Customer claims Starbucks will begin using 'nugget' ice amid rumors of ice policy change

@coffeepassport/TikTok Roman Zaiets/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘For the people that said they don’t like Starbucks ice, they heard you’: Customer claims Starbucks will begin using ‘nugget’ ice amid rumors of policy change

'Now I’ll get even more watered down coffee.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 23, 2023   Updated on May 20, 2023, 2:34 pm CDT

Starbucks appears to be making some fairly significant changes for the summer season, specifically regarding its use of ice. Earlier this month, a user’s clip on TikTok went viral after claiming that Starbucks would be charging customers more for light ice and less water in refresher drinks. This was echoed in another viral TikTok the same month.

Now, another TikToker has sparked discussion after alleging that Starbucks will be changing their ice to ‘nugget ice.’

In a video with over 118,000 views as of Sunday, TikTok user Megh (@coffeepassport) shares that Starbucks will soon be rolling out Follett Nugget Ice Machines across many locations. 

“Did you know? Nugget ice is a fan favorite!” the text reads on the document Megh shares. “The new Follet Nugget Ice Machine will produce all the ice needed in your store by consistently producing throughout the day, all while using less water. All beverage recipes will remain the same and stores will receive individual communication when install is ready. Stay cool!”

@coffeepassport Random Info if you care about Starbucks Ice #starbucks #starbuckscups #starbucksdrink #starbucksice #starbucksstore #coffeepassport #meghscups #starbuckscoffee #starbucksrefreshers #starbuckseveryday #starbucksicedcoffee ♬ original sound – Megh | Cups and Coffee ☕️

The fandom around nugget ice, also known as “pellet ice,” is real. A 2017 product review in USA Today notes that “nugget ice fans are diehard,” and in January 2021, author Helen Rosner of The New Yorker put out a piece simply titled “Pellet Ice is the Good Ice.”

“Here’s where pellet ice differs from crushed ice, with which it is often erroneously conflated: the compression of the nuggets creates flaky layers, which, as in a well-laminated pastry, render the ice pellets lightweight and airy, with crevices and tiny caves into which your drink can penetrate, and a yielding texture perfect for chewing,” writes Rosner. “…Unlike standard ice, it doesn’t clink; instead, it makes a soothing, gently percussive shuffling sound, like someone shaking an afuche-cabasa in the apartment next door.”

Despite this fanfare, users on TikTok were quick to share their thoughts on the issue — with many opposing it.


“Wait I actually love Starbucks’ ice,” another added. “I don’t think my iced coffee will taste as good with nugget ice.”

“Nugget ice is bomb for soda, but for refreshers!!? Won’t look as cute,” shared a third.

We’ve reached out to Starbucks via email and Megh via Instagram direct message.

Update 11:05am CT, Apr. 23: In an Instagram direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Megh offered her thoughts on the switch.

“I like their ice. I don’t ask for light or no ice,” she wrote. “I know people that don’t like their ice and that are excited about this new ice. I mean, I haven’t tried it so I don’t have an opinion yet.”

“I always like to try [new] things at Starbucks, but they definitely need to do more to step up their game and please customers,” she continued. “Better stop overcharging, too.”

Update 9:52am CT, Apr. 28, 2023: In an email to the Daily Dot, a Starbucks spokesperson shared the following statement:

“I can confirm that Starbucks is not making any changes to their ice policy. We don’t have anything to share regarding changes to Refreshers beverages.”

Update 2:33pm CT, May 20, 2023: In an email to the Daily Dot, a Starbucks spokesperson shared the following:

“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. Customers who have tried the nugget ice in our hand-crafted iced beverages during testing had a resoundingly positive response. 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.”

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*First Published: Apr 23, 2023, 10:25 am CDT