Starbucks is switching to nugget ice

May 25, 2023, 3:14 PM UTC
Pellet ice is on the way to Starbucks.
Bing Guan—Bloomberg/Getty Images

So long ice cubes. Starbucks is switching up the ice in its iced coffee. The chain plans to swap out its current ice machines for nugget (or, pellet, if you prefer) ice, but you might have to wait a little before you see it at your local store. Yep, that’s the same kind enthusiasts gush over at Sonic, Chick-Fil-A or, in some cases, hospitals.

The chain says the rollout will take place over the next few years, with locations that have a high number of cold drink orders getting the softer, more compressed ice first.

“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,” a Starbucks rep told Fortune. “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.”

While loyalists sing songs of praise to the crunchable, chewable ice, there is a contingent of Starbucks customers who are worried the new ice could melt faster in their drinks, watering them down. (Starbucks says it has tested this and found the ice does not melt faster.)

Nugget ice has always been popular, but used to be a rare find. That’s changing, though. General Electric, eight years ago, introduced its Opal nugget ice maker for home use and the device has been a hot seller ever since, despite its steep price tag, which often exceeds $500.

This isn’t the first time Starbucks has played with its ice offerings. In 2017, the company sold coffee ice – ice cubes made from coffee, rather than water—at select locations around the country.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

Great ResignationInflationSupply ChainsLeadership