clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Starbucks Is Being Sued for Underfilling Its Lattes

New, 5 comments

The lawsuit says the chain's lattes are 25 percent smaller than the menu claims

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.


Another day, another lawsuit for Starbucks: The coffee giant is now being sued for failing to fill its coffee cups all the way to the top, reports TMZ.

The class-action suit, filed in the U.S. district court of Northern California, claims that Starbucks knowingly and systematically serves customers lattes that are 25 percent smaller than the menu claims.

According to the court complaint, "Starbucks Lattes are made from a standardized recipe, which Starbucks instituted in 2009 to save on the cost of milk — one of its most expensive ingredients." The suit argues that the "fill to" lines etched on the pitchers used by baristas to heat milk result in drinks that don't measure up to the tall (12 ounce), grande (16 ounce), and venti (20 ounce) sizes listed on the menu. "By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payment for more product than it delivers," the suit reads.

The lawsuit claims Starbucks is in breach of implied and express warranties, and should be held liable for fraud. As Top Class Actions explains, "If the class action lawsuit is approved, it will be open to all U.S. Class Members who purchased a Starbucks Latte" — which could be a staggeringly large number of people.

Reached for comment by Eater, a Starbucks spokesperson says, "We are aware of the plaintiffs' claims, which we fully believe to be without merit. We are proud to serve our customers high-quality, handcrafted and customized beverages, and we inform customers of the likelihood of variations."

Of course, if Starbucks did actually start filling its cups up to the brim, the company would likely find itself facing even more hot coffee lawsuits. What's a coffee megalith to do?

Check out the full text of the lawsuit, below:

Starbucks Underfilled Latte Lawsuit

How Starbucks went from failure to delivery