Starbucks Iced Black Tea Copycat

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A refreshing and flavorful drink, this Starbucks Iced Black tea copycat is made with just 3 ingredients. It’s easy to make it at home in just 5 minutes!

Iced black tea in a glass.

Recipe Highlights

  • Starbucks Iced Black Tea is a cold, caffeinated drink that combines unsweetened English Breakfast tea and ice.
  • This easy copycat recipe recreates the Starbucks Iced Black Tea using 3 ingredients. It makes a grande size (16 ounces) drink.
  • Starbucks uses an iced tea concentrate, but this homemade version is made by brewing hot tea using tea bags and then quickly cooling it down with ice in a cocktail shaker. No cocktail shaker? A jar with a tight lid also works.
  • The drink is unsweetened, but it’s easy to customize by adding flavored simple syrup like vanilla or mint.

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Black Tea Lemonade Copycat

Iced Black Tea at Starbucks

Iced Black Tea is made by combining a pre-made black tea concentrate, filtered water, and ice. The tea concentrate, water, and ice are shaken together in a cocktail shaker then poured into a cup.

Water is added to the drink to dilute the black tea concentrate.

Starbucks no longer sweetens their Iced Black Tea unless requested, but if you want to make it like they used to, just ask for 4 pumps of liquid cane sugar for a grande.

The most popular sweeteners requested are Classic syrup, liquid cane sugar, raspberry or vanilla syrup.

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea Copycat

Ingredient Notes

Iced black tea ingredients.
  • Tazo Awake English Breakfast Tea
    Starbucks uses Teavana’s black tea concentrate to make their iced tea, but the concentrate and the tea bags aren’t available for purchase. Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast tea is very close in taste to the one at Starbucks. Tazo also sells an Unsweetened Iced Black Tea concentrate, but DO NOT get this since it tastes gross and has a weird aftertaste.
  • Water
    If possible, use filtered water for a better tasting tea. Starbucks uses triple filtered water to make their drinks.
  • Ice
    Filtered water makes better tasting ice.
My English Breakfast Tea Pick

Photo Credit: amazon.com

This English Breakfast tea is a very similar to Teavana’s Royal English Breakfast tea, which is what Starbucks uses to make their black tea.
SEE PRICE ON TARGET.COM

Step-by-Step Instructions

Four photo collage showing steps to make Iced Black Tea.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to see the recipe.

  1. Put tea bags and hot water into a teapot.
    Instead of using boiling hot water, use simmered water to steep tea. Simmer water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting.
  2. Cover and steep.
  3. Put ice and hot tea into a cocktail shaker. Shake.
    If you want to add sweetener, add it into the cocktail shaker with the hot tea and ice. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, use a large jar with a tight lid.
  4. Pour iced tea into a cup.
    Empty everything from the cocktail shaker into the cup.
My Glass Teapot Pick

Photo Credit: amazon.com

This is the teapot I use to make tea quick and easy. The lid is a strainer and it’s super easy to clean.
SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

Ways to Sweeten Iced Black Tea

Starbucks Iced Black Tea doesn’t come sweetened and neither does this copycat recipe, but it’s easy to make this drink sweet. Add simple syrup to taste, or start with 2 tablespoons of syrup into the cocktail shaker with the hot tea and ice.

Always use simple syrup for cold drinks since it’s easier to mix into the iced beverage.

  • Simple syrup
    The easiest way to sweeten a cold drink is with simple syrup. Making your own simple syrup is quick and easy, using just 2 ingredients.
  • Brown sugar simple syrup
    Instead of regular simple syrup, add brown sugar simple syrup to give your drink a richer, caramel sweetness.
  • Vanilla syrup
    Use store-bought or homemade vanilla syrup to add a flavor boost to black tea.
  • Lemon syrup
    Brighten up your iced tea with homemade lemon syrup.
  • Rose syrup
    Rose flavored syrup isn’t a syrup option at Starbucks, but if you love floral flavors, add rose syrup to your iced tea.
  • Honey syrup
    If you want a more traditional sweetener to go with black tea, add honey syrup. It’ll mix better in iced tea than honey itself.

RELATED: Simple Syrups Recipes

Expert Tips

  • English Breakfast tea is a blend of black teas and every brand makes a different mix. Starbucks uses Teavana’s English Breakfast tea to make their black teas but you can use any English Breakfast tea from any brand.
  • If you don’t have English Breakfast tea bags, any black tea blend (Irish Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast, etc.) or Assam tea will work.
  • To use loose tea, replace the 2 tea bags with 1 heaping tablespoon of English Breakfast tea.
  • Use an electric kettle to set the correct temperature to boil water. Not all tea should be made using boiling hot water.
  • Don’t oversteep! Steeping more than the recommended time will make your tea taste bitter.
  • The more vigorously you shake the iced tea, the more foam you’ll see on the surface. If you like a lot of foam, shake it 40 times.

