18 Popular Starbucks Tea Drinks Ranked

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 from worst to best.

18. Iced Green Tea

If you regularly drink iced green tea, you'll probably find that Starbucks's version without any sweetener has a somewhat watered-down taste. It needs something additional to avoid feeling like water with a hint of green tea flavoring. Honestly, the flavor is so slight that I would just prefer to have water, instead.

In terms of color, it's not particularly attractive to look at with its yellowish-greenish hue; even still, it's clear that the green tea is still an ideal base for many of the flavored offerings Starbucks provides, both on the current menu as well as ones of seasons' past. And while it continues to be a popular choice for its refreshing qualities, it feels more like tea-flavored water to me. That said, if you prefer a lighter flavor over the deeper, more earthy flavor of matcha, you'll probably prefer this to the matcha offerings at Starbucks.

17. Chai Tea

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 the 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 (called simply Chai Tea on the menu) is beautifully complex. I 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, I 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 the 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.

16. Matcha Tea Latte

When I think of matcha, the first thing that comes to mind is the traditional tea ceremony, with matcha powder scooped into small cups using a special wooden spoon and sipped slowly as a special treat. So, a quick drink from Starbucks feels quite different from this traditional experience. However, even still, I find that the matcha at Starbucks tastes remarkably similar to other matcha I've enjoyed in ceremonial settings.

That said, matcha is an acquired taste even with its beautiful, vibrant green color. Though I enjoy it, compared to other flavors available through Starbucks' tea menu, it doesn't stand out as one of my favorites. One of the coolest parts about matcha is all the steps that go into it, and picking up a quick drink just doesn't quite fit the bill for me when I'm looking for something as basic as a matcha tea latte, which aims to emulate the flavor of traditional matcha.

15. Iced Matcha Tea Latte

As I tend to enjoy iced drinks more than warm ones, perhaps it's no surprise that I enjoyed the iced version of the matcha latte more than the hot one. This version would have ranked higher overall if not for one major issue: The matcha dissolves best in hot water and steamed milk. Since the iced version uses cold ingredients, you're left with a layer of matcha sediment at the bottom of your cup. Throughout, you can also see undissolved bits of matcha floating around.

This latte also lacks the smooth, steamed milk feel of the hot latte version, so though its flavor is similar, the texture is different. That said, this is a delicious base for many Starbucks syrups and additions, so while the basic version may not be my favorite, it has a great starting point on which to build.

14. Iced Black Tea

When you order any of the iced teas in person, there's a good chance your barista will ask if you want it sweetened. As a default, Starbucks does not sweeten these drinks, so if you're ordering through the app, keep this in mind if you like a little sweetness in your tea. Although the black iced tea doesn't have an ultra-strong tea flavor, it is still present and, to my liking, certainly needs a little sweetener, especially because it tends to suffer from a similar issue as the iced green tea: It tastes watered down.

However, the black tea flavor is stronger than the green tea, making it a better basic option. If you continuously notice that the drink is too watered down, you can ask for it to be made without water, which baristas normally add as they prepare the drink. When ordering without water, I've noticed that you can experience one of two outcomes. Either the barista will add more tea, or your drink will be less full. When ordering, making it clear that you'd like no water and just more tea will likely lead to a better iced tea experience. Without water, you'll also notice that your tea takes on a deeper color than the apricot-like color you'll get when tea and water are shaken together.

13. London Fog Tea 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, I 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 of 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.

12. Chai Tea 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.

While S-bucks didn't do anything wrong with its chai latte, it didn't blow me 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, I 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. 

11. Iced Black Tea Lemonade

Even if you don't follow golf, you've probably heard of the famed golfer Arnold Palmer. Popular not just for his golf game, this is the legend who made the mixture of iced tea and lemonade popular on golf courses and front porches around the country.

