caveat emptor: Starbucks quietly raised prices

Since I’m living so close to the office now, I’ve been trying to be good and brew my coffee at home in the mornings. I used to hate this when it involved a metro ride since my travel mug doesn’t really fit in my bag and I liked having both hands free for iPhone or reading. But now carting the mug a few blocks back and forth is fine by me and the savings is pretty evident. Still, yesterday morning I was craving a latté. I don’t have an espresso maker at home and probably never will of my own accord, so I don’t mind heading to Starbucks from time to time, just not every day.


The last time I went there with co-workers, I may have taken notice of, or just ignored the fact that the price seemed higher for my “usual” order. Unfortunately the employees at that ‘bucks aren’t always on the ball and I’ve been charged extra or less on various visits, so it probably didn’t register. But yesterday morning, the place was practically empty and I finally asked, “Did you guys raise prices on extra shots of espresso?” My usual being a 4-shot latté. The woman at the register replied, “The size of the cups went up.” I looked at her, looked at the coffee prep area–at the same sized espresso shot glasses–and repeated, “The size of the cups went up?” She nodded and I paid* but the quizzical look remained. The woman preparing the drinks asked if everything was ok, and I asked “Did you raise prices or, as she said, did the size of your cups increase?”

She shook her head and said that they did raise the prices on various items, but not across the board. Most notably–to me–the cost of extra shots went from 55 to 70¢. But other drink prices went up as well, some coffee sizes, some coffee drink sizes and I’ve noticed Sharpies being used to increase the cost of the food items by 5 or 10¢ instead of just getting new cards printed.

A quick search for “starbucks raises prices” shows the price changes from the Summer that I was aware of, but nothing yet about the more recent changes. I’m sure most people will never notice, even if the prices go up since it’s never by enough that it seems worth the alternative. But since I was enjoying my 10% discount, it doesn’t make much sense if they just raise the prices. Puts me back where I was! 🙄

So if you notice your morning coffee or latté seems higher than usual, you’re not imagining it!

* With my Gold Card, which they’re changing at year’s end anyway, which will definitely signal my downgrading Starbucks to a very casual relationship.

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1 Response

  1. Anderson charles says:

    It sucks that their prices are continuing to go up. I worked at starbucks all of last year and I love a lot of their products. However, I discovered as I briefly worked at an ItaliAn coffee shop, that starbucks’ espresso is not all that great. What’s hiding the ill-flavored tastes are the milk, foam, and whatever sweetner the patron decides to add.
    I enjoyed your article.

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