There's a Rumored New Upcharge for Starbucks Refreshers—Is It True?

The internet is having a meltdown about Starbucks allegedly charging for no ice. Here's what to know.

Starbucks sign outside of café

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Starbucks fans are experiencing a collective meltdown on social media due to an alleged additional charge for requesting light water, no water, light ice, or no ice when ordering Refresher drinks. Rumors began swirling when TikTok creator @4rayah.sunshine shared a video (which now has 1.4 million views) on April 7, implying that a memo was sent to Starbucks employees verifying the new charges.

"Starbucks is giving us another price increase, just in time for summer," she says in her TikTok. "With this change, if you say 'no water,' you will then get charged an extra dollar for adding more base. Additionally, if you say 'no ice' or 'light ice,' you also will get charged a dollar because they have to add more base to make up for the space lost."

Adding to the panic among Refresher lovers, a Reddit thread posted on April 17 showed a sign at a Starbucks drive-thru that stated, "Starting on May 9, Starbucks will begin to upcharge for no water, no ice, and light ice in the Starbucks Refresher beverages at all their locations." Comments on the posts ranged from pragmatic ("Isn't that a concentrate meant to be diluted with water?") to angry ("Starbucks is a joke now—I sold all my cups and deleted my app.")

Despite these assertions, it's unclear if the rumors are true. In an article from Eat This, Not That reporting on the upcharge, editors added a correction after publishing stating, "Following the publication of this article on April 26, a Starbucks representative reached out to our editors with the following statement: 'Starbucks is not making any changes to their ice policy. We don't have anything to share regarding changes to Refreshers beverages.'"

Refreshers joined the permanent Starbucks lineup in 2012 and have since grown into some of the most popular menu items, including the Dragon Drink, Strawberry Açaí Lemonade, and Pink Drink. Customers tend to ask for no ice or light ice so there's more room for the actual beverage in their cups, and no water allows for more of the fruit base.

Some expressed their understanding for the update in the TikTok comments. "Sbux barista here—I am happy about this. It’s about time we came up with a solution," one user wrote. "When you ask for no ice, you know what you're doing lol it's more product!" another said. But after the Starbucks price increases earlier this year, along with changes to its rewards program that make it harder to get a free beverage, many are becoming frustrated with the cost of making modifications.

To get official answers, it appears that customers will have to wait until the announcement of the summer lineup to see if ordering less water or light ice means more money.

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