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Does Taco Bell carry sweet tea?

Sweet tea is a popular beverage, especially in the southern United States. It is a form of iced tea that is sweetened with sugar while the tea is still hot to allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Many fast food restaurants carry sweet tea as a menu option due to its popularity. Taco Bell is a popular Mexican-inspired fast food chain with locations across the United States. Whether or not Taco Bell carries sweet tea depends on the specific location.

An Overview of Taco Bell

Taco Bell is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in tacos and other Mexican-inspired foods. The company was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell in Downey, California. As of 2022, Taco Bell has over 7,000 restaurant locations across the world. The chain is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns other major fast food brands like KFC, Pizza Hut and WingStreet.

Taco Bell’s menu features tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and other Tex-Mex fare. Some of their most popular menu items include the Crunchy Taco, Soft Taco, Doritos Locos Tacos, Quesarito, and Crunchwrap Supreme. Taco Bell is known for thinking outside the bun and introducing innovative new menu creations. Over the years, they have released limited-time offers of unique tacos with flavors like Cool Ranch, Nacho Cheese, and Flamin’ Hot.

The restaurants have a fast food style service format where customers order at a counter, take a number, and food is brought out to their table when ready. Taco Bell has developed a reputation for serving budget-friendly Mexican-inspired food that can feed families on a budget. Their Value Menu features affordable taco, burrito, and quesadilla options under $1.

Sweet Tea Overview

Sweet tea refers to a popular chilled tea beverage that originated in the Southern United States. It is made by brewing a strong batch of black tea, while adding sugar into the mix. The tea is brewed hot at double strength, as the water evaporates when chilled over ice. This extra strength and the high sugar content defines the characteristics of traditional sweet tea.

Sweet tea is most commonly made with black tea, water, and white granulated sugar. The preferred varieties of black tea used are orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea. The amount of sugar added depends on the desired level of sweetness, but is usually 1 cup per gallon of tea. The tea is brewed hot for a longer steeping time, anywhere from 5-15 minutes, to extract more tannins and flavor from the tea leaves.

Once brewed, the tea is chilled while the sugar is dissolved. The best method is to pour the hot tea over a glass full of ice to quickly chill for serving. Sweet tea is best when served cold over ice. It has a sweet, sugary taste balanced by the bold black tea flavor profile.

The origins of sweet tea can be traced back to the 1700s in the Southern colonies of America. As the climate was hot, colonists looked for ways to replicate the cold sweet teas they drank in Great Britain. The Chinese shipping industry fueled the popularity of black tea in the South. Southerners began adding sugar to black tea to make it more palatable when chilled. The recipe was refined over generations and became a quintessential Southern drink.

Regional Availability of Sweet Tea

While sweet tea has origins in the South, it has spread to become popular in other regions as well. However, the availability and popularity of sweet tea versus unsweetened tea still varies greatly by region.

In the South, sweet tea reigns supreme. From restaurants to home kitchens, offering sweet over unsweet tea is standard practice across states like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. Sweet tea is not just a beverage, but a cultural icon of the South. Most restaurants have it readily available as their default tea option. If you just order “tea”, you will be served sweet tea.

The Northeast and West coasts have more of a preference for unsweetened iced tea. In New York, California, Washington, and Oregon – asking for tea will get you unsweet tea. Sweet tea can still be found in many places, but it is not as common or as heavily consumed as unsweetened varieties. These regions have fewer historical roots to Southern-style sweet tea.

The Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions fall somewhere in between. Places like Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, and Colorado have a mix of sweet and unsweet tea availability depending on if you are in a more Southern-influenced area or not. The dividing line seems to be Interstate 70, where North of it leans more unsweetened, and South of it leans more sweet tea.

So in summary, sweet tea availability decreases the further North or West you go from the South. But with the influence of restaurant chains, sweet tea is spreading more nationwide over time.

Does Taco Bell Have Sweet Tea?

Taco Bell does serve sweet tea at select locations. However, the availability of sweet tea can vary greatly depending on the specific Taco Bell restaurant. There are a few factors that determine if a Taco Bell location will carry sweet tea or not:

Regional Location

As discussed earlier, sweet tea is most prevalent in the South. Therefore, Taco Bell locations in Southeastern states are more likely to offer sweet tea options. For example, Taco Bell restaurants in places like Texas, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas frequently have sweet tea based on customer demand in those regions.

