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Here's What Happened When We Tried Starbucks' New "Cure For The Common Cold"

The "Medicine Ball" is basically a cough drop in tea form.

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Last fall, a new drink off the Starbucks secret menu — the Medicine Ball — gained buzz for its ~restorative cold-fighting powers~ and delicious sweet, minty taste.

The drink got so popular, in fact, that Starbucks recently added it to its official menu.
femail / Via instagram.com

The drink got so popular, in fact, that Starbucks recently added it to its official menu.

The beverage, also known as the Cold Buster, is made of equal parts steamed lemonade and water + one bag of Jade Citrus Mint Tea + one bag of Peach Tranquility + a packet of honey + an optional pump of mint syrup.

hanseldoan / Via instagram.com

It sounds pretty delicious, but we wanted to know: Does it ACTUALLY have throat-soothing abilities? We ventured to our nearest Starbucks location to find out.

Harpo Studios

Our first discovery was that the drink isn't actually listed on the displayed menu juuuust yet, so if you order it in the next few weeks, you may be met with some confused faces.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

Ordering was nonetheless pretty easy, as the manager behind the bar knew exactly what drink we were talking about and how to make it. For two Medicine Balls (one with peppermint, one without), the total came to $6.97.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

Here's what it looked like:

Michelle No / BuzzFeed
Kevin Smith / BuzzFeed

The drink doesn't come with honey (part of the recipe), so to complete it, you have to grab one of the free packets at the store and squeeze it in yourself.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

We used just one.

And the moment of truth: Michelle tried the Medicine Ball WITH the peppermint, and thought it tasted just like a Ricola. 🍯

Michelle's review: It's super sweet — like the syrupy kind of sweetness that gathers at the back of your throat — so I don't know if it'd be the best thing to have when you're super sick and dealing with mucus. That said, I love the honey-mint flavor combo (it seriously tastes JUST like a Ricola), and would definitely want to drink this in lieu of my usual chamomile tea.
Michelle No / BuzzFeed

Michelle's review: It's super sweet — like the syrupy kind of sweetness that gathers at the back of your throat — so I don't know if it'd be the best thing to have when you're super sick and dealing with mucus. That said, I love the honey-mint flavor combo (it seriously tastes JUST like a Ricola), and would definitely want to drink this in lieu of my usual chamomile tea.

Kevin tried it without peppermint and thought it was refreshing, but he wished he'd gotten the peppermint!

Kevin's review: My Medicine Ball didn't have the peppermint — the original ingredient list we saw said it was optional — so it wasn't as "cooling" as Michelle's was. I actually preferred hers (with mint) to mine. It definitely tasted refreshing and soothing. Overall I enjoyed the flavor combinations, especially the peach notes. I felt like the steamed lemonade made the drink a little more sour than I would have expected, but not in a bad way. Regardless, the next time I'm battling a serious cold, I would totally consider this, because of the relatively cheap (~$3) price. I'll just have to remember to add the peppermint!
Michelle No / BuzzFeed

Kevin's review: My Medicine Ball didn't have the peppermint — the original ingredient list we saw said it was optional — so it wasn't as "cooling" as Michelle's was. I actually preferred hers (with mint) to mine. It definitely tasted refreshing and soothing. Overall I enjoyed the flavor combinations, especially the peach notes. I felt like the steamed lemonade made the drink a little more sour than I would have expected, but not in a bad way. Regardless, the next time I'm battling a serious cold, I would totally consider this, because of the relatively cheap (~$3) price. I'll just have to remember to add the peppermint!

We also consulted with Dr. Margarita Rohr from the NYU Langone Medical Center, who added that the Medicine Ball's honey and menthol content might help with congestion and sore throats.

"I believe that drinking warm drinks with honey can be soothing specifically if one is suffering symptoms of sore throat and hoarse voice. Honey may also have some antimicrobial properties that may help fight off the cold," said Dr. Rohr. "Additionally, menthol (found in mint) may help clear nasal passages temporarily and can have a cooling effect."

TL;DR: Get the Medicine Ball (WITH mint syrup) for a brief and tasty reprieve from your congestion, but don't expect it to actually cure you.

Kevin Smith / BuzzFeed

If and when you're ready to try a Cold Buster, Starbucks has the following tips for ordering:

"Customers may order a Honey Citrus Mint Tea, and our recommended recipe is: in a hot cup, add a bag of Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea and a bag of Teavana Peach Tranquility Tea. Add half hot water and half steamed lemonade. Add a packet of honey and an optional pump of peppermint. As always, if customers would like to personalize their beverage, Starbucks baristas will craft the drink to their specific taste preferences."

  1. Would you try the Starbucks Medicine Ball?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yeah, it sounds amazing!
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Maybe next time I'm sick.
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Nah, I'll stick with my coffee.
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Would you try the Starbucks Medicine Ball?
  1.  
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    Yeah, it sounds amazing!
  2.  
    vote votes
    Maybe next time I'm sick.
  3.  
    vote votes
    Nah, I'll stick with my coffee.

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