Though you won't order an Arnold Palmer by name at Starbucks, the iced black tea lemonade is essentially that: a mixture of tea and lemonade. The resulting drink is sweeter than typical lemonade, and since the lemonade replaces the water that would normally be mixed in with the tea, it also tastes far less watered down. Plus, the lemonade adds a punch of sweetness and tartness that is as refreshing as it is delicious. This is the perfect drink for a midday pick-me-up during the summertime. The only issue with the black tea is that it is a little boring compared to other menu options with flashier inclusions.

10. 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 of ounces of lemonade with water to cut down on the pucker. My 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, I 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 Campbells, pajamas on a weekday afternoon, and old cartoon reruns can bring, try the Honey Citrus Mint.

9. Iced London Fog Tea Latte

A hot girl summer version of the classic. Starbucks' iced London Fog latte used to be a secret menu item, but it got so popular that the brand rolled it out as a real drink on the menu, so now it's easier than ever to order.

The tea flavor in this chilled variation of a timeless drink is very subtle, almost weak. I was concerned about sweetness but, with halving the vanilla, was 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.

I 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.

8. Iced Green Tea Lemonade

As a basic drink, the iced green tea was my least favorite, but adding lemonade makes it so much better. Of the tea and lemonade versions on the menu, this is definitely the lighter and brighter one.

The lemonade adds sweetness and tartness that nicely complements the green tea, making it feel like a complete drink. Even though I ordered this drink in its basic form for this tasting, I typically order it with added sweetener as I find it tastes much better. I also like adding other syrups to this green tea lemonade. With new spring options now available, there are plenty of flavoring additions that play well with it. I'm a big fan of the new lavender powder, for example. The light yellow color may not be the most appetizing to look at in drinks, but the flavors here are great.

7. Iced Passion Tango Tea

The color of a drink can enhance the tasting experience significantly, and the iced passion tango tea at Starbucks certainly does not lack color, given its bright magenta. To be sure, it's a lovely choice if you're looking for a drink that will photograph well or match the spring and summer seasons.

Although I am a fan of the Iced Passion Tango Tea, others who do not enjoy a floral feel to their drinks might not be fans of this one, as it has a very strong hibiscus flavor. Though this iced tea is watered down in the same way as black tea and green tea for preparation purposes, the overall flavor does not have the same kind of watered-down taste. It isn't pungently flavorful, but the herbal tea does enough to carry its weight, even with the added water. That said, this one does nicely with a bit of extra sweetener. Admittedly, though the Passion Tea is good on its own, I typically always order it with lemonade.

6. Iced Peach Green Tea

Many flavoring opportunities at Starbucks come from syrup, but in this case, the flavoring added to this green tea actually comes from a peach juice blend. This wasn't always the case, however. In the summer of 2019, the brand switched from using syrups to flavor teas to using juice blends. The syrups would have been similar to the popular raspberry syrup that has also been phased out.

Though I once enjoyed the iced teas that used flavoring syrup, the juice blend alternative is also quite tasty. In this case, the peach complements the green tea flavor and does a nice job of compensating for the watery taste that iced green tea has at Starbucks. This one doesn't come sweetened by default, but it doesn't need it because of the juice blend, which is already sweet. With the peach juice added, it also has a more appealing color, a slight peachy green rather than a pale yellow. Plus, it's also the delicious base drink for a peaches and cream concoction.

5. Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade

While I enjoy the iced peach tea on its own, adding lemonade definitely enhances it. This combination offers a mix of sweet peach flavors and more tart lemonade. The balance of flavors works well here, making it one of my favorite drinks when I'm looking for something ultra-refreshing but don't need a heavy dose of caffeine. I find it especially enjoyable while sitting on the beach or poolside.

The only downside is that the color is again closer to pale yellow due to the added lemonade. Another huge benefit of this drink is that I've never had a poorly made version of it. Even though baristas often deviate a bit from their training in terms of preparing drinks, which can sometimes result in a poorly made product, no matter who has made this drink for me, it's tasted great. Sometimes it comes with more lemonade, often with more peach, and only occasionally with a bit more green tea flavor. No matter how the recipe has shifted, the result is always good.

