The Citrus Green Tea Latte Is Surprisingly Sweet

In the name of journalism, I'm going to be straight with you guys — I'm not the world's biggest green tea fan (black coffee FTW, y'all). That being said, when Starbucks announced it was debuting two new limited time-only drinks, I was super curious to find out what the Starbucks Teavana Citrus Green Tea Latte tastes like. I've been trying to get more excited about tea, especially green tea and all the spectacular health and beauty benefits that stand to be gained from drinking it. And yet, forcing myself to down a cup a day (OK, every few days) hasn't exactly been the easiest thing to train myself to do. The Teavana Citrus Green Tea Latte, I figured, might be the perfect gateway. At any rate, it was worth a shot.

According to Starbucks, the Teavana Citrus Green Tea Latte is a spin on its signature Green Tea Latte, only it is "sweetened with a citrus mint syrup" that gives it a lighter top note. The drink, which hits stores nationwide Feb. 16, was so popular at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, the brand decided to make it available to everyone for a limited time (through mid-March). If it was good enough for Seattle, I figured it would be good enough for me, so I was ecstatic to find myself on a Tuesday morning with my hands wrapped around a grande cup full of the stuff — I was about to see what the magic was like for myself.

I'm no coffee or tea expert — I know what I like, and that's about it — but I decided to play the part by doing what I've heard coffee and tea experts do, and that's taking a deep whiff of the drink before I even tasted it. I was immediately greeted by strong notes of lemon... and oh wait, there was the faint scent of green tea I was only kind of looking for. Here's a breakdown of how my tasting went.

It's sweeter than what I was expecting

Don't get me wrong — you can definitely taste the green tea. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how sweet the beverage tasted. I could distinguish the "creamy, lemon notes" Starbucks had promised, but it seemed to me like the steamed milk was somehow sweeter than normal, too. That being said, the sweetness didn't feel overwhelming, at all. It was just an interesting flavor juxtaposed against the green tea.

This is definitely a tea beverage

While the drink was sweet, it wasn't so sugary that you forgot what it was exactly you were drinking (which happens sometimes with flavored lattes that are so sweet, you can't really distinguish the espresso underneath). The green tea presence was still there — which is good, because that's where this drink gets its caffeine boost (55 mg in a tall, in fact).

Is that mint I'm tasting?

The "citrus" part of the Teavana Citrus Green Tea latte is clear from the second you take your first sniff, and is certainly one of the first things you taste when you take your first sip, too. But there's an interesting minty aftertaste that lingers for a second after you swallow. At first, this seemed surprising, until I remembered that one of the key ingredients that sets this drink apart from its regular green tea counterpart is a citrus mint syrup. It's not overpowering, by any means. In fact, I thought it gave the drink a bit of yummy complexity.

Honestly, it kind of tasted like Froot Loops

My coworker Arielle Dachille pointed this out to me as we shared sips early this morning. "It tastes like something familiar I can't quite put my finger on," I said, to which she replied, "Froot Loops. It tastes kind of like Froot Loops." And, holy cow, she's exactly right. I think it comes back to the citrus mint syrup. While it definitely tastes lemony, the sweetness makes it kind of seem like the milk you would find leftover in your cereal bowl. And you know what? I didn't hate it.


I would definitely order this again! It wasn't like anything I was expecting — it was way better. Of course, if you're a die-hard green tea fan, this might be more frills than what you're looking for, but I thought it was super light and refreshing — the perfect way to start out my morning. I'd be super interested to try it iced. I feel like a cold, citrusy beverage would be the perfect way to forget that it's still, miserably, February. Hey, any little bit helps, right?

The Starbucks Teavana Citrus Green Tea Latte is available in stores now through March 21, and ranges in price from $3.45 to $3.95, depending on location. Go ahead and give it a try. Even if you swear you hate green tea, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Images: Starbucks; Giphy