THE STARBUCKS TEAVANA CITRUS DEFENDER is Starbucks’ newly-available tea-lemonade-honey concoction. and it’s definitely interesting.

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Let’s start with Starbucks’ description of the Teavana Citrus Defender: 

“Power through the winter season with our vitamin C packed Defense White Tea, handcrafted with steamed lemonade and honey.”


A little more detail on the Teavana Citrus Defender recipe, which comes standard with: 

  • Hot water
  • Steamed Lemonade
  • Honey packet(s) (1 in a Short, 1 in a Tall, 2 in a Grande, 2 in a Venti)
  • Teavana Defense Wellness teabag(s) (1 in a Short, 1 in a Tall, 2 in a Grande, 2 in a Venti)
    • Starbucks’ description:
      • “Put your guard up with the Vitamin C found in the revitalizing blend of white tea, which includes notes of uplifting citrus and lemongrass.”
    • Teavana’s description:
      • “Bolster your defense system with the positive powers of vitamin C, along with white tea and blackberry leaves, deliciously combined with notes of lime, pineapple and orange. Made with natural ingredients.”
      • “Tasting Notes: Zesty orange, lemon & lemongrass with hints of cinnamon & ginger, softened with a white tea finish.”

My Recommendation 

Due to the amount of lemonade and honey in this drink’s standard recipe, it’s really sugary, and less sugar would make it better. I recommended trying this with less lemonade, more water, and a reduction in honey. 1/2 to 1 honey packet should be plenty for any size.

My Experience 

This is the first drink I’ve tried from Starbucks’ new line of Wellness Teas, and it’s the only one that’s more than just a teabag. It’s a prepared drink, just like the Honey Citrus Mint Tea (AKA “Medicine Ball” or “Cold Buster”), meaning that it has additional ingredients and preparatory steps than simply dropping a teabag in a cup and adding hot water. That means this drink is special, and I’ve never before had anything like it from Starbucks.

This drink is very aromatic, It tastes exactly how it smells. Cinnamon is the dominant flavor, with honeyed lemon coming in second. Other flavors are somewhere in the mix, but are hard to identify due to being quickly overwhelmed by cinnamon and lemon. The Defense Wellness teabag used in this drink contains white tea, and I love white tea, but I can’t taste it in this drink.

Despite the lack of subtlety in this drink, it tastes really good. If you’ve ever had a hot toddy, this drink has a similar flavor profile, minus the liquor. Cinnamon, lemon and honey work really well together, and combining them in a hot drink makes for something very refreshing. I could see this being really nice to drink when coming down with a cold, which is exactly what Starbucks is advertising it for.


This is really good, but way too sugary. I’d like to be able to taste the tea. I may get it again, next time removing some of the lemonade and honey.

Nutritional Information (Courtesy of For the Grande Standard-Recipe Starbucks Teavana Citrus Defender Tea:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz)
Calories 150Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 20mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 39g13%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 35g
Protein 0g
Caffeine 40mg**
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
**Each caffeine value is an approximate value.

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