Is Water At Starbuck’s Free? Yes It Is. And For Good Reason

is water free at starbuck's

It’s no secret that Starbucks tap water is amazing. Even better, it’s free at most of the popular brand’s chain locations.  

Water at Starbucks is free of charge. Starbuck’s water can be ordered with or without ice in, Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta sizes. Purchases of coffee drinks or food is not a requirement.

What kind of free water can you get at Starbucks? What are the best ways to order free water at Starbucks? And if you do, why does Starbucks water taste so good? For answers to all these questions, check out our complete guide to ordering free water like a pro the next time you visit Starbucks.

Is Starbucks Water Free?

While Starbucks is known for its coffee status, a lot of people don’t know that you can also quench your thirst with free water at the famous chain.

It’s up to you if you want to buy a bottle of the brand’s water, but Starbucks’ free water policy lets you order unbottled water for free. This means that you don’t even have to purchase anything to take advantage of this policy. You can just walk in, order water, and walk out without paying anything.

This is a good option for people who want to stay hydrated while drinking coffee, but don’t want to shell out extra cash for pricey bottled water.

What is Starbucks’ Free Water Policy?

According to Starbucks, anyone who asks for water is entitled to a cup of free, filtered water. This contrasts with many food and drink chains that charge customers for a cup of plain tap water. 

Any size cup, with or without ice, is free at any time.

Starbucks has normalized this policy and made it easy to order a free cup of water without needing to ask about the policy.  

Why is Water Free at Starbucks?

Just where you can get free water at Starbucks depends on who owns and operates the store. For example, all brand-owned and corporate Starbucks offer free water as a customer courtesy.  

If you walk into a franchise store inside a Target or grocery store, you might get charged for water.

Do Some Starbucks Locations Not Offer Free Water?

There are times when you might walk into a Starbucks and find yourself charged a fee when you ask for free water.

That’s because franchise or licensed stores, in contrast to corporate Starbucks stores, charge a cup fee. Technically, you’re not paying for water, you’re paying for the cup, but it will still cost you.

If you want free water at a franchise store, you’ll end up paying a nominal amount, such as $0.25 – $0.50, for a cup of water. They’re not doing it to get out of giving you free water. Instead, they likely need to charge a fee to cover their inventory costs. At any rate, you’ll get a cup of water for less than a dollar. 

When it comes to Disney parks, the magic really does come true. Every Disney World Park contains a Starbucks. Employees at these locations will provide free, Venti-size cups of ice water if you ask.

How Can I Order Free Water at Starbucks?

We get it. It can be intimidating to walk into a Starbucks and ask for a free beverage that you haven’t earned.

The good news is that it’s simple and easy to order a cup of free water either in the store or via the Starbucks app.

You don’t need to ask for “free water”. Starbucks employees know that a cup of cold, filtered tap water is free and will give it to you upon request.

Ask a Starbucks Barista 

If you want to order free water, it’s best to get in line and wait your turn. Nobody likes someone who cuts the line just to ask for a free beverage. Whether you’re paying or getting a cup of free water, it’s polite to wait your turn.

Don’t be the person who lingers at the hand-off bar and tries to get served first at the end of the line. This interrupts the employees’ workflow and can delay paying customers from getting their drinks in a timely manner.

While you’re in line, choose if you want iced or ice-free water. Keep in mind that it’s standard to give iced water, so make sure to specify if you don’t want any ice.

If you’re doing a regular Starbucks order, you can also add a cup of water at the register. Even though the water is free, the barista still needs to ring it up on the register. This helps the company track labor, time, and cup inventory. Let the barista know what cup size you would like. If you aren’t specific, the default cup size is grande.

Tip if you can. While the water is free, every second of a barista’s time adds up. It’s a nice gesture to give back to show that you appreciate the complimentary water.

You can also order water at the drive-through box.

Use the Starbucks App

You can use the Starbucks app to order water. Once you’ve opened the app, scroll until you reach the “Cold Drinks” area of the menu and search for water options.

Pick up your free water in-store or at a drive-through location.

Why is Water So Good at Starbucks?

That first sip of delicious, clean, filtered water will have you coming back for more. The freer the better.

Starbucks’ water is so good because the company uses a reverse-osmosis water filtration process that filters the water three times. This system removes sediment, runs the water through an activated charcoal filter to get rid of odd tastes or chlorine chemicals, and sifts the water through a tight membrane that removes contaminants such as lead and asbestos down to the size of an atom.

This means that Starbucks water is some of the healthiest and best-tasting commercial water on the planet.

Is Starbucks Water Alkaline?

Not only is Starbucks water super alkaline, but it is free of fluoride and other debris.

According to independent consumer testing, Starbucks water is alkaline instead of acidic, so it’s a healthier choice compared to most bottled water brands which are highly acidic from contact with plastic containers, also called a “Water-cooler effect”.

Is Starbucks Water Mineral Water?

No, Starbucks water isn’t mineral water. This means that it doesn’t come from mineral spring water. It also doesn’t have minerals added to enhance it. While the chain offers a sparkling and refreshing Galvanina bottled mineral water option, the free water option is filtered rather than mineral water.

Does Starbucks Water Have Electrolytes?

While we agree that tap water with electrolytes would be a great upgrade, Starbucks’ free water doesn’t have electrolytes. It’s just high-quality filtered water.

What Free Water Sizes Can You Order at Starbucks?

If you don’t ask for a specific size, Starbucks baristas will give you the standard Grande-size cup of free water. 

If you want a different size, just ask for a Tall, Venti, or Trenta option. Most places also have a Short size which is the equivalent of an 8-oz cup.

FAQ

Does Starbucks Charge for Cups?

In 2022, Starbucks is testing a roll-out, green program that charges a $0.10 fee for disposable, single-use cups. Since the 1980s, Starbucks has offered a 10 percent discount on every order where a customer brings their own cup or mug.

Will Starbucks Fill My Water Bottle?

Yes, Starbucks employees will refill your water bottle upon request. Some Starbucks stores provide a self-service water cooler where you can fill your own bottle at a spigot, but you will need to ask for a refill at most places since Starbucks isn’t considered a self-service chain.

You can fill your reusable bottle up, ice or no ice. Just make sure that your bottle is clean first.

What Does a Cup of Ice Cost at Starbucks?

A cup of iced water of any size is free at Starbucks. You won’t pay a cent for water at any corporate or brand-owned store around the world.

Christopher Mize
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