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Starbucks is changing its ice cubes

<i>Chris Hondros/Getty Images/FILE</i><br/>Customers who order cold beverages from Starbucks will now sip on “nugget ice” in their drinks.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images/FILE
Customers who order cold beverages from Starbucks will now sip on “nugget ice” in their drinks.

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

New York (CNN) — Starbucks is changing its ice cubes. Will its customers have a meltdown?

Customers who order cold beverages will now sip on “nugget ice” in their drinks, ice pieces which are smaller than the chain’s current cubes.

Ice is a key ingredient for the coffee giant, especially since its iced handcrafted beverages now account for about 75% of its sales. Ice is also apparently a flashpoint for its customers.

Initial reactions to the new ice on Reddit are mixed, but passionate. Some note that it is chewier or flakier and claim it’s similar to the ice used at Sonic and the Coffee Bean. The so-called “pellet ice” has some fans, but other people are worried that it will water down the drinks or change the texture of their Frappuccinos.

The nuggets don’t melt any faster, the company said, and the switch to nuggets doesn’t mean customers will get any less ice since baristas are using the same ice scoop.

The company’s new iteration of ice has had a “resoundingly positive response” in its tests, it said.

Starbucks is revamping a few of its drinks for summer. Last week, it announced that a Refresher drink that is not diluted with water will cost an additional $1 because the company said it “requires extra ingredients.”

Refreshers are the chain’s popular line of non-coffee beverages, which are served cold with flavored juices and dried fruit chunks, plus milk, water or lemonade.

New Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan sees room for improvement in the business, which includes installing new equipment. Starbucks also has a goal of cutting its water usage in half by 2030.

Starbucks said in a statement that the new ice machines use less water and will be rolling out to all its stores over the next several years.

“There is more work to do to tailor our stores on the demand that we see, advance our technology, enhance how we innovate our equipment and also more fundamentally, how we get back to focusing on fundamental operations and executing better,” Narasimhan said earlier this month in an earnings call.

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