4. Iced Chai Tea Latte

A chai tea latte is good, but an iced chai tea latte is even better. This is a creamy, milky tea that I find very soothing. There are plenty of flavors going on here, with spices at the forefront. Upon the first sip, you get a lot of light flavors mingling with milk, but as the taste lingers, it has a sort of cinnamon gum aftertaste that I'm never upset about.

One of my favorite aspects of chai is how easily it can be augmented. For example, as something of a tea secret menu option, I love ordering a dirty chai made with a shot of blonde espresso roast. The blonde roast's smoothness complements the chai's spiciness well and adds a little depth to the overall flavor. Even still, if you just want chai, the iced version is an ideal choice on its own.

3. Passion Tango Tea Lemonade

The basic passion tea at Starbucks is tasty, but its lemonade option is even better. I find it quite tart and tasty, ultra-refreshing, and I especially love it with sweetener included in the order. Like the alternative without lemonade, this drink is a bright, beautiful pink color, albeit more subdued than the one without lemonade.

It's very easy to drink, and though we got the grande size, a venti is probably a better choice given how crave-worthy and sippable it is. It's a great spring and summer drink, with no caffeine because it is an herbal tea variety. Overall, it has a strong sweet taste without tasting too floral, thanks to the lemonade.

Once, in the summer of 2016, Starbucks offered a version with apple juice rather than lemonade, fruit, and a sangria syrup, calling it the Teavana Shaken Berry Sangria Herbal Tea. Although you can't get the sangria syrup anymore, you can add apple juice, and it's delicious with this substitution in place of the lemonade.

2. Iced Matcha Lemonade

With the increasing popularity of matcha, especially within Starbucks' offerings, you may be looking for a delicious entry point that isn't too strong on the matcha flavor. The Iced Matcha Lemonade is a great place to start, as the matcha flavor is subtle and more on the backend, making it a light drink with just a hint of matcha.

While the iced matcha latte often struggles to achieve a fully dissolved matcha consistency, this one tends to be more fully mixed. Though the matcha lemonade is pretty sweet on its own, and we wouldn't necessarily add more, if you are looking for a sweeter drink, you could also add some additional sweetness. With the newest lavender flavored powder Starbucks has added to the menu, this would be delicious as a lavender matcha lemonade. We also like the option of making this into a blended drink for a frosty lemonade feel.

1. Iced Lavender Cream Oat Milk Matcha

My newest drink obsession is the Iced Lavender Cream Oat Milk Matcha. In fact, I was so excited to try this drink, especially this new one, that it's the first place I began, and it's definitely my favorite overall. This drink is absolutely delicious, and the lavender complements the matcha really well. Since I ordered this one on the first day the drink was offered, there was a bit of trouble with the barista ringing me up and selecting the right drink, but this was easily remedied and actually ended up being a refunded order. Apparently, the buttons are very similar to one another, so when ordering, be sure to double-check that you're being charged for the correct drink, as it's easy to mistake this one for an Iced Lavender Oat Milk Latte.

I found this to be a fabulous way to enjoy matcha and the special flavors of spring. The oat milk is subtle and blends well with the other flavors. I can imagine it being really good with extra lavender foam on top. I've been reading on social media that some Starbucks customers are describing it as tasting like Froot Loops, and while I can see where they're coming from, I'm not really a fan of Froot Loops, and I really enjoyed this one. That said, it does have a sort of fruity taste to it, but Froot Loops is definitely not the first thing that came to my mind.


With so many different varieties of tea offered at Starbucks, it can be challenging to know how to compare them, especially because the flavors can vary so widely between hot and iced options. However, to rank them most accurately, I chose to base my decisions on two important factors: overall taste and the drink's look.

Although the drink's appearance doesn't necessarily impact the taste, it can make a difference in how I feel about the drink, both in terms of visual appeal and how it feels to carry it around, photograph it, and enjoy it. In terms of flavor, my criteria were simple: I considered whether it was a delicious drink to enjoy or whether the taste was off-putting and not something I'd return to.