Kelly Bryant | 

Starbucks Is Changing Its Ice — And People Are Upset

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If, like me, you are averse to change, then Starbucks is probably on your last nerve right now. The coffee chain has been all about change since the start of the year. First came the changes to their Rewards program, then they started charging for “no water” requests on Starbucks Refreshers. Now, my friends, Starbucks is changing the type of ice they serve. The type of ice!

Instead of the customary ice you typically get in your cold Starbucks beverage of choice, the company is rolling out (drumroll, please) nugget ice. Think along the lines of what you find in drinks at Sonic or Chick-fil-A. Now the change isn’t universally immediate. It will reportedly take several years for them to swap out ice machines in all of their locations. However, customers are already kinda peeved about the change.

Frankly, the only Starbucks change I fully support are their color-changing cups. So, I’ll get into how this whole nugget ice escapade may affect your Starbucks drinks below, and what the company has to say about it. But, first, to learn how to hack your Starbucks order or get the latest news on promos, events, and sales to save you money, text HACKS to 57299.


Starbucks is making the switch to “nugget ice” in their stores.

a starbucks drink being grabbed in starbucks

Right now most Starbucks across the globe are using what some might call “basic” ice. There’s nothing real fancy about them. They are simply vehicles to keep your drinks cold. However now the chain is beginning to install nugget ice machines in select stores. Nugget ice kind of looks like pebbles. You see this type at Chick-fil-A and Sonic.

The company shared this statement with Krazy Coupon Lady:

As we continue to innovate and make investments in the Starbucks Experience for our partners (baristas) and customers, we are introducing new machines that make nugget ice to select stores this year.Customers who have tried the nugget ice in our hand-crafted iced beverages during testing had a resoundingly positive response. Like many of our recent investments, this machine allows partners to focus on delivering the Starbucks Experience while hand-crafting the same delicious, high-quality iced beverages our customers have come to expect from Starbucks.

Here’s the thing, some people love nugget ice. So much, in fact, that household nugget ice makers are totally a thing. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to embrace something different. That means this Starbucks ice change news is not exciting much of the Internet.

RELATED: How to Get Cheap or Free Starbucks Every Time You Order


Customers are complaining nugget ice will water down their drinks faster.

nugget ice in a glass

While most Starbucks don’t even have the controversial love-it-or-hate-it nugget ice yet, customers are already complaining online. Why? Because nugget ice is smaller than traditional ice. Meaning it melts faster. So the complaint is that this Starbucks ice change will water down their pricy drinks quickly.

Starbucks says before deciding to make this change, they conducted several tests to confirm that nugget Ice does not, in fact, melt faster than their current ice. Additionally, baristas are using the same ice scoop as before, so the volume of ice in each beverage is not going to change.

Concerned naysayers have a valid point, though. Recently Starbucks implemented a $1 charge for Refreshers orders requesting no water. Customers typically customize it that way to get more flavor in their drink. If smaller ice means you think you have to gulp down a beverage faster, it can be understandably annoying.



Your Starbucks may not get nugget ice this year.

Because this is a multi-year rollout, there’s a big chance your Starbucks won’t get the nugget ice machine this year. Starbucks says they are prioritizing stores that have a high volume of cold drink orders, which makes sense. One of the reasons behind the change is these nugget ice machines reportedly use less water to make ice than traditional machines. This is believed to help Starbucks reach their sustainability goal to reduce their water footprint 50% by the year 2030 (which is, frighteningly, not that far away).


Starbucks is not charging for little or no ice.

Fortunately, despite the “no water” charge, Starbucks decided not to add a fee for requesting no or little ice in drinks. Assuming they stick to that policy, that means when nugget ice hits your preferred location, you can simply ask for little or none of it when you order without incurring an extra cost.

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