Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} + Iced Tea Concentrate

I’m grateful that unsweetened iced tea is available at many restaurants now, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t flinch a little when asked to fork over $3 and change for a single, tall glass of plain old black iced tea, no matter how badly I wanted it. It’s so easy to make your own high-quality iced tea concentrate at home and shake up your own glass with some ice and a little water whenever you need to quench your thirst. Why concentrate? Well, for starters, it takes up less room in the refrigerator than a giant jug-o-tea, but stick with me and I’ll give you some other great reasons including directions on how to make flavoured teas!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Spark Naturals Essential Oils. If you make a purchase using my coupon code or after clicking on a link, I receive a small commission which does not effect the cost of the items for you.

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} and Iced Tea Concentrate from

I’m a sucker for a good, arctic cold, iced tea when the weather is hot. My mom used to make sun tea that was just about strong enough to melt the jar in which it brewed. She would stuff a quart jar with eight to ten Lipton tea bags, pour as much water in the jar as it would hold, tighten a lid on it, and stick it out in the hot sun to become sturdy stuff indeed. When it was roughly the colour of tar, mom would decant it over ice and drink it happily. I almost always had to water mine down not only because my mom is far tougher than me when it comes to caffeine tolerance, but because I found it more refreshing in lesser doses. My mom was onto something…

Recently, when I was doing my big spate of travel, I noticed something on the menu boards at the omnipresent Starbucks in every city I visited; Shaken Iced Tea. I happily noticed that it was billed as “black tea, unsweetened, hand-shaken” and thought to myself, “Oooh, hand shaken? I wonder what they do… Put a tea bag in a glass of iced water and shake it like a cocktail? I need one of those.” I ordered one, forked over my $3+ and watched the barista (BARISTA?) walk over to the refrigerator, pull out a pitcher of what looked like my mom’s sun-tea, pour some into a glass of ice, then top it off with water and give it a half-hearted swish before handing it over. I was kind of crushed, I don’t mind saying. Where was my hand-shaking? Nobody said anything about “black tea, unsweetened, kind of maybe swirled a little.”

To be fair, it tasted just like good iced tea oughta. It was wicked cold, refreshing, and had just about the right level of ‘oomph’ for me. It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, people DIDN’T know how easy it was to do this at home if everyone was paying $3+ for someone to limply swish some tea concentrate and water in a glass. I decided to bring tea concentrate to my beloved Foodie with Family readers, and in my world, there would be HAND-SHAKING OF THE TEA in abundance.

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} and Iced Tea Concentrate from

Step one was to grab some of my favourite iced tea materials. I crammed eight bags each of plain old Lipton (my mom’s perennial iced tea of choice) and Bigelow Plantation Mint (one of my favourite breakfast teas) into two quart canning jars. I draped the tags and strings outside the bag and put a ring (but no lid) on the tops of the jars to hold the bags in place and prevent them from sliding into the tea making retrieval later a much easier job. In went water and they rested until they were room temperature. I removed the rings, pulled out the bags and discarded them, put the lid in place and replaced the ring, and refrigerated until chilled.

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} and Iced Tea Concentrate from

Next on the agenda was the shaking.

I wasn’t going to wimp out here. I put a couple of inches of ice in the bottom of my jar, filled the jar about 1/4 full of the iced tea concentrate and then poured in water to within an inch of the rim of the jar. I fixed a lid and ring tightly in place and SHOOK THE TAR OUT OF IT. I was rewarded with the iciest glass of iced tea ever to be iced. Bonus: there was a little froth on top from the vigorous shaking. It was the crema of the tea world, folks. It was a Mary Poppins iced tea; practically perfect in every way.

Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} and Iced Tea Concentrate from

Cook’s Notes:

  • After going through a box of my black tea with mint bags in three days, I sat down and calculated the cost of once daily jars of the mint tea made with Bigelow Plantation Mint and about dropped my teeth. I have forgone that method of iced peppermint black tea and have since switched to making it with Lipton or Wegman’s brand black tea (orange pekoe, specifically) and adding 3-6 drops of food-grade Peppermint Essential Oil. I actually like it better and it’s far, FAR less expensive. I recommend Spark Naturals Peppermint Essential Oil  I also make lemon iced tea this way, using just 3 or 4 drops of food-grade Lemon Essential Oil.
  • The beauty of preparing iced tea this way is that you can make enough to last you for several days without committing your refrigerator to holding a gallon jug of tea. You can also please varying tastes. If you like it strong and your loved ones like it weak, everyone can have it their way mixing each glass to taste from concentrate.
  • If you prefer sweet tea you can add a little simple syrup to your glass before adding water and shaking.
  • Arnold Palmer fans! Simply mix the iced tea concentrate with your favourite lemonade and shake. Tada!
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Shaken Iced Tea {Starbucks Knockoff} + Iced Tea Concentrate
Per Quart of Iced Tea Concentrate:
  • 1 quart jar with a two-piece lid
  • 8 black tea bags (whichever brand you prefer. I use Lipton or Wegman's Orange Pekoe black tea.)
  • boiling water
  • Optional: 3-6 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil
To Make the Iced Tea Concentrate:
  1. Unwrap all of the tea bags and put them into the jar, draping the strings and tags over the side. Screw on the ring for the jar to hold the strings in place. If using the peppermint essential oil, add the drops directly onto the tea bags. Pour boiling water into the jar, nearly up to the rim. Let it rest on the counter until it is room temperature. take off the ring the ring, then remove the tea bags and discard them. Put the lid on the jar and screw the ring back in place and refrigerate until chilled. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To Make Shaken Iced Tea:
  1. Fill a canning jar as far as you'd like with ice. Add Iced Tea Concentrate until the jar is ¼ filled. Add water to within 1-inch of the top of the jar, fix a two-piece lid in place and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Remove the lid and enjoy!

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  1. Jo-Ann Mon says

    We drink about a gallon of ice tea in the summer. Unlike you, we have to have ours in the southern fashion: “Sweet Tea.” I also make a concentrate that’s immediately converted to a gallon. Use 4 family size tea bags, that’s the kind that makes 1 quart each, or enough regular size tea bags to make 1 gallon. Bring 2 quarts to a boil & brew the all the tea bags in this. After brewing, add the amount of sweetener you would use in a gallon of tea, or leave it unsweetened. Using a gallon pitcher, fill to the top with ice cubes. Pour the how brewed tea onto the ice & give it a stir.

    What I like about his method is the tea is instantly cold, no waiting for it to cool down, and it never gets cloudy upon refrigeration.

  2. kate C. says

    I was a bit skeptical of the ‘shaking’ part and what that would actually do that might make it better. But I made this today (minus the essential oils, which I don’t have, but might try in the future) and the shaken part is pretty good. The foam on top actually lasts longer than I thought it would, too. Thanks for reminding me that iced tea doesn’t have to take up so much room in the fridge! :)

  3. says

    I’m going to try this, I love Starbucks mint refresher tea!

    I got a chuckle from your description of the different colors of tea strength. My mother-in-law makes and drinks what we call ‘starter’. We add a 1/4 cup of her tea to a glass of water, she takes hers straight.

  4. says

    I’ve never made mine as a concentrate to hold for several days but long ago started making tea for a crowd in the same manner. For one reason only. Why boil 8 cups of water that then has to be cooled; so I made a REALLY strong batch using a quarter of the water and then added ice and water to it. I still do that and need to try this small batch business so I don’t have a pitcher of tea sitting in the fridge and could just take up space the size of a mason jar. Cool.

  5. Karen says

    While you’re making tea concentrate, boil some water, sugar, and fresh mint leaves (mint is so easy to grow!) or lemon peel and make your own fresh mint/lemon syrup.

  6. says

    I have mine brewing right now. Make it all the time. I use 4 black tea bags and 4 Moroccan Mint- love it. Of course I change it all the time. Last summer it was all about blueberry Stash tea. Yum!

    Like you I can stand paying BIG bucks for a glass of tea- totally ticks me. I feel like going to Boston for a Tea Party.

