Ordering This Starbucks Drink Is A Red Flag For Baristas

Everyone has their go-to order at Starbucks, and when you really need a pick-me-up, nothing hits the spot like your favorite creation. While you may love incredibly complex drinks, your barista might not feel the same way. Starbucks baristas have had to make many painstaking beverages during their tenure, including half caramel macchiato and half hazelnut latte hybrids, venti black coffees with chai tea bags, and green tea lattes with seven pumps of vanilla soy and 12 scoops of matcha — at 180 degrees with no foam, please (via Insider).

While these types of orders could drive anyone up a wall, one particular drink has set off a special type of alarm for employees of the coffee chain across the country. In a recent Reddit thread, a Starbucks employee described how they had to interact with a sick customer who wanted a hot beverage. "Her drink wasn't ready by the time she got to the window, so I started talking to her," the Redditor said. "I ask how her day is going, and she says 'not too bad.' I ask if she had anything fun planned this weekend and she replies 'Oh, no not for me. I'm quarantined with covid right now!!'"

The employee was disturbed by the encounter — and the fact that someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 would break quarantine to get Starbucks. Their post launched a discussion among baristas saying that the customer's drink of choice, unofficially known as the Medicine Ball, attracts ill people to Starbucks.

This Starbucks beverage has a misleading nickname

Multiple Starbucks employees replied to the Reddit thread recounting their run-ins with sick customers who wanted to order Medicine Balls. In case you're unfamiliar with the drink, a barista shared the recipe with Mashed, and it is a hot mixture of water, lemonade, Teavana Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility teas, and honey. It's known as Honey Citrus Mint Tea on the Starbucks menu but got its nickname when people began posting about its alleged "cold-busting" powers on social media.

Some employees say the drink puts employees at risk by luring sick people to Starbucks. "Nothing scares me more than people who order the Medicine balls and are hacking up a left lung in my drive thru," one Redditor said. Others are frustrated about the misleading nature of the drink's nickname. "People really need to stop calling that drink a medicine ball. Not just baristas, like everyone. It's not medicine, it's barely even tea," one commenter said. Others said it needs a new name or to be removed from the menu entirely. "I've had several customers ask if that drink actually has medicine in it and even what medicine is in it," another user said. 

Though the Honey Citrus Mint Tea is surely comforting for a sore throat, it is not, in fact, medicinal. Next time you feel ill, you can make your local Starbucks employees feel safer by skipping the tea, taking some real medicine, and staying home.