Is Water Free At Starbucks? (Do They Charge For Water?)

Is Water Free At Starbucks

Does Starbucks Charge For Water? Have you ever asked yourself or your friend if water is free at Starbucks? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

According to Starbucks employees, water is given out in most Starbucks stores for free to anyone who asks, regardless of whether you have made a purchase or not. This is not the case in every fast-food chain or coffeehouse, but it has been confirmed that corporate and company-owned Starbucks stores will hand out a cup of free water.

In the following article, we look at how to get a free cup of water from Starbucks, as well as some of the reasons behind this service.

Is water free at Starbucks?

If you ask for water at Starbucks, you will be given a free cup of filtered water. This is not always the case in food and drink chains as some choose to charge for water, but employees of Starbucks have confirmed numerous times that water will be given to you for free. And all you need to do is ask! 

One thing to note is that this is only applicable in corporate or company-owned stores. In any of these stores, water is likely to be given out for free.

On the other hand, licensed stores, which are franchised stores, may choose to charge for water and so you may have to pay to get a cup of water in a licensed store.

However, this is unlikely to cost more than a dollar.

Read also: Is Water Free At McDonald’s? (All You Need To Know!)

What is Starbucks’ policy on water?

As is often the case in many coffeehouses and fast-food chains, Starbucks does not have an official policy on free water. Instead, it is based off of how the store is operated and who it is owned by.

In all corporate and company-owned Starbucks stores, water is given out for free as a courtesy. 

Licensed stores, which are franchised stores, can sometimes charge for a cup of water. However, it is not the water itself that you are paying for, but the cup itself.

The cup is likely intended for other drinks, which costs the company as that drink cannot be bought. To offset these costs, some stores might choose to charge.

How much is water at Starbucks?

In the licensed stores that charge for water, you can expect to pay between twenty and fifty cents for filtered water.

It’s important to remember that this charge is not necessarily for the water itself, but instead is intended to cover the cost of the cup it comes in.

Bottled water is also available for purchase in all Starbucks and usually retails at a couple of dollars.

Why does Starbucks offer free water?

Although the exact reason Starbucks offers free water is not known, it is likely intended to be a courtesy gesture for customers.

It may also be offered more often during the summer months when the weather gets warmer, and it is important to stay hydrated as easily as possible.

In most Starbucks stores, free water refills for your own water bottle are also available, alongside the opportunity to ask for free water.

This is likely done to prevent people having to purchase plastic water bottles and instead reuse their own bottles, making for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Read also: How Many Types Of Coffee Does Starbucks Have  (Completed List)

Why do some places not give free water?

While Starbucks will hand out free water to customers, other coffeehouses and fast-food chains will not do the same. There are numerous reasons for this, but it is mostly down to the lack of regulation on water.

There is no law or regulation to say that water has to be free in any place except those that also serve alcohol.

Another reason some places don’t give out free water is that it comes at a cost to the company. Many places choose to charge for water to help offset some of the costs that come with handing out water, like the cost of the cup it comes in and the methods of cleaning the water itself.

Another reason is that charging for cups of water helps some places to prevent people from getting other drinks for free.

Some customers were found to be asking for a free cup of water and then filling it up with paid drinks, essentially meaning they were getting drinks for free. Some companies charge for water to get some of the costs they lose through this.

How to ask for free water at Starbucks

Asking for something for free can be an intimidating thing to do for some people, even if it is something you know you are entitled to. However, there are some things you can do to make asking for free water easier for you and the cashier.

First, make sure you queue up and wait for your turn, just like you would to make any other order. Just because you are getting the water for free, doesn’t mean it won’t take time and labour for the cashier. Be respectful of their time and the other people waiting in the queue, and make sure to be polite.

Be specific in what you ask for. Starbucks will usually serve free water in a small cup size and it typically comes with ice. If you don’t want ice, make sure to ask for your water without ice when you order.

And consider the size of the cup you want; some stores might charge for larger sized cups of water, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you can, consider leaving a small tip as a token of appreciation for the time and labour that the cashier has taken to serve you.

Even though your drink is free, it’s always good to show that you appreciate the hard work of the barista, and they are likely to be super grateful for that.

Final Thoughts

According to employees, Starbucks will give out free water to anyone who asks in their corporate and company-owned stores.

In licensed stores, you may find that a small charge might be applicable to compensate for the cost of serving the water, but in most stores, water will be free.



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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