Does Starbucks Accept EBT in California? (Food Stamps + More)

Does Starbucks Accept EBT in California

Do you know if Starbucks accepts EBT in California? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Starbucks is a favorite drink vendor for many people, but there’s no question that their menu can feel a little pricey if your budget is tight. That’s why more and more people are looking to see if the use of Food Stamps or EBT benefits applies to Starbucks.

According to Official Policy, Starbucks is a luxury brand, and not part of EBT benefits or purchases. However, while stand-alone stores do not accept EBT cards, licensed stores owned by third-party vendors sometimes do.

This article explores the use of EBT for Starbucks, both the limits and the exceptions.

Does Starbucks Accept EBT in California?

According to official policy, Starbucks does not accept EBT or any other form of food stamps as payment, in any state. However, this policy applies to stand-alone Corporate Stores.

Starbucks has two types of stores: Corporate and Licensed.

Corporate stores are stand-alone locations, whereas Licensed stores are stores that have been effectively ‘rented’ inside another location, such as a Starbucks kiosk inside a grocery store.

Licensed Starbucks stores follow different rules, according to their location, and may accept EBT for certain purchases.

Read also >> Does Subway Accept EBT in California? (All You Need to Know!)

Read also >> What Grocery Stores Accept EBT Online? (120 Shop For Groceries With SNAP Benefits)

How Do I Know if the Starbucks in a Certain Location Will Take EBT?

The best way to know is simply to ask before making a purchase. You can ask at the counter, or you can call ahead, if you know the number, and ask a Customer Service representative if they take EBT.

The cashier or individual manning the store or kiosk will be able to tell you if EBT is accepted at that location.

Why Do Only Certain Starbucks Locations Accept EBT?

Despite the popularity of Starbucks and the huge number of people who drink coffee, Starbucks is considered a luxury brand.

As a luxury brand Starbucks is not affiliated with any support programs such as EBT, SNAP, or RMT.

Licensed stores, however, are effectively ‘leased’ to the company the kiosk is located in. Since many stores and even hotels accept SNAP, EBT, and RMT, the Starbucks in these locations often does as well, as a matter of convenience.

Starbucks receives a percentage of the money made through any licensed – or ‘leased’ – locations, but EBT and SNAP payments do not directly affect their income, hence the difference in policy.

What Are Some Stores that House EBT-Eligible Starbucks Kiosks?

Target is one of the more popular and widespread stores to house Starbucks kiosks that accept EBT. Other locations with similar rules include:

Super Target



Marriott Hotel

Fred Meyer

Read also >> Does McDonald’s Accept EBT in California? (Food Stamps + More)

Are There Restrictions on What I Can Purchase with An EBT at Starbucks?

EBT is restricted to nutritional items that would be used to feed the family. As such, it cannot be used for purchases that are considered ‘non-nutritional’ or ‘eating out’.

Due to these restrictions, you can’t purchase hot drinks or hot foods at a Starbucks licensed store, because these fall under the category of ‘consumed away from home’.

You may be able to purchase the following:

– Cold drinks

– Cold food items

– Energy drinks that are not labeled as ‘supplements’

– Snacks or sandwiches

– Sweets

Anything that could be taken home to feed a family, or anything that has a nutritional label is potentially eligible for an EBT purchase.

What Are Some Examples of Things I Could Use EBT for at Starbucks?

The following are considered valid uses of an EBT card at Starbucks:

– Cold Coffee such as Tall Frappuccinos

– Instant Coffee

– Coffee beans or Ground coffee

– Keurig single-serve pods


– Snacks, such as pumpkin bread or other treats.

– Sodas

– Certain types of Energy Drinks

What Energy Drinks Are EBT Eligible?

The following energy drinks are eligible for purchase through an EBT card:

– Bang Energy Drinks

– C4

– Monsters

– Red Bull

– Reign

– Rockstar

– Zevia

What Determines if an Energy Drink is Eligible for Purchase with EBT?

The best way to tell if an Energy Drink is eligible for EBT is to check the label.

If the Label says ‘Nutrition Facts’, the energy drink is likely to be EBT eligible.

If the Label says ‘Supplement Facts’, the energy drink is probably not EBT eligible.

Read also >> Does Target Accept EBT in California? (Food Stamps + More)

Why Is Hot Coffee Ineligible for Purchase With EBT?

Hot coffee is not generally purchased for family or at home consumption. Like prepared meals from a deli or other hot foods, it is considered a ‘consume at purchase’ item.

EBT is intended to supply aid to support the nutritional needs of a household, so anything that does not contribute to household food and beverages is not EBT eligible.

Is the Starbucks EBT Policy the Same for All States in the U.S.?

The Starbucks policy regarding acceptance of EBT for purchases is the same throughout all states.

The availability of an EBT accepting Starbucks in any given state is dependent on the number of stores accepting EBT, who have a Licensed Starbucks on the premise that recognizes the store policy as their own.

The same is true of other support programs such as SNAP and RMT.

Though it is possible that a Starbucks kiosk may accept EBT, it is always best to ask before attempting to make a purchase, to ensure a smooth transaction.

If you choose to purchase Starbucks hot coffee or patronize a stand-alone location, it is recommended that you plan on using an alternative form of payment for your purchases.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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