How Your Instagram Posts Created a New Starbucks Drink

It turns out your Instagram posts are doing more than creating food envy for your followers.

Over at Starbucks (SBUX), regular photos posted on the social media site recently led the company to formally add a cult-favorite tea-based drink.

Called a Medicine Ball or Cold Buster, the beverage is a Venti cup with a bag of Jade Citrus Mint Tea and a bag of Peach Tranquility Tea filled half with hot water and half steamed lemonade. It’s finished with a little honey and an optional pump of peppermint.

The Medicine Ball’s journey into the formal Starbucks system began when a store manager posted in the company’s internal messaging system that his baristas were making more than 20 of the drinks a day. Customers were coming in and requested it after seeing the drink posted on Instagram. The problem was the manager wasn’t sure if his team had the right recipe.


The company decided to make the Medicine Ball an official beverage after nearly 40 other managers responded, saying they were selling anywhere from one to four dozen, explained Starbucks president and COO Kevin Johnson at the company’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday. Now the Medicine Ball has a standard recipe card and ring code, which helps create more consistent experience for customers.

Johnson said previously the decision to add a new beverage would have taken weeks or months, but corporate was able to make it happen in one day.

Johnson will become the new CEO of Starbucks in April, replacing longtime chief Howard Schultz. Schultz in turn will become executive chairman and focus his time on the company’s new premium retail formats.

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