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Starbucks Ruby Grapefruit Honey Iced Black Tea Recipe

Starbucks Ruby Grapefruit Honey Iced Black Tea Recipe

Ever since I first visited Starbucks last summer, I have been obsessed with trying all their colorful drinks. While frappuccinos are delicious, I’m always on the lookout for healthier refreshers that help me cool down on hot days.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the iced shaken black tea on the menu and was intrigued by its bright pink hue from grapefruit and honey.

Normally not a big tea drinker, I decided to give it a try on a particularly scorching afternoon. I’m so glad I did – it became an instant favorite summer drink of mine! Light and crisp, this tea combines refreshingly tart grapefruit with just a touch of natural sweetness.

Best of all, it offers an energizing boost from black tea without being too sweet. If you’re looking for a new go-to beverage for picnics, bike rides or lazy days by the pool, look no further than this recipe.

About the Drink

  • Flavor Profile: This delightful drink is a refreshing twist on classic iced tea. It combines the smooth taste of black tea with the tangy sweetness of ruby grapefruit and honey, creating a perfectly balanced and flavorful beverage.
  • Calories: Exact calorie information isn’t readily available on Starbucks’ official website since this isn’t a standard menu item. However, estimates suggest a Grande (16 fl oz) serving could be around 188 calories, depending on the amount of honey used. This is a relatively low-calorie option compared to some sweeter Starbucks iced teas.
  • Availability: This drink isn’t a staple on Starbucks menus worldwide. It has appeared as a seasonal or regional offering in specific locations. Based on past appearances, there’s a chance it might be offered again during the warmer months in certain regions, possibly as a spring or summer drink.
  • Price Point : Given its regional and seasonal nature, an exact price isn’t available. However, based on similar iced tea beverages at Starbucks, a Tall size (12 fl oz) could be around $2.75, a Grande (16 fl oz) around $3.25, and a Venti (24 fl oz) around $3.75. These are just estimates, and the actual price could vary depending on your location.

Grapefruit honey iced black tea Recipe by Starbucks

Today, I wanted to share the simple recipe to make it at home so you too can enjoy this refreshingly delicious drink all summer long.

While this Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey isn’t on the official Starbucks menu in the US, you can definitely recreate it at home! Here’s what you’ll need:

Black tea

I like using a brisk black tea for this recipe like an English breakfast tea. The tea needs to be chilled so brew a pot, let it cool completely, then add 1 cup to the mixture. Chilling the tea intensifies its flavor in the finished drink.

Recommended: Black Tea Shot Recipe

Grapefruit honey

2-3 tablespoons of grapefruit infused honey gives this drink its key citrus flavor. If you can’t find grapefruit honey, use my suggested substitute of 2 teaspoons each honey and simple syrup. Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil and then cooled. This provides a similar level of sweetness.

Crushed ice

You’ll need 1 full cup of crushed or cubed ice to help shake and chill the drink. I like to use a manual ice crusher or place ice cubes in a ziplock bag and smash with a mallet.

Grapefruit juice (optional)

For an extra burst of grapefruit, you can stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh grapefruit juice. Look for 100% grapefruit juice without any additions.

Starbucks Iced shaken black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey recipe

Recipe by JenniferCourse: DrinksCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Follow these easy steps to recreate this delicious Starbucks-inspired black iced tea at home and enjoy a cool, refreshing summer drink anytime you like!


  • 2-3 tbsp grapefruit honey

  • 1 cup freshly brewed black tea, chilled

  • 1 cup filtered crushed ice

  • Optional: 2 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice (with or without pulp)


  • Steep black tea according to package instructions, then chill thoroughly.
  • Combine chilled tea, grapefruit honey (or honey and simple syrup), and ice in a jar.
  • Add grapefruit juice (optional) and shake vigorously for a frothy consistency.
  • Strain into a glass and enjoy!


  • Adjust honey or simple syrup for desired sweetness.
  • Substitute ruby red grapefruit juice for fresh grapefruit if preferred.
  • Double or triple the recipe for a crowd.
  • Garnish with a grapefruit wedge for an extra citrusy touch.

Tips to make perfect iced ruby grapefruit and honey black tea

Here are some of my tips for making the perfect Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey:

1. Selecting the Perfect Black Tea

Black tea is the base of this drink, so choosing the right one makes a big difference. English Breakfast or Ceylon black teas offer a robust flavor that stands up well to the citrusy grapefruit and sweetness of honey. These teas have a malty undertone that complements the other ingredients.

Loose Leaf vs. Tea Bags: Both options work, but loose leaf tea generally offers a richer flavor and a more customizable experience. If using loose leaf, choose a fine-cut black tea for faster steeping in iced tea applications.