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte Copycat

Questions You May Have

How is Starbucks Iced Black Tea made?

Black tea concentrate, cold filtered water, and ice is all that’s in a Starbucks Iced Black Tea. Starbucks uses Teavana English Breakfast tea in a concentrate, dilutes it with water, then mixes it with ice in a cocktail shaker.

Is there caffeine in Iced Black Tea?

Yes. There’s caffeine naturally in all black teas. If it’s a real tea, then it has caffeine.

Can I make this with decaf English Breakfast tea?

You can, but know that decaffeinated teas are highly processed and the taste will be different from the one at Starbucks.

Why does my iced tea taste bitter?

Tea can taste bitter when it’s steeped for too long or in water that’s too hot. Always keep an eye out on the steep time and use an electric kettle with a temperature setting to make a proper cup of tea.

How much ice and tea is in a grande sized drink at Starbucks?

Starbucks iced drinks are half liquid and half ice. In a grande sized drink, which is 16 ounces, 8 ounces is tea and 8 ounces is ice.

Photo of finished black iced tea with square ice cubes.

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Starbucks Iced Black Tea Copycat

Author: Jee Choe
A refreshing and flavorful drink, this Starbucks Iced Black tea copycat is made with just 3 ingredients in 5 minutes!
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving (16 ounces)

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Put tea bags and hot water into a teapot.
    Instead of using boiling hot water, use simmered water to steep tea. Simmer water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Set the water temperature to 190°F.
  • Cover and steep for 3 minutes.
    Steeping for longer may make your tea bitter.
  • Put ice and hot tea into a cocktail shaker. Shake 10 times.
    Put ice in first, then the hot tea. If you want to add sweetener, add it into the cocktail shaker with the hot tea and ice.
  • Pour iced tea into a cup.
    Empty everything from the cocktail shaker into the cup.

NOTES

  • English Breakfast tea is a blend of black teas and every brand makes a different mix. Starbucks uses Teavana’s English Breakfast tea to make their black teas but you can use any English Breakfast tea from any brand since they all have similar tasting notes.
  • If you don’t have English Breakfast tea bags, any black tea blend (Irish Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast, etc.) or Assam tea will work.
  • To use loose tea, replace the 2 tea bags with 1 heaping tablespoon of English Breakfast tea.
  • Use an electric kettle to set the correct temperature to boil water. Not all tea should be made using boiling hot water.
  • Don’t oversteep! Steeping more than the recommended time will make your tea taste bitter.
  • The more vigorously you shake the iced tea, the more foam you’ll see on the surface. If you like a lot of foam, shake it 40 times.
  • Starbucks uses Teavana’s black tea concentrate to make their iced tea, but the concentrate and the tea bags aren’t available for purchase. Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast tea bags is very close in taste to the one at Starbucks. Tazo also sells an Unsweetened Iced Black Tea concentrate, but DO NOT get this since it tastes gross and has a weird aftertaste.
  • If possible, use filtered water for a better tasting tea. Starbucks uses triple filtered water to make their drinks.

Ways to Sweeten Iced Tea

Starbucks Iced Black Tea doesn’t come sweetened and neither does this copycat recipe, but it’s easy to make this drink sweet. Add simple syrup to taste, or start with 2 tablespoons of syrup into the cocktail shaker with the hot tea and ice.
Always use simple syrup for cold drinks since it’s easier to mix into the iced beverage.
  • Simple syrup
    The easiest way to sweeten a cold drink is with simple syrup. Making your own simple syrup is quick and easy, using just 2 ingredients.
  • Brown sugar simple syrup
    Instead of regular simple syrup, add brown sugar simple syrup to give your drink a richer, caramel sweetness.
  • Vanilla syrup
    Use store-bought or homemade vanilla syrup to add a flavor boost to black tea.
  • Lemon syrup
    Brighten up your iced tea with homemade lemon syrup.
  • Rose syrup
    Rose flavored syrup isn’t a syrup option at Starbucks, but if you love floral flavors, add rose syrup to your iced tea.
  • Honey syrup
    If you want a more traditional sweetener to go with black tea, add honey syrup. It’ll mix better in iced tea than honey itself.

NUTRITION

Calories: 1 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg
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