Starbucks is switching up its ice game — and customers are extremely divided about the change.
The coffee giant is gradually transitioning to using round, pellet-like nugget ice for cold beverages from the rectangular ice chunks currently used, and while some customers are really excited, others are enraged. Meanwhile, others (perhaps yourself included) think, huh, I haven't thought about the ice in my drinks all that much.
After a Starbucks barista recently shared a photo on Reddit of a new nugget-like ice that's being tested at their store location, fans of the stuff (and critics) took to the thread to proclaim their feelings about the crunchable ice.
Some fans and foes refer to the style as "hospital ice" as it's often found there. The post also started a conversation about anemia, which was an interesting sidebar (some people consider ice chewing to be a possible indicator of an iron deficiency).
If you're thinking nugget ice may sound and look familiar, fans of Sonic and Chick-fil-A might recognize the stuff already in drinks from those chains.
Starbucks has since confirmed the coming change in a statement shared with Today.com: “As we continue to innovate and make investments in the Starbucks Experience for our partners (baristas) and customers, we are introducing new machines that make nugget ice to select stores this year. Like many of our recent investments, this machine allows partners to focus on delivering the Starbucks Experience while hand-crafting the same delicious, high-quality iced beverages our customers have come to expect from Starbucks.”
While Starbucks swears the stuff doesn't melt faster than the ice it currently uses, one employee took to Reddit to note otherwise. Redditor @espeoncore (who works in an "incubation" store that tests changes and new drinks before they're widely adopted) explained that his Starbucks has been using the ice since last summer, and while they believe it does melt faster (and baristas will have to shake harder to get shaken espressos to foam), many customers love it anyway. And really, nugget lovers and haters, can't we all just get along?
Don't get too excited (or upset, if you can restrain yourself from picketing or whatever), as adopting the nugget ice at all Starbucks locations is expected to take several years. The good news for those who want greener drinks? The nugget ice requires less water to make (though Starbucks assures skeptics that the same amount will be used in cold drinks) so the coffee chain is taking steps toward its vow to conserve water.
Wherever you fall on the Stabucks nugget ice spectrum, you have to admit that watching people freak out over frozen water is bound to be entertaining. Either way, prepare for the easier-to-chew, more opaque nugget ice coming to a Starbucks near you (eventually).
Can't wait? Maybe you want to try one of these handy at-home countertop ice makers.
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