Like any other food product, tea loses its flavor over time. Use fresh, high-quality black tea for the best results.

Tip: Explore different black tea options! If you find English Breakfast or Ceylon a bit too strong, try Darjeeling or Earl Grey for a slightly lighter and more floral flavor profile.

2. Mastering the Brewing Process

The ideal water temperature for brewing black tea is around 195°F (90°C). Using boiling water can result in a bitter taste. Consider using a kettle with a temperature gauge for precise control.

Steeping Time: As an avid tea drinker, I’ve learned that steeping my tea correctly is key to the best flavor. Be sure to use just-boiled water and let the tea leaves steep for the appropriate time, usually no more than 3-5 minutes. However, steeping time can vary depending on the type of tea and desired strength. Under-steeping results in a weak tea while oversteeping makes it bitter. Start with 3 minutes and adjust to your preference. Stronger tea will be needed for iced tea since ice dilution will occur. With practice, you’ll learn to taste test and remove the tea at optimal strength.

Under-Steeping vs. Over-Steeping: Under-steeping results in a weak, flavorless tea, while over-steeping leads to bitterness. Pay attention to your tea and adjust the steeping time accordingly.

Tip: Experiment with steeping times! Find the sweet spot that delivers the perfect black tea flavor for your taste buds.

3. Embrace the Art of Chilling

Once steeped, let the tea come to room temperature before chilling. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours so it’s ice cold before blending. Chilling intensifies the flavor that gets diluted with ice. I like to make a big batch and store it in the fridge for iced tea all week.

Overnight Chilling: For an extra flavorful iced tea, consider brewing your black tea the night before and letting it chill in the fridge overnight. This allows the flavors to fully develop and results in a smoother taste.

Tip: Add a few mint leaves or a lemon slice to the hot tea while steeping for a subtle flavor twist before chilling.

4. Honey or Simple Syrup: Choosing Your Sweetener

Grapefruit Honey: This is the ideal sweetener for this recipe, as it complements the grapefruit flavor beautifully. Look for local or specialty stores that sell grapefruit honey.

Honey vs. Simple Syrup: Regular honey works perfectly well too. However, simple syrup dissolves more readily, making it easier to control sweetness in iced tea. Experiment with both and see which one you prefer.

Sweetness to Your Taste: The amount of sweetener depends on your preference and the tartness of your grapefruit. Start with a little, taste, and adjust to your desired level of sweetness.

Tip: If you don’t have grapefruit honey or simple syrup on hand, a little agave nectar or brown sugar can be used as substitutes.

5. Grapefruit Honey Cheong: A Convenient Sweetener Option

While honey and simple syrup are fantastic choices for sweetening your iced ruby grapefruit and honey black tea, there’s another intriguing option – grapefruit honey cheong.

This Korean fruit syrup offers both convenience and a deeper flavor compared to fresh grapefruit juice and honey. It requires some prep time, but stores well for frequent use.

How to make grapefruit honey cheong at home:

To make it, simply peel two grapefruits, removing the white pith and seeds. Combine the grapefruit pulp with equal parts honey and turbinado sugar (or white sugar if preferred).

Simmer the mixture until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens slightly. Store this syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months. It’s a fantastic addition to your iced tea and other summer drinks!

Here’s how to make iced ruby grapefruit and honey black tea using this grapefruit honey cheong:

Brew a cup of your favorite black tea according to package instructions and let it cool completely. In a large jar or glass, combine 2-3 tablespoons of your homemade grapefruit honey cheong with the chilled tea.

Fill the rest with crushed filtered ice, secure the lid tightly, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute for a frothy consistency. Strain the tea into a serving glass

6. The Magic of Muddling (Optional)

Enhanced Citrus Flavor: For a more intense grapefruit flavor, muddle a few fresh grapefruit wedges in the bottom of your serving glass before adding the tea. Muddling releases the essential oils from the grapefruit, creating a bolder citrusy taste.

Pulp or No Pulp: This is entirely up to your preference. If you dislike pulp, strain the juice from the muddled grapefruit before adding it to your tea.

Tip: Be careful not to over-muddle the grapefruit, as it can add a bitter taste to your drink.

Variations and twists of this drink

starbucks iced shaken black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey recipe

Here are some fun variations and creative twists you can try on the iced ruby grapefruit and honey black tea recipe:

White Tea Twist: As an adventurous tea drinker, I love experimenting with different tea varieties. For a lighter flavor, substitute a quality white tea for the black. White teas are less robust and allow the grapefruit and honey to really sing. Also check white tea shot recipe.

