Perfect Starbucks Iced Black Tea Lemonade


Black Tea Lemonade

I used to work at Starbucks. It was a great job that saw me through college and my first few years as a newlywed. I quickly became addicted to coffee and, on the hotter days, iced tea. As a barista, we had to try all the different recipes (no complaint here!) so we could describe them to the customers.

My favorites were the java chip frappuccino, a plain coffee frappuccino with two shots affogato style (one can get a bit prissy about coffee when working there), a hazelnut americano, and my staple: a venti iced black tea lemonade! I can still smell the tea brewing and hear the sound of the ice in the tea shaker.

Those were the days! When I quit because I got my first teaching job, I lost the awesome discount us employees received. But alas, I could make these recipes in my sleep so I quickly learned how to make cheaper copycat versions at home. 

Ingredient 1: The Tea

This recipe I am going to give you is about as close to the real thing you can get without driving there yourself. Of course you can substitute the products I suggest for general brands, but know that the taste will be somewhat different.

Secret Tip: "iced black tea lemonades are shaken, not stirred."

 Starbucks uses Tazo products for their tea, so if you want the real Starbucks taste, you need to get Tazo Earl Grey hot tea bags. You should be able to find them on the coffee/tea aisle of the grocery store, but if not, you can order them here. However, other black tea products work just as well, though the flavor will be slightly altered.

Pour 4 cups of water into your tea kettle and remove 4 of the tea packets. The ratio should stay 1:1. Boil the water until the kettle whistles and then carefully remove the top to insert the tea bags. If you don't want to use black tea, try passion tea to make Copycat Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade.

Here's a little trick of the trade to make your life easier: let the tops of the tea bags hang out the side, secured by the top of the kettle. Make sure the bags are fully submerged in the water. This is so much easier than fishing around for the bags after it's done steeping. You can also pour the boiling water into another bowl or large pitcher but I like to do it this way so that I don't burn myself and I limit the number of dishes I use. Let the tea steep for at least 5 minutes.

Ingredient 2: The Lemonade

While the tea is steeping, unwrap a frozen can of lemonade concentrate.

Pour it into the pitcher you want to use and then add 2 cans (use the same can the concentrate was in) full of filtered water. Starbucks filters their water 3 times so that is part of the reason their tea tastes so refreshing. Regular ol' tap water is fine, of course, but the taste will be slightly different.

Now give it a stir to make sure all the concentrate is melted. This is my daughter Nevaeh. She loves to help me in the kitchen and this is one of the tasks she can help me with. I believe that children are more inclined to try different foods/tastes/textures if they are a part of the preparation process.

Not that I need Nevaeh to like black tea lemonade (LOL!), but I find that she wants to eat what she helped to cook, even if it was chopping asparagus, shredding lettuce, or peeling cucumber. Sorry, just a bit of mom advice there. Now back to your regularly scheduled program!

The Last Step

Once the tea has steeped, add it to the lemonade concentrate and add a bunch of ice. Let the pitcher refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving, but if you want to drink it right away, skip down to my last secret step!

Here's the last Starbucks secret: their iced black tea lemonades are shaken, not stirred. At least they SHOULD be. I have gotten the lazy barista who didn't take the last step and I can tell the difference! So grab a shaker full of ice, pour the iced tea lemonade in, and shake about 10 times.

Pour it in a glass, add a slice of lemon, and you have your own iced black tea lemonade for a fraction of the cost! No worries if you don't have a shaker! Transfer it back and forth between two cups or use a water bottle with a lid and it will taste nearly the same!

Starbucks also sweetens their iced black tea lemonade with classic syrup, which is nothing more than simple syrup. I personally feel that this recipe is already sweet enough, so I don't add any sweetener. But if you want it sweeter, add 1 Tablespoon of simple syrup or the sweetener of your choice.

Many people also go with Splenda, Equal, or Sweet N Low. Add the sugar you prefer before you shake so that it can dissipate throughout the beverage.

Doesn't that iced black tea lemonade look refreshing? I just want to grab it and go sit by the pool! If you are thinking of heading to the pool, take these 13 Minute Almond Joy Cookies or these 5 Ingredient M&M Peanut Butter Bars with you. The kids will love you forever!

Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be used with multiple flavors of tea. Want a passion tea lemonade or green tea lemonade? Follow the same steps using Tazo passion or green tea bags instead. I have also tried peach and blackberry flavors and those are delicious! The possibilities are endless!

