- Starbucks is rolling out a new “nugget” ice cube, the company confirmed to Insider.
- Starbucks said the rollout of its ice nuggets would take several years.
- The round, pellet-like ice nuggets will replace the thin ice chips Starbucks currently offers.
The sweet sound of the ice in your Starbucks latte clinking will have a different ring to it soon. The coffee giant confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that it is rolling out a new ice cube shape.
Starbucks said the rollout of the round, pellet-like ice nuggets would take several years. For now, most customers will continue to see the chain’s current ice, which is non-uniform and shaped in thin slices — or what some might call ice chips.
The change comes as iced drinks surge in popularity, making up 70% of Starbucks’ sales. The company has previously introduced new technology to speed up the time it takes to make its many iced drinks.
“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,” the company said. “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.”
As with any change — large or small — at Starbucks, fans are divided. When a photo of the new ice was posted on Starbucks’ Reddit forum earlier this month, users