11 Urban Legends About Starbucks That Just Might Be True

1. Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz was confronted by a shareholder over its support for same-sex marriage

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Announces Harlem Community Parternship ProgramTrue

At the 2013 shareholder meeting Tom Strobhar (founder of The Corporate Morality Action Center ) said to CEO Howard Schultz that he opposed Starbuck’s support for domestic partners (ie. same sex marriage).  Howard Schultz told him basically to shove it.  Schultz got 2 rounds of standing ovations.

2. A NYC Starbucks Charged Ground Zero Workers from 9/11 $130 for 3 cases of water



The customers were the Midwood Ambulance Service from Brooklyn.  Once Starbucks corporate  found that its employee had made the mistake it refunded the Ambulance Service and apologized.

3. Starbucks Closed All Its Stores in Israel Because It Opposes Israeli Occupation of Palestina


Starbucks did close all its Starbucks outlets in Israel in 2003.  But it had nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Starbucks just wasn’t making enough money there.

4.  Starbucks has joined Monsanto in a lawsuit against Vermont to avoid the implementation of GMO labeling regulations.

StarbucksOMGTrue and False

Starbucks is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association which is challenging Vermont over GMO labeling requirements.  This is an action by the GMA.  Starbucks is just a member.  Starbucks is very open about the ingredients in its products.

5. In 2002 Starbucks recalled ‘Collapse into Cool’ promotional posters due to complaints that they contained imagery reminiscent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


These posters were in 4,000 outlets nationwide in 2002.   A New York Post reporter brought attention to their unintentional similarity to the 9/11 attacks.  Starbucks removed them all quickly.  Looks a little far-fetched to us, but kudos to Starbucks for removing the ads anyway.

6. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Has No Pumpkin



But that’s necessary to ensure a consistent product.  And how are you going to drink pumpkin anyway?  Well, at least it has real spice.  And real Latte.  Just no pumpkin!

7.  Starbucks is testing a new “beer latte,” designed to mimic the distinctive flavor profile of Guinness



For Real.  This is amazing.  Since August 2014 Baristas on Reddit and Twitter have been mentioning this.  Starbucks is known to be testing a store that sells alcoholic beverages in Brooklyn.  Time will tell!

8. Starbucks puts ground up bugs in Strawberry Frappucinos



 It used to.  It used cochineal extract die made from crushed up bugs in 4 of its drinks including Strawberry Frappucino and Velvet Cake Frappucino.  It adds red color.  But Starbucks phased that out beginning in 2013 in favor of lycopene derived from tomatoes.  MUCH better idea, Starbucks!

9.  Nearly 1,500 Starbucks customers in Newington CT “paid it forward” during Christmas Week 2013.



At the drive-thru window of the Starbucks on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington CT, 1,468 customers in succession received their drink free because the prior customer had paid for it, then paid for the next customer behind them.  This is called a “Suspended Coffee”

10.  Did Starbucks give a Free Pastry to anyone with an internet coupon on March 23 2010?



Yes that was real.  You missed it!

11. Did Starbucks refuse to donate free coffee to Marines Serving in Afghanistan because it opposed the war?


  In Starbuck’s official response it says it has deep respect for our military and has hired, helped, and contributed to many charitable causes that aid members of the military and their families.