On the opposite end, Taco Bells in Northern states or on the West Coast are less likely to serve sweet tea. Since those regions prefer unsweetened tea, the Taco Bell stores cater to local taste preferences.

Franchise vs. Corporate Location

Taco Bell has both company owned corporate locations and privately owned franchise locations. Franchise owners have more control over their menu offerings and often adapt to local customer demands. Corporate locations have more standardized menus approved by Taco Bell corporate headquarters.

For this reason, franchise Taco Bell restaurants in sweeter tea drinking regions are more likely to offer sweet tea options than corporate locations bound to a national food menu. But corporate locations still vary based on the regional demand as well.

Availability of Fountain Drinks

Most Taco Bells have self-serve soda fountain machines for customers to fill their own drinks. These machines provide options like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and other standard soft drink flavors. Some newer or newly renovated locations have expanded fountain drink options that can include sweet tea.

Having the right beverage fountain equipment that can handle brewed tea is necessary for locations to offer sweet tea. Therefore newer or updated Taco Bells tend to be more likely to provide it. However, there are older locations with tea fountains as well in areas where it is popular.

Special Promotions and Menu Items

Sometimes Taco Bell locations will run special promotions or limited time offers that come with sweet tea. This could be a combo meal or new menu innovation that pairs with sweet tea. When they draw attention to sweet tea for marketing purposes, then more restaurants are likely to carry it, even in non-tea drinking areas.

However, these situations are usually temporary. Once the promotion goes away, the sweet tea might disappear from those locations as well if it is not a normal menu item.

Customer Requests and Feedback

Local customer feedback can often prompt a Taco Bell location to consider adding sweet tea. If enough customers ask for it or request it, then a restaurant franchise owner may decide to start carrying it. They ultimately want to serve what their customers will purchase.

So in areas on the sweet tea bubble, like parts of the Midwest, customer requests could nudge a location to sell sweet tea where they previously did not.

How to Find a Taco Bell with Sweet Tea

Because availability can be so inconsistent, you may be wondering how you can find out if your local Taco Bell has sweet tea or not. Here are some tips:

Check their menu board

The most obvious option is to visit the Taco Bell location and directly read their menu boards above the counter. All of their fountain beverage options will be listed. If you see “Sweet Tea” or “Tea” listed, then you know they carry it.

Ask at the counter

You can also ask the Taco Bell cashier or counter person if they serve sweet tea. Let them know you would like a large sweet tea with your order. They will let you know if they have it or not. This method is faster than driving there if you just want to know about tea.

Check their website

Many Taco Bell locations have individual restaurant pages on the website. You can search Google for “Taco Bell [your city]” to find the local site. Some locations list their full drink menu on their site. If Sweet Tea is listed on there, then you have confirmation they offer it.

Call ahead to ask

Calling the Taco Bell and asking an employee directly if they carry sweet tea is another hassle-free option. Let them know you are interested in ordering sweet tea and want to confirm they have it before visiting. Most employees are happy to check for you.

Order through the app

If you order ahead through the Taco Bell mobile app, you can view the full menu and beverage choices for that location. Add sweet tea to your order and the app will let you know if it is available at that restaurant before placing your full order.

Check delivery service apps

Look on delivery apps like DoorDash or GrubHub that service that Taco Bell location. View the menu listings and look for sweet tea. If it shows up as a drink choice, then you know that location offers it for delivery orders. This indicates they normally carry it on their in-store menu as well.

Ordering Sweet Tea at Taco Bell

Once you have confirmed your Taco Bell location carries sweet tea, here are some tips for ordering it:

Specify sweet tea

Some employees may still default to unsweetened tea. So when ordering, clearly state you want the “sweet tea.” This leaves no ambiguity so you get the right drink.

Check for freshness

Request a fresh batch of sweet tea if you are unsure when they last brewed it. Freshly made sweet tea tastes best.

Know the sizes

Taco Bell offers sweet tea in small, medium, large and sometimes X-large sizes. Small is 12 ounces, medium is 16 ounces, large is 30 ounces. X-large can be 32-40 ounces depending on the location.

Add customizations

Some Taco Bells with sweet tea allow you to customize your drink with additions like lemon, lime or light ice. Feel free to ask if they offer any sweet tea customizations.

Pair it with food items

Sweet tea goes great with Taco Bell food like burritos, nachos, quesadillas and more. Enjoy it with your meal or as a refreshing beverage on its own. The flavors complement each other well.

