Posted by: saveafewbucks | August 20, 2010

Black tea lemonade (Arnold Palmer)

During the summer, I occasionally indulge in Starbucks’ black shaken iced tea lemonade. Given that this summer has been the hottest since record keeping began in 1880, I can’t really be blamed for my numerous trips out to get one of these delicious drinks. Well I can be blamed. Given my current lack of funds, I’m being irresponsible by spending $3.20 (taxes included for a grande) on a regular basis.

As a result of my rediscovered love for making food, I’ve gone on a quest to find the perfect mock Starbuck’s recipe.

Using my best friend (Google) as a resource, I found that most recipes were generally the same with slight variations. I have since made two batches using variations of Honey & Jam’s recipe, but I have yet figured out the correct combination that is close to the real thing.

The original recipe from Honey & Jam is:


  • 4-6 black tea bags
  • 6 cups of water


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup lemon juice (4-6 lemons)

1. Boil water, remove from heat and steep tea bags for 10 minutes

2. In a separate pan, dissolve sugar in water to make the lemonade syrup.

3. Combine lemon juice, syrup and steeped tea, stir and refrigerate.

My variations:

1. 3 Starbucks’ Tazo brand Awake black tea bags, 6 cups of water and half the lemonade mixture (1/2 cup sugar/ water/ lemon juice). Total price: $1.86 for 1.5L (see ingredients tab for cost breakdown).

  • I used half the recommended tea bags as I find Tazo’s Awake tea has a strong taste so I assumed it would be enough
  • Unfortunately I found the tea taste to be too mild for my liking. I like the strong bitter tea taste that is present in the purchased drink (likely due to oversteeping)

2. The original recipe with 4 Starbucks’ Tazo brand Awake black tea bags. Total cost: $3.22 for 1.5L.

  • My first attempt at the recipe with modifications did not work, so I decided to follow the recipe as it had been intended
  • This time I found it to be far too sweet for my liking. I could hardly taste the lemon or the tea when it was swimming in all that sugar.

Hopefully the next batch will be perfect with less sugar and some more steeping!

Tips for making your black tea lemonade:

  • To ease the lemon juicing procedure, use warm/ room temperature lemons and roll them on the table to soften them before juicing
  • If your tea is too weak/ strong/ bitter, these are the modifications you can make (from the Arbor Teas site)

Cost Summary

  • Purchased Starbucks drink – $3.20 for a grande (16oz… for simplicity lets say 2 cups). Therefore, approximately $1.60 per cup.
  • Homemade version #1 – $1.86 for 1.5L or $0.31 per cup.
  • Homemade version #2 – $3.22 for 1.5L or $0.54 per cup.

Significant savings are to be had if you look at it on a percentage basis or if you indulge in these drinks quite often. But there’s nothing quite like the taste of a drink made by those professional baristas. 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

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