Not into the Arnold Palmer type beverage? Substitute water for the lemonade and you'll have classic iced tea. Drop me a line and let me hear how you made the iced tea. Happy cooking y'all!

If you like Starbucks Iced Vanilla Coffee or Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade, I can show you how to make these copycat recipes at home too! What is your favorite Starbucks drink? Have you learned to make it at home yet? Drop me a line, visit me on Facebook, or check out my Pinterest and let me know. Happy Cooking y'all!

Copycat Starbucks Iced Black Tea Lemonade

Heidi Davison
This iced black tea lemonade is a copycat version of the popular Starbucks drink. It is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 6 -8


  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cans full filtered water
  • Ice


  • lemon for a garnish
  • your choice of sweetener


  • Boil water in a tea kettle until it whistles.
  • Plunge tea bags beneath boiling water and let steep at least 5 minutes.
  • Pour lemonade concentrate into pitcher and, using the same can, add 2 cans of filtered water.
  • Mix until all concentrate is melted.
  • Add the black tea to the lemonade after it has steeped.
  • Add ice to the top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Fill shaker with ice and shake iced tea lemonade for each cup before serving.

Related in Category





  • Cannot find canned frozen lemonade at my grocery, so cannot use ‘canned’ as a measurement. What is the volume of prepared lemonade to add?

  • 5 stars
    Perfect copycat recipe for this. Made it today and we enjoyed it, thanks for posting!

  • 5 stars
    Hello! So excited to have found this recipe. I have a silly question. Is the 1 tbsp of sweetener added to the full pitcher or per drink?
    Thank you!

  • Hi, I’m so excited to try this thanks for posting! My favorite Starbucks drink is the 16oz (grande) black tea lemonade but with two pumps of liquid cane sugar and three pumps of raspberry syrup. If I make this, would you say it’s sweet enough and I’d only need the raspberry syrup?

  • That “Lazy barista” makes upwards of 500 drinks per shift. FYI Shaking the tea does little to nothing unless there is sugar.

    • Someone took that personally. Cry me a fucking river

    • Imagine applying for a job making drinks and then complaining about making drinks when they get the job…

  • Riya Pathak says:

    Hi Heidi,

    I am very excited to try this recipe. I just have 2 questions.

    1. I live alone and if I make a pitcher it will take me a while to go through it, so I was just wondering how long can I store it in the fridge for?

    2. Instead of using frozen lemonade and adding water to it, does using store bought regular lemonade make a difference?

    Thank you!

  • Daisy Hernandez says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you could help me do a iced mango black tea lemonade version ?

  • I highly recommend adding blueberry simple syrup to this recipe to make a blueberry black tea lemonade

    • That is a great idea! Where have you found blueberry simple syrup? Or did you make your own?

  • Thanks for posting this recipe — I can’t wait to make it for my family! My favorite Starbucks drink is the Iced Blueberry Black Tea. Do you have a recipe for that one?

    • Unfortunately I don’t! So sorry! But try making my iced tea lemonade recipe with blueberry tea. I bet that would be delicious!

  • Olivia Olson says:

    Hi Heidi!
    I just tried Starbucks’ black tea lemonade but I had peach juice added as well! Do you have any suggestions for how much I should add to the pitcher? Also any ideas for what kind of peach juice…? Lol

    • If adding it to the pitcher, I would probably start with 1/2 to 3/4 cup and go up from there.

    • Ceres 100% All Natural Pure Fruit Juice Blend, Peach on Amazon
      for every 2 cups add one cup peach

  • Does this same recipe work with the white tea or is the ratio for tea different? I prefer the white tea lemonade. Thanks

    • Yes, you can definitely use this with white tea!

  • Really? Starbucks uses Earl Grey…I hate Earl Grey…say it isn’t so! lol I love their shaken lemonade tea.

  • 5 stars
    I love any recipe that copycat’s Starbucks. Way cheaper (and I can put in much less ice) than S. Thanks for sharing! Now I’m going in search of their hot Mocha recipe.

    • You and I have the same mindset! I hate spending my hard earned money on ice, lol! I will have to make the mocha recipe so you can try that too. Basically, it is mocha syrup, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream.

  • 5 stars
    Hey! Loved your post and am super excited to try your recipe! I did have a question for you. If I wanted to make this like the Starbucks pineapple black tea, what would you suggest using? Thank you so very much much!

