Starbucks barista at drive thru window handing customer drinks

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‘We get in trouble if we call it that’: Customer says Starbucks barista ‘verbally abused’ her after she ordered a ‘medicine ball’ 

‘I always order a medicine ball and have never been corrected.’


Alexandra Samuels


A Starbucks customer claims she was “verbally abused” by a barista after she ordered a drink by its TikTok moniker (“the medicine ball”) versus its actual name. 

In a viral TikTok video, user Liyah (@liyahxtt) sits in her car after having retrieved her Starbucks drink. The medicine ball drink sits in her car’s cup holder as she records. 

@liyahxtt I’m sick and idk why everyone keeps yelling at me 🫠 #medicineball ♬ original sound – 🤍liyah🤍

But her short video comes with a PSA to Starbucks fans. “Whatever you do, do not ask for a ‘medicine ball’ at Starbucks or you will get verbally abused,” Liyah says. “Order a honey citrus mint tea, apparently.” 

In the video’s caption, Liyah doubled down on her bad interaction with the anonymous barista. “I’m sick and idk why everyone keeps yelling at me,” she wrote. Her video has amassed over 927,000 views as of Friday.  

It’s unclear from the video which Starbucks location Liyah visited. She also doesn’t tell viewers what, specifically, the barista allegedly said to her after she ordered her drink. 

The “medicine ball” drink has been widely popularized on TikTok, with various users claiming that it can help ease cold and flu symptoms—like a cough, sore throat, or congestion.

Nutritionists rave about the benefits of the drink, too. But since the TikTok name for the drink has become so commonplace, many commenters said that they’ve never had a negative experience ordering the tea that way.

“I always order a medicine ball and have never been corrected,” reads one comment. “Sorry that happened to you.”

“I say medicine ball all the time,” writes a second user. “They must’ve been feeling extra that day.”

An alleged Starbucks barista, however, commented that the worker likely got upset because some customers mistook the name to mean the drink itself actually contains medicine. 

“We get in trouble if we call it that,” she wrote. “The reason is [because] it does not contain medicine. It’s just steamed lemonade. … Idk why they were mean.”

“They started being more strict about the name cause people thought there was actual medicine in it,” reads a fourth comment. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to Liyah via TikTok comment and Starbucks by email. 

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