Herbal Addition: Got some fresh mint or basil growing? Try muddling a few leaves right into the jar before shaking. The mint lends a lovely freshness that pairs wonderfully with the fruit. You can also use lemon balm, which has a mild lemony note.

Spiced Harvest: In fall, switch things up by adding a pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg for a cozy autumn sipper. Pumpkin honey would take it to the next level of seasonal goodness! Roasted nuts like walnuts make a nice crunch too.

Green Tea Twist: My adventurous palate also enjoys swapping the black tea for a lightly fermented Japanese green variety. The floral notes meld beautifully with the tangy flavors in a refreshing way. Sencha would be an excellent choice. Try green tea shot for alcoholic options.

Tropical Twist: Bring the tropics indoors by muddling slices of mango, pineapple or berries instead of grapefruit. Coconut water can stand in for brewed tea too – so cool and refreshing!

Honey Fruit Infusions: I love leaving fruit steeped in honey to infuse complex flavors. Try star fruit, blood orange or cranberries. Straining out fruit solids leaves the infused honey for boosting this drink to the next level.

Tea Type Twist:

Delicate Darjeeling: While English Breakfast or Ceylon offer a robust base, consider using Darjeeling black tea for a lighter and more floral experience.

Earl Grey Elegance: This tea adds a touch of bergamot, perfect for those who enjoy a more complex flavor profile.

Serving tips

Here are some of my favorite serving tips for this refreshing iced tea:

Glassware: I love serving this drink in a classic mason jar or tumbler with plenty of crushed ice. The jar reflects the laidback summer vibes. However, on special occasions I like using a pretty wine glass – the fluted shape allows you to fully appreciate the color and effervescence. This drink’s vibrant color reminds me of peach tea shots.

Garnishes: A few slices of fresh grapefruit laid across the rim add visual appeal and extra bursts of flavor with each sip. A sprig of fresh mint tucked in is very Instagrammable too. For added flair, thinly sliced grapes or berries can garnish the edge of the glass.

Presentation: I like to set up a little grazing board with the drink. Include clementines, figs or blueberries along with salty snacks like wasabi peas or pita crisps. Charcuterie, cheese and olives provide protein and fat to balance out the crisp acidity of the tea. Sit back and relax!

Picnic Perfection: This drink transports incredibly well for enjoying on outdoor adventures. I pack mason jars of it in my backpack along with a fresh can of homemade grapefruit soda. A blanket, good book and view make any picnic memorable on long summer days.

Parties and Potlucks: Double or triple the batch and keep it chilled in jars or pitchers filled with more ice for any gathering. Provide a garnish bar with fresh herbs, cut fruit and cinnamon sticks so guests can customize their servings. A crowd-pleaser for sure!

Whether drinking it solo on the back porch or sharing it with loved ones, this tea always hits the spot on hot sunny days. I hope these serving ideas provide new ways for you to enjoy it wherever summer takes you!

Can you store this drink?

Storing this iced ruby grapefruit and honey black tea depends on how you prepare it:

Unassembled Ingredients

If you haven’t brewed the tea or combined all the ingredients yet, then yes, you can store the individual components for later use:

Black tea leaves: Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to several months.

Fresh grapefruit juice: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Important: Fresh grapefruit juice loses its flavor and vitamin C content over time.

Honey: Store in a cool, dark place. Honey has a very long shelf life and can be stored indefinitely if unopened.

Grapefruit honey cheong (if using): Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Assembled Drink

Unfortunately, storing the fully assembled iced tea with all the ingredients mixed together isn’t recommended. The ice will melt, diluting the flavor, and the grapefruit juice can cause the tea to become bitter over time.

Here’s a suggestion to enjoy this refreshing drink any time:

  • Pre-make a batch of grapefruit honey cheong (if using) according to the recipe (not included here) and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Keep your favorite black tea on hand.
  • When you’re ready for a drink, brew a fresh cup of black tea and let it cool completely.
  • Combine the cooled tea with your desired amount of grapefruit juice, honey, or grapefruit honey cheong.
  • Add ice and enjoy!

This way, you can have all the components ready and whip up a delicious iced tea whenever you crave it.

How to Order the iced black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey drink at Starbucks

How to Order the iced black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey drink at Starbucks

Unfortunately, the Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey isn’t a permanent menu item at Starbucks. It appears seasonally or regionally, so its availability depends on your location and the time of year.

Here’s how you can still try and snag this elusive drink:

1. Check the Season: If this tea has been offered in your area before, keep an eye out for it during the warmer months, particularly spring and summer.

