If you’re from the South (or have had the pleasure of visiting), chances are you’ve at least tried the beloved beverage that is sweet tea. It’s refreshing and quenches your thirst even in the steamiest weather, but it got its name for a reason—this take on iced tea is full of sugar.
Well, Starbucks has come to your (sugar-watching) rescue—with its Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Infusions, launching today. The line includes three signature blends: pineapple black tea, strawberry green tea, and peach citrus white tea. They’re made with real fruit and botanical mixtures—not syrup or juice. And they’re all lightly sweetened (with Starbucks liquid cane sugar), but you can choose to order them without sweetener, which means you’re enjoying the fruity tea action sans any sugar at all.
“Normally, when you get a flavored iced tea the flavor and sweetener are combined in a syrup—this way you get all the awesome flavor without any added sugar.”
So, yes: Now you can have your sweet tea, with no regrets.
And—as is customary with Starbucks—the customizable options are vast. Besides holding the sugar, here’s one exciting option: mix any of these blends with lemonade, and voila—you have the perfect summer drink.
You can also opt to combine any of the infusions with any tea. For example, try a strawberry-peach citrus green tea or pineapple strawberry white tea. Tea is basically taking over the coffee chain—and they’re here to stay. The infusions are not limited-time offerings. (Freebie alert: If you want to try one gratis, Starbucks is giving them away this Friday in all stores, between 1 and 2 p.m.)
“What makes them different and special is that they’re flavored by tea, so it’s tea on tea,” says Liz Willis, senior brand manager. “Normally, when you get a flavored iced tea the flavor and sweetener are combined in a syrup—this way you get all the awesome flavor without any added sugar.” Even if you choose to drink the tea with the cane sugar, a grande has a relatively low 11 grams.
I got a taste of the zero-sugar varieties at the Starbucks launch in New York City last night, and I can tell you that you don’t need those 11 grams. The teas taste really light and not overly sweet, with a lovely tropical kick to them that evokes vacation vibes (even when I’m actually sweating on a subway platform).
So, if sweet tea can get a healthy makeover, what’s next? Healthy cornbread? (Oh, wait…) BRB, I’ll be over here, fanning myself on a porch swing.
This is the secret Starbucks matcha drink that’s all over Instagram. And if tea’s not your thing, here are the 5 coolest healthy iced drinks to get you through a heat wave.