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No, Starbucks isn’t charging customers more for light or no ice

Starbucks introduced a new fee for a specific drink customization, but it doesn’t apply to drinks made with less or no ice.

Several viral social media posts claim that Starbucks is going to start charging customers who request light or no ice in their drinks an extra $1. People often request the customizations so they get more liquid instead of ice in their cup, and thus more bang for their buck.

VERIFY viewer Sarah asked our team if these claims are true.


Is Starbucks charging customers an extra $1 for light or no ice?


  • Starbucks
  • Starbucks spokesperson
  • VERIFY test at three Starbucks locations


This is false.

No, Starbucks isn’t charging customers an extra $1 for light or no ice.


Starbucks has introduced a new $1 fee for a specific type of customization, but it doesn’t affect drinks with less or no ice.

The additional $1 fee only applies to Starbucks Refreshers beverages that are customized with no water, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. They can still be customized with light or no ice free of charge.

“There are no changes to the ice customization options available at Starbucks,” the spokesperson told VERIFY.

Starbucks Refreshers are cold drinks that typically contain water, real fruit juice, lemonade or coconut milk and freeze-dried fruit chunks. The spokesperson noted that customers who order Refreshers with no water will be charged $1 because “this customization requires extra ingredients.” This policy went into effect on May 9, 2023. 

“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,” the spokesperson said.

VERIFY conducted our own independent test at three Starbucks locations in the Washington, D.C. area. We ordered three iced coffees with light ice and were not charged an additional fee at either location for any of these drinks. 

When we ordered a Starbucks Refreshers beverage with light ice and no water, we were charged an extra $1 for the no water customization — but we weren’t charged for requesting light ice. We also ordered another Starbucks Refreshers drink with water but with no ice and we weren’t charged an additional fee. 

We also tried our test in the Starbucks app, and we didn't get charged an additional fee for requesting no ice while ordering two Refreshers drinks. 

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