tea is, in our opinion, one of the best applications of the herb: simple, classic, and soothing. 

Mint is a robust leaf the taste of which can stand on its own in a tea, while polite enough to share the stage with other elements when combined in a blend (as is done in multiple Starbucks teas). It's slightly sweet, a touch peppery, and blooms a peculiarly cool warmth in the chest with each drink. A dash of lemon verbena in this tea lightens the mint blend, but with Mint Majesty, you will enjoy a brew where mint is given its shining moment of fame.

Mint Majesty is caffeine-free and herbal, so we recommend picking it up in the afternoon when it's time to unwind. You can also ask your barista for an unopened teabag to brew later.

3. Raspberry milk tea

This drink missed the top two spots on the list by a hair's breadth. Per Reddit, to create Starbucks' secret raspberry milk tea, start with iced black tea. Add half and half instead of water, classic syrup instead of liquid cane sugar, and both raspberry and toffee nut syrups. If you are looking for a tea drink that packs tons of flavor without an overload of sweetness, this is the one for you. 

The raspberry is flavorful and tart, while the tea is frothy and creamy thanks to the half and half addition. Neither the syrup nor the dairy overpower the flavor of the black tea, which we were nervous about. Instead, all three components come together for a moderately-sweet, fruity, milky fusion. 

If the half and half is too heavy for your liking, we don't think the taste of this drink will be altered much by choosing whole, 2%, or skim milk, and an alternative like coconut, oat, or soy would work too with slight flavor changes — but all of these options would mean your drink isn't as smooth and creamy as the original. The raspberry milk tea is easy to drink all summer long, and only lost one point for its varying availability (some Starbucks don't keep raspberry syrup in stock, but you can try this tea with blueberry or peach instead). 

2. Faux-chata

The faux-chata, as we have dubbed it, is a secret tea recipe courtesy of a local Starbucks barista and a spin on horchata, a Mexican drink made of rice, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. The closest thing on Starbucks' actual menu is the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino, which is made with almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, and coffee. 

The barista's concoction uses neither dairy nor rice, but comes remarkably close to the drink's taste — in iced version. To start, order an iced black tea with cinnamon dolce syrup and white mocha sauce. There are no official measurements, but we opted for two pumps of cinnamon dolce and one of white mocha in a tall, and the resulting drink was plenty sweet. We expected the tea to be entirely drowned out by the additives, but it was unexpectedly complemented by the cinnamon dolce. Somehow, the drink is creamy and smooth without any dairy. 

It's certainly not the best drink to stay hydrated with this summer, but overall, this secret Starbucks menu item is delicious and dessert-like. It's among the sweetest of the tea drinks we tried, but it wasn't so overbearing that enjoying a tall size was uncomfortable. 

1. Iced strawberry matcha tea

Now time for the crown jewel of all Starbucks tea drinks: the secret iced strawberry matcha tea. Per TikTok user @gerrigerrigerri's recommendation, you'll want to order a Pink Drink with strawberry puree in the bottom of the cup, and then ask that it's topped off with vanilla cold foam that's been blended with a scoop of matcha powder.

The resulting drink is beautifully colored, with the trademark bright pink of the Pink Drink, the red strawberry puree, and tendrils of green from the matcha. Be warned, of course, that the picture-perfect colors will mash into a sickly sort of brownish-orange when you stir it up, but don't judge a book by its cover. Strawberry and matcha are a perfect marriage, and the sugar of the puree is balanced by the coconut milk and matcha. We were surprised at how prominent the matcha was, without the grassy flavor it gives on its own. The drink was sweet but not too sweet, and bursting with flavor from all its ingredients. 

While the drink is gorgeous when you first order it, don't be alarmed at what you'll see after it's been swirled together and then left to sit for a few minutes: between the matcha, coconut milk, foam, puree, and strawberries, there are a lot of different textures and densities going on in one cup. The visual is... a little chaotic. Don't let the separation spook you; just give the drink another hefty swirl and you'll be good to go.