By Jeff John Roberts
May 16, 2017

Large parts of the United States and Canada are being afflicted by a coffee shortage as a result of a crash to Starbucks’s computer systems.

The caffeine crisis began on Tuesday morning and, as of 2 p.m. ET, remained unresolved. The company has acknowledged the problem, saying it is the result of troubles with a software update, not hacking.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the problem came about as a result of a “technology update” to store registers and that a limited number of the country’s 14,000 North American locations are affected.

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The spokesperson would not clarify how “limited” the problem is, but media reports describe stores being affected everywhere from Texas to Florida to California. Update: Shortly before 4pm, the company issued a statement saying the problem has been largely resolved.

“Overnight we worked to install a technology update to our store registers in the U.S. and Canada, and a limited number of locations were temporarily offline. The stores remained open during this time, and we can now confirm virtually all are once again fully operational with the remaining few stores scheduled to come back online shortly. We appreciate the patience and support from our customers and partners (employees).”

Meanwhile, the outages—which saw some stores offering only tall drip coffee—produced a predictable outcry on Twitter:

Others reported that some Starbucks had taken to giving out free cups of coffee to appease their customers:

The Starbucks spokesperson said there is no formal free coffee policy but that individual locations are responding as they see fit to “make it right” for customers. Starbucks’s official Twitter account has yet to issue an official statement, but has issued numerous replies to individual customers:

While Tuesday’s computer outage did not involve hackers, the news follows reports last week of scammers finding new ways to get into customers’ Starbucks accounts and drain their balances.


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