Starbucks Is Charging $1 More for a Popular Drink—and Fans Are Mad

Updated: Nov. 29, 2023

The coffee chain will begin to charge an extra $1 for Refreshers that are ordered with "no water." Starbucks customers aren't happy.

There’s lots of chatter online about tricks to save money at Starbucks, healthy Starbucks hacks and its not-so-secret secret menu. But Starbucks just announced that it’s raising the price of one popular drink hack. Starting May 9, Starbucks will charge $1 extra to customers who request “no water” in its Refreshers. “Starting May 9 there will be an additional cost of $1 for Starbucks Refreshers Beverages customized with no water, as this customization requires extra ingredients,” said Starbucks in a statement.

What Is Starbucks Charging More for in Refreshers?

A plastic straw is seen in a Starbucks drink on July 9, 2018 in Miami, FloridaJoe Raedle/Getty Images

Refreshers have been on the Starbucks menu for about a decade. They are beverages made of tropical fruit juices like pineapple, dragonfruit and acai, as well as lemonade and green tea. There are even Starbucks Refreshers on the secret menu.

Over the years, there’s been a trend of Starbucks enthusiasts making custom orders of Refreshers without water, presumably to get more flavoring ingredients. This is why Starbucks intends to charge $1 more.

How Do Customers and Baristas Feel About the New Charge?

Starbucks fans on forums like Reddit have voiced their displeasure. Originally, misinformation had circulated that Starbucks was charging for “light ice,” which wasn’t true. Some customers and former baristas have also pointed out that it made no sense for the chain to charge extra for “no water” but not extend the charge to “light ice” or “no ice.” The argument seems to come down to whether the drink uses a “diluted base” or “undiluted base.”

Workers at Starbucks have also expressed concern that the new changes will create angry customers. Several employees told Business Insider that they were nervous about facing customer backlash, and were already facing confusion over whether the upcharge was for “light ice” or “no water.”

This isn’t the first time Starbucks employees have expressed dread over custom orders. In fact, earlier this year, Starbucks employees told Taste of Home how they really feel about customers’ secret menu orders. Basically, all these custom orders and hacks make the workers’ job more difficult. “Sometimes these hacks don’t work,” said one Starbucks employee. Keeping all this in mind, make sure to be nice to your baristas the next time you’re at your local Starbucks—remember, they don’t decide the prices!

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