Aug 11

StarbucksGreenTeaHack1.jpgSo I think I’ve broken the code on the green tea at Starbucks. By the way I’m addicted to this drink. Every day at 3pm I jump in my car and make the pilgrimage to the closest dealer –ahem, I mean Starbucks– to get my venti unsweetened shaken green tea. This habit which costs me $2.11 each day has roughly the same financial impact as the nicotine addiction for the smoker that consumes a pack of cigarettes every day (granted it’s a little bit healthier).

I had a good idea of what I thought was in their tea so I experimented a bit with making it on my own and I believe I have perfected the mix. I knew there was an echinacea flavor in there and I notice they use a syrup for the mix which seems to have a faint honey taste. Here’s the simple recipe I’ve arrived at:

  • two bags of green tea
  • one bag of echinacea
  • one teaspoon honey
  • one quart water

Brew this up, then ice it and I challenge you to do a taste test and pick the one that’s the Starbucks mix. You can get the antioxidant Celestial Seasonings Green Tea online 40 pouches for $6 and 20 pouches of the Echinacea for $4. The venti size at Starbucks is 16oz (1/2 quart) so for $13 (tea plus the honey – prices online are similar to store prices), you can get 40 servings. Assuming yours is a daily habit at Phoenix prices, ignoring gas and time savings, that translates to roughly $50 in savings per month. Plus you don’t have to deal with Starbucks zombies. If you are as addicted to this stuff as I am, this home brew trick just might save you enough money to be able to afford the green tea anonymous rehab treatment you will undoubtedly need. I’ll see you at the next session.

17 Responses to “lifehack: Cracking the Starbucks Green Tea Code”

  1. I once made ‘tea of death’ using 4 packs black tea (English Breakfast), 2 packs green tea and 4 packs morning thunder (black tea and mate). I think I used about 10 cups of water and boiled it all together in a pot. Let it cool and add honey.

    It tasted rather good but when I added a little grape juice it was great. Problem was, it had enough caffine to keep me totally awake and wired after a full 30 hours of no sleep.

    All I needed was a 10 minute ‘nap’ and I didn’t need to sleep again for another 15 hours or so.

    tea of death – strong enough to wake the dead…or put you there.

  2. smithee says:

    Thanks for the tip. I also checked out the Starbucks site which says that their Tazo iced green tea is green tea, mint, lemon grass and lemon yerbena.

    Based on your post and the SB info I went today and picked up a box of Trader Joe's Organic Green Tea and a box of Trader Joe's Organic Mint (peppermint, spearmint and lemongrass). Both are under $3 for 20 bags.

    My first batch was 2 green tea to 1 mint/lemongrass. I'm sipping it now and it's close and tasty, but not quite right. I'll try 1-1 next and see if that is more similar.

    As an aside, Trader Joe's is also selling a gallon jug of pre-made Green and white tea. It's not even close. They use citric acid as a lemon flavor substitute which gives it a vaguely artificial taste.

    • Lily says:

      You can just buy Tazo "Zen" tea. It's 3 dollars and change for something like 15-20 teabags. Then make the iced tea yourself at home. I'd use honey.

  3. sean says:


    that's interesting- i suppose I should have checked their site first to see if they actually published their own recipe… I swear the Celestial Seasonings combination is nearly identitcal to their flavor. I tried the mix with green tea and echinecea from another brand and it was even close. Looking at the ingredients on the CS Echinecea box it seems to fortuitously have the mint as well as some other ingredients like licorice and chicory root.

    whatever it is, it's good stuff and a heck of a lot cheaper than Sbucks…


    • colette says:

      I was wondering if i could use regular sugar or brown sugar instead of honey, and would you know about how much sugar?

  4. smithee says:

    The licorice in the Celestial sounds tasty. I’m brewing up a gallon right now with the Trader Joe’s tea at 1-1 gree tea to mint melange. I’ll have to try Celestial next. (btw, the 2-1 turned out to be fantastic once I let it chill in the fridge and poured it over crushed ice.)

    I’d always heard about the benefits of green tea, but I didn’t enjoy it until I tried the Starbucks and got addicted like you.

    Now I’m addicted to my variation on your helpful recipe. Thanks!

  5. Annie says:

    that’s cool that you ‘cracked the starbucks code.’ i’ve actually been anti-starbucks for almost a year now, b/c of the repeatedly crappy service among other things (lack of a microwave for my muffins, 25 min wait in line, what have you).

    anyhoo, i miss my venti half-sweetened iced black tea. do you have any idea how that one is made? i know the sweetener is a water/sugar concoction.

  6. sean says:

    i sympathize on your anti-starbucks sentiment- have you seen this site yet-> it’s a must.

    no clue on they make their black tea. honestly i haven’t tried any other flavors since I found the green tea- i love that one. i’ll check it out next time i’m there and let you know if I can crack the recipe on that one.


  7. reginae says:

    smithee, i couldn’t find the tazo iced green tea ingredients on the starbucks website. . . care to share the link?

  8. dave says:

    The Venti size is 20 oz in a hot cup and twenty four oz in and iced cup! So its a little bit more for your money than you are making it out to be.

  9. tlm says:

    Hey, it is not so complicated. It is their zen green tea and classic syrup. No big secret. You get 3 pumps of syrup for a tall, 4 for grande, and 6 for a venti.


  10. Jonathan says:

    It’s not a secret. You can buy it in the store, or even at the grocery store. It’s Tazo “Zen” tea – brew it a double strength, add sugar, and then pour it over ice.

  11. Vince says:


  12. Nate says:

    Or get a Starbucks card and get free refills… Just bring in your cup and do work.

  13. zoeyayo says:

    omg starbucks is sooooo saaaaad iv been literally calling every Starbucks to figure out the second ingredient and they were soooo pressed to say its only tazo green tea…..y yall fakin….thanks to this post i literally refuse to spend money on green tea again…its the same exact think….echinecea is the secret!!!
    ps: thanks to starbuck i was brewing to tea for an hour to get the taste ……arrrrr.
    im happy now thanks!

  14. Nanna says:

    Well, since I am also addicted to the Starbucks green tea, I just ruched to bought the Echinacea, if it won't taste the same at least I'll have a healthy cup of tea. I 'll stick up with it till I finish the packages.

  15. Sarah says:

    I don't understand what the big deal is about this tea, it is literally the Zen tea and classic syrup. Don't bother buying two kinds of teas to mix them, just buy the Tazo tea they have in the store and sweeten it yourself. There is no code to crack.

    Also, they will warm your muffins up for you behind the counter.

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