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How Starbuck’s personal cup program works

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

How exactly does the personal cup program work at Starbucks?

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First of all, during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Starbucks halted the use of personal cups temporarily, but is still offering the discount to customers who show a personal cup at the register.

  • By bringing in any personal cup, customers get a flat 10 cent discount regardless of the size of the beverage.
  • Starbucks typically tries to estimate the size of your personal cup (sometimes even checking the bottom of it’s listed).
  • According to policy, customers aren’t technically permitted to order a smaller size than the personal cup can hold.
  • “You will be charged for the closest cup size, but not larger than the size of the personal cup,” reads the company’s page on the policy.
  • For example, you can’t bring in a 24 oz. container and ask for a tall (12 oz.), though there have been individual reports that not all baristas enforce this rule, especially with regular customers.
  • Starbucks says it will never charge you for a size that is larger than your personal cup. For example, let’s say you have 10 oz. container. Starbucks will charge you for a short (8 oz.) but does not force you to upgrade to grande (16 oz.) since you’d be paying for coffee that you don’t get.
  • This leads us a little Starbucks “hack” — if you can find a container that’s slightly larger than Starbuck’s traditional sizes, for example that 10 oz. one we mentioned above. In many cases, you’ll get charged for short but, in the process of filling up the cup, it may get filled up to the top or a little above since baristas are often in a hurry and also have to eyeball how many ounces they’ve poured.
  • You can shop for 10 oz. containers here — or use Amazon or your favorite retailer to look for other “in between” sizes.