Hold the ice? Starbucks not charging extra for requesting less ice in drinks
CLAIM: Starbucks is imposing a $1 surcharge for ordering iced beverages without ice or less ice.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A company spokesperson says there’s no change in price for ordering an iced drink that’s less icy. Earlier this month, however, Starbucks added a $1 fee for ordering its popular line of caffeinated juices without water.
THE FACTS: Outraged social media users are claiming the coffee shop giant is making it more expensive for customers to ask for less in their coffee.
Many are sharing a video of a Starbucks employee explaining the purportedly new surcharge in requesting “no ice” or “less ice” in iced coffees and other iced beverages, as well as other clips of people reacting to the change.
“A Starbucks employee is going viral after confirming that the company new policy charges an extra $1.10 to customers who request light ice or no ice because they now have to fill the cup up to the top,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Another price increase! What do you think of these changes? Will you make more drinks at home?” wrote a TikTok user.
But the Starbucks employee in the viral video, which is not an official company video, appears to be explaining the added cost for requesting no water in the chain’s juice drinks, not new fees on ice.
Megan Adams, a company spokesperson, confirmed Friday that the company’s full line of cold beverages -- from the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew to the Iced Pistachio Latte and Iced Peach Green Tea -- can be still be ordered with as much (or as little) ice as a customer desires.
The only recent H2O-related change Starbucks made was raising the price on certain orders of “Refreshers,” which is the Seattle company’s line of “lightly caffeinated” fruit juices, Adams acknowledged in an email.
Starting May 9 Starbucks imposed a $1 surcharge on all orders requesting no water in “refresher” brand drinks. Adams explained that forgoing water in the juice drink requires adding extra ingredients into the mix.
“This change allows us to provide a more consistent approach to customization, similar to other beverage customizations, such as adding an espresso shot or syrup which incur an additional charge,” Adams wrote.
She also stressed that “Refreshers” -- like the company’s other iced drinks -- can still be customized with light or no ice, free of charge.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.