2. Ask Your Barista: While not officially listed, some Starbucks locations might still have the ingredients (black tea, grapefruit juice, honey) to recreate this tea upon request. Politely ask your friendly barista if they can whip one up for you. They might be happy to accommodate your request if they have the ingredients on hand. If you can’t find this drink, consider a similar menu item like a Pink Drink with whipped cream on top.

3. Be Specific: When asking your barista, clearly mention “Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey” to avoid confusion with other iced tea options.

4. Manage Expectations: Even if your barista is willing to make it, keep in mind that they might not have the exact recipe used in the seasonal offering. The taste might differ slightly from the official version.

While there’s no guaranteed way to order this drink, with a little timing and a friendly conversation with your barista, you might just discover a refreshing summer beverage!

Try these tea shots:

Calories and nutrition facts of this Starbucks black tea

The exact calorie count depends on whether you use grapefruit honey or the honey and simple syrup combination. Here’s a breakdown:

  • With Grapefruit Honey (2-3 tbsp): Due to variations in sweetness of grapefruit honey, this version can range from 140 to 180 calories per serving.
  • With Honey (2 tsp) + Simple Syrup (2 tsp): This option provides a more consistent sweetness level, with an estimated 85 calories per serving.

Nutritional Breakdown:

The following table summarizes the estimated nutrients per serving based on the chosen sweetener. Keep in mind that these are estimates and can vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients you use.

NutrientWith Grapefruit HoneyWith Honey + Simple Syrup
Carbohydrates (g)30-4020-25
Sugar (g)20-35 (depending on grapefruit honey)18 (10 from honey, 8 from syrup)
Vitamin C (mg)30 (from grapefruit juice, if used)0
Caffeine (mg)Minimal (from black tea)Minimal (from black tea)

Important Considerations:

These are estimates. The actual calorie count can vary depending on the specific ingredients you use (grapefruit honey sweetness, brand of juice, etc.) and portion sizes.

If you use grapefruit juice (optional), add another 20-30 calories and additional carbohydrates and sugar to the totals listed above.

Dietary Considerations for Iced Ruby Grapefruit and Honey Black Tea

This refreshing iced tea can be enjoyed by many, but some dietary restrictions require adjustments to the recipe. Here’s a breakdown for common dietary needs:


This recipe is not ideal for a strict keto diet due to the carbohydrates from the grapefruit juice, honey, and simple syrup.

Possible modifications:

  • Skip the grapefruit juice and use a keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or erythritol in minimal amounts.
  • Opt for a sugar-free grapefruit honey cheong (if using) and use a very small amount.


The recipe itself is vegan as it contains no animal products.

Double-check the ingredients label of your chosen honey or grapefruit honey cheong, as some brands might use filtering agents derived from animal products.


This iced tea is naturally gluten-free as black tea, grapefruit juice, honey, and simple syrup do not contain gluten.

Sugar-Sensitive Individuals:

This recipe can be high in sugar, especially if using grapefruit honey and grapefruit juice.


  • Skip the grapefruit juice.
  • Use a sugar substitute like stevia or erythritol in place of honey or simple syrup.
  • Opt for a lower-sugar grapefruit honey cheong (if using).


Q: Can I add alcohol to this drink?

A: Yes, you can spike it by adding a shot of your favorite rum, vodka or gin. White or gold rum pairs nicely with the grapefruit.

You can check some of my favorite tea shots:

Q: What if I don’t like black tea?

A: You can substitute green or oolong tea. Herbal teas like mint or citrus will also work. Just adjust steeping times.

Q: Can I use frozen fruit instead of fresh?

A: Yes, frozen fruit such as mango, peach or berries can be blended right in for added convenience. Adjust sweetness to taste.

Q: Is this drink high in sugar?

A: In moderation it’s not too bad, as honey and fruit provide natural sugars. You control the amounts used. Cutting back on honey makes it lower in sugar.

Q: Can kids enjoy this drink?

A: Yes, it’s a healthier alternative to sodas. Start with less or no honey for younger kids. Add fruit chunks for toddlers to mash.

Q: What if I don’t have a shaker?

A: Secure the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously by hand for 2 minutes. Or stir well before enjoying over ice.

So, have you tried this delicious Iced black tea drink? We’d love to see your creations! Snap a photo of this drink and tag your thirstpals on Instagram or Facebook using #starbucksicedtea for a chance to be featured.

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Hey there, I'm Jennifer, the brains and heart behind Thirstpals.com. I'm on a mission to explore and share the amazing world of drinks and beverages. From healthy sips to spirited concoctions and the perfect cup of coffee, I've got it all covered. Join me in sipping and smiling through life's flavorful moments!

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