Nutrition Facts for Taco Bell Sweet Tea

Taco Bell’s sweet tea will have slightly varying amounts of calories, sugar, caffeine and ingredients based on restaurant preparation. However, here are the approximate nutrition facts for a 16 ounce medium-sized sweet tea at Taco Bell:


A 16 oz. medium sweet tea at Taco Bell contains about 180 calories. The calories come from the large amount of added sugar.

Total Fat

There is 0g of fat in Taco Bell sweet tea, since it is just tea and sugar without fat or oil.


Taco Bell sweet tea has about 36mg of sodium. The sodium occurs naturally in the tea leaves. The level is considered low for dietary standards.

Total Carbohydrates

A medium sweet tea has about 46g of total carbohydrates. This comes entirely from the added sugar.


The sweet tea contains 42g of sugar in a medium size. This accounts for most of the calories and carbohydrates.


Taco Bell’s sweet tea contains no protein. Tea leaves contain negligible amounts of protein.


On average, a 16oz Taco Bell sweet tea has about 47mg of caffeine. This is over 1/3 of the caffeine content in a same sized regular cola soda.


Taco Bell sweet tea ingredients contain:

– Water

– Black tea leaves

– Pure cane sugar

– Citric acid

Prices for Taco Bell Sweet Tea

Taco Bell sweet tea prices can vary a bit by location. Here are the typical prices for different sizes:

Small Sweet Tea – 12 oz.


Medium Sweet Tea – 16 oz.


Large Sweet Tea – 30 oz.


X-Large Sweet Tea – 32-40 oz.

$2.39 – $2.69

Taco Bell frequently runs specials that discount or bundle sweet tea, so prices may be cheaper with current offers. Coupons and promotions can also help make sweet tea more affordable.

The sweet tea prices are similar to Taco Bell soda fountain drink prices. So there is minimal upcharge for getting sweet tea vs a regular soft drink like Pepsi or Mountain Dew. Overall, Taco Bell’s sweet tea provides a tasty and inexpensive beverage option when dining there.

Copying the Taco Bell Sweet Tea Recipe

While the exact recipe for Taco Bell’s sweet tea is proprietary, you can mimic it at home with these guidelines:

Brew strong black tea

Use orange pekoe or pekoe cut black tea bags. Steep 2 bags per 16 oz. of water for 7-10 minutes. The longer steeping makes a stronger concentration of tea.

Add sugar while hot

Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of granulated white sugar per 16 oz. of tea. Stir until fully dissolved. This helps integrate the sweetness.

Cool tea completely

Allow the hot tea to cool to room temperature before chilling it. This helps the sugar fully integrate.

Chill tea over ice

Fill a glass with ice and pour the room temperature tea over it. The ice chills it quickly for drinking.

Adjust sweetness

Taste and add more sugar if desired once chilled until you get the sweetness level you prefer.

Serve with lemon

Add lemon wedges or slices to your glass of sweet tea for a hint of citrus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common FAQs about Taco Bell and sweet tea:

Does every Taco Bell location have sweet tea?

No, only some Taco Bell locations offer sweet tea. Availability varies by region and franchise location.

What states or regions most often have Taco Bell sweet tea?

Taco Bells in Southeastern states like Texas, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas are most likely to carry sweet tea. It is less common in the Northeast and Western states.

Can you only get sweet tea during certain times of year at Taco Bell?

No, the sweet tea is available year round at locations that carry it. It does not come and go with seasonal availability.

Does Taco Bell’s sweet tea taste as good as other restaurants?

Taste is subjective, but Taco Bell’s sweet tea is considered quite good and on par with sweet teas from other chains like McDonalds and Chick-fil-A in terms of flavor.

Can you customize Taco Bell’s sweet tea?

Some locations allow customizations like extra lemon, lime, or light ice. You can request to customize it when ordering.


In summary, sweet tea can be found at select Taco Bell locations depending on franchise and region. Availability is highest in Southeastern states where sweet tea drinking is most popular. There are several ways to check if your local Taco Bell carries sweet tea before visiting. Taco Bell’s sweet tea provides the classic sugary tea taste expected from a quick service restaurant at an affordable price point. While not a universal menu item there yet, Taco Bell may expand their sweet tea offering to more restaurants over time based on growing consumer demand.