How do free refills work at Starbucks?

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

If you’re a Starbucks Rewards Gold member, you’re eligible for free refills on brewed coffee and tea during the same visit.

  • When you first enter the store, you can order whatever beverage you’d like to start your eligibility for free refills as long as you stay in the store.
  • Once you’ve finished this drink, you’re eligible to get unlimited free refills on brewed coffee or tea during the same visit.
  • This includes both iced and hot versions of brewed coffee or tea as well as cold brew coffee.
  • However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you order a “handcrafted” beverage — lattes, Frappuccinos or other item that doesn’t contain just coffee and tea — you do not get free refills of that same beverage.
  • As a general rule, you can keep filling up on any drink that contains only coffee or tea — no juices, flavorings, shots, soy milk, coconut milk, milk or latte mixes can be added to free refills other than the creamers available at the self-service condiment bar.
  • In other words, if you want a fancy beverage, you need to order and buy that first — and then you’re free to enjoy coffee and tea (with sweeteners and creamers on the condiment bar) for free.
  • It’s not uncommon to find baristas who think that, if you started with tea, for example, you can’t switch to coffee or vice versa — or if you start with an iced drink you can’t switch to a hot one.
  • However, this is not true and you can show them this page on the Starbucks website to as proof.
  • Some baristas also incorrectly believe that cold brew coffee cannot be provided as a refill but, again, the page above specifically states that it can.
  • Most baristas will include soy or coconut milk in your free refills if you paid for it originally, though there is not a clear company policy on this.
  • Also note that once you leave the store, the free refill “train” ends. Most stores do not count it as “leaving the store” if you sit on the Starbuck’s provided outdoor seating areas, but some baristas may think you left and came back in, so you may have to politely point out that you were sitting outside.
  • How does Starbucks define “brewed” versus “handcrafted”?