    • Hi Sam! Starbucks’ pineapple iced tea is an infusion of yummy ingredients that come all mixed together so it is hard to differentiate the ingredients. If you’d like that pineapple taste, I would make the tea/lemonade as directed and then add some pineapple juice. You may not need to add as much sweetener afterwards since the pineapple juice will be slightly sweetened. Let me know how it turns out!

    • You could also try to find a tea that has hints of orange, apple, and chamomile and then brew that in place of the black tea. 🙂

  • I am so excited to read this post as
    I’ve become obsessed with this drink at Starbucks. I wanted to ask if there’s anything you suggest to make it less calories or sugar? For example would making a pitcher of lemonade using crystal light lemonade powder be better or throw things off?

    Also I just bought peach mango lipton tea bags and wanted to try it out with that. I also have lemon flavouring liquid at home. Do you recommend using these items or refrain?

    Thanks in advance for this recipe. So excited to do this and save money!!

    • Hi Nina! Those are great questions! I have not personally tried Crystal Light lemonade in this mixture but it is certainly worth a try if you need to reduce calories. That being said, I do think it might alter the taste simply because the lemonade will not be near as concentrated as the frozen concentrate. As to your peach tea idea, I would totally try it! I have done something similar and it was delicious. You can actually use any type of tea with the lemonade concentrate and it will make a refreshing beverage. I have tried peach, passion fruit, and green tea and all come out lovely.

  • 5 stars
    How big is the pitcher you use. I don’t know how much ice to add to lemonade/tea mix. Mine came out kinda watery. Thanks

    • My pitcher is the standard size. I make the lemonade iced tea and then add the ice when I am ready to serve it. If you have the time to let it refrigerate all day, you won’t even need to add ice unless you want it. I hope that helps.

      • 5 stars
        Yes, that helps a lot. It was my missing piece.😀

  • Kate Porada says:

    Hi Heidi sorry to bother you but we have 6 oz and 12 oz size frozen lemonade concentrate which size would be used in your recipe. And how many quarts does it make?
    I look forward to trying this recipe. Thank you

    • I use the 12 oz size concentrate and altogether it makes about 48 oz, give or take. If you add ice there will obviously be more.

      • If the can is 12 fl. oz and you add 2 cans of water using the can, you will be adding 24 fl. ounces of water to 12 fluid ounces of concentrate. That should result in 36 fluid ounces, not 48. Something is wrong with the numbers.

        • Hi Jamie! Yes, you are adding 12 oz of lemonade and 24 oz of water. There is also the 32 oz of tea. So altogether there should be 68 oz. If you put in a lot of ice and that melts, that can create more too.

          • Thanks for clarifying, and thanks for the recipe.

          • No problem.

  • 5 stars
    I just made your tea lemonade recipe. It was fabulous. I have never tasted Starbucks version. Not sure if I should get on at Starbucks or just keep loving the one I made from your recipe. I have loved mixing iced tea and lemonade but never had one this good. Big thanks……

    • Thanks for the compliment, Marge! And if you haven’t jumped on the Starbucks bandwagon after all this time, refrain! They are delicious and addicting for sure, but your wallet will thank you!

  • I recently tried this at Starbucks and thought “oh man, my wallet is in trouble!”
    Then only a few days later I saw this recipe online and thought I’d try it.
    Wow!!! I’m so glad I did!! It’s the perfect mix of tea and lemonade. So many times before I’ve tried to mix tea and lemonade, but the tea was too weak. This is PERFECT!! No need for adjusting and will keep you cool all summer.

    • Starbucks has gotten me and my wallet in trouble a time or two! I’m so glad you like this tea and can save yourself some money.

  • This is SOOO good! Here in NY we have delis that have amazing iced teas and “half and half” and this tastes just like my favorite deli’s half and half! I used 4 Red Rose tea bags (regular black tea) since I don’t like the flavor of Earl Gray and I think next time I make it I will bump up the tea bags one or two because I like a strong tea flavor. The tart and sweet from the lemonade is perfect and this is SO easy to keep the ingredients on hand through the summer. Thanks for a GREAT recipe!

    • 5 stars
      I wanted to leave a 5 star rating but for some reason the ratings aren’t working. Oh NOW it is! 🙂

    • Ann, you are SO welcome! I love hearing that you used Rose tea bags and that it turned out well. Sometimes I increase the amount of tea bags I use too. Great idea!

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