Latte Rip-off?

Is Starbucks under-filling lattes? Photo Credit / Amy Lukac

Is Starbucks under-filling lattes? Photo Credit / Amy LukacBy Alexa Stephens
Staff Writer

Earlier this month, two California residents filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for allegedly under-filling lattes.

Starbucks’ menu claims that a tall size is 12 fluid ounces, a grande size is 16 fluid ounces, and a venti size is 20 fluid ounces.

The lawsuit claims that these measurements are not at all accurate, and the lattes actually contain 25 percent less than what the company promises, according to the New York Post’s website.

In 2009, Starbucks created a standard recipe that was made mainly to cut down on the cost of milk. This recipe, however, calls for the baristas to make each latte with less fluid ounces than what the recipe should call for.

The serving cups that are used at the chain coffee shop can hold exactly the amount of what each latte should be. For example, each grande cup holds 16 fluid ounces. The standardized recipe calls to fill the cup a quarter inch below the cup’s rim – which is why all these lattes are being under-filled.

According to lawsuit filed, found on, “Starbucks cheats purchasers by providing less fluid ounces in their Lattes than represented.”

Although this lawsuit might be seen as unnecessary, particularly by Starbucks’ itself, there may be some merit to it.

Missing out on 25 percent of a drink may not seem like much of a problem if it only happens once or twice.

However, for people who routinely buy Starbucks, it is not just a once or twice occurrence. It is an everyday loss. These people claim they are being robbed of their money, and they are right.

Those lattes under-filled by 25 percent will be quick to add up, not to mention the fact that people just simply are not getting what they are paying for. The lawsuit says these customers are owed more than $5 million in losses.

“Hand-prepared beverages increase the likelihood of variations…If a customer is unhappy with their beverage preparation then we are happy to remake it to their satisfaction,” stated Starbucks in a response following the lawsuit.

The issue would not have blown up into a lawsuit if the company had just adjusted the measurements for each size latte, simply by raising the fill line, but they did not. Many feel cheated, and many are angry.

Even if Starbucks wins the lawsuit, there will still be angry customers who know they are not getting their money’s worth.

This latte lawsuit is sure to have an impact on the company’s business regardless of the outcome.

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