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.
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. 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.
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.
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!
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 ya’ll!
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
- 2 cans full filtered water
- Optional: 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.