  7. Catherine says

    I used to make sun tea but read somewhere that bacteria could be present and dangerous. I now do cold brewed tea, just put the jar with tea bags or bag in the fridge and it brews itself. Not tried using the flavoring, but will have a go.

  8. Rie says

    Silly question ….. Do you squeeze out the tea bags into the liquid before discarding, or just discard?? Does it even matter?

    • says

      It’s a matter of personal preference. I was taught that squeezing a bag does a little unpleasant trick with the flavour of the tea… in practice, I don’t know if it does, but I’m not inclined to squeeze them. In short, I’m no help at all unless “whichever you like best!” is helpful. 😀

      • Rie says

        You’re a BIG help…….I have always suspected the unpleasant taste was from squeezing….But not being a big tea drinker I wasn’t sure……….Thanks for responding…..I did “squeeze” the batch from today, but WON’T in the future. I splurged and did the Bigelow Plantation Mint……OMG… house smelled heavenly all day. I loved the method. Next I’ll do just a pint of black tea, and then maybe some peach…….it’s the technique that I love to learn from and you are such a goo teacher!!!!!

  9. BJMRamage says

    Saw this on Pinterest, wanted to see what it was all about.
    Growing up my mom would make a pitcher of hot tea in the morning to have it cooled and poured over ice in the evening.

    I use a similar method to yours but like a commenter above I brew it with 1-2 Cups of water (to 7 black tea bags or 10 green/white tea bags) and after the steeped time, I fill with iced water and remove the tea bags. this is drinkable right away. and we generally drink 2 Quarts or more a day.

    We use Takeya Pitchers so it won’t take up too much room in the fridge. (slightly larger footprint than a mason jar-just taller)

  10. Rebecca says

    I really want to figure this out because the idea of more space in my refrigerator and tea concentrate always ready will totally work for my family. Couple questions……

    When you say to pour the boiling water in and then let it come to room temperature, about how long is that?? I thought it was cool enough when I left if out for an hour and a half but I see my tea is now cloudy??? How long do you leave it to cool and steep after adding the boiling water??

    How much of this concentrate would make a nice gallon of tea?

    Thanks for any help!

  11. Sheryl says

    Going to try this. Just downsized living quarters so this will be perfect for my smaller refrigerator. However I won’t toss the tea bags but use them for gardening.

  12. Kat says

    Just made this with 4 bags of Moroccan Mint and 4 bags White Mangosteen Peach/quart jar. It’s SO delicious! Very light and refreshing. The only thing is, because green tea is the base, I fill the glass about 1/3-1/2 full after the ice. Otherwise it tastes a bit watered down. My mother in law tried it too, and gave two thumbs way up.

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  13. Dana says

    Can’t wait to try this . . . . I love Starbucks tea but can’t stand the price. Why is tea so pricey at all the restaurants???

  14. Janice says

    I also make Our tea this way. It is so much easier and like you said saves space. My mother in law who makes tea by using a kettle and gallon pitcher, saw me doing this and she has never looked back! I have not tried the shaken part but will do it for sure tomorrow! Also I use the white plastic canning jar top so I don’t have to deal with 2 part lid!

  15. Janice says

    Went To Starbucks today and bought the “shaken tea” for $2! Have to say it was a letdown. He only shook it like 3times and poured in cup. The homemade with your directions much better!

  16. Janese DeMarco says

    Ok Im truly loving this blog I have been looking up cheats for starbucks shaken sweet tea for hours!!All i can find is every other tea but what i want:My husband says do you understand what your spending every month??So i went to the pad and paper and added it up;can you tell how old i am?haha and it was staggering number im not even saying ok just that I sometime have two a day!Im so trying this just bought mason jars for canning and a foodsaver ladies if your going to make things at home lets do more stretching of our dollars!these companies are raping us and laughing all the way to the bank;thank you

  17. Anna says

    I love just plain sweet tea and also tired of paying top dollar….do u add the sugar to the concentrate or after and how much for a 2 quart jar ??

  18. Lindsey says

    For a tasty twist, add sparkling water (I make mine with a soda stream and plain old well water) to the tea concentrate and enjoy a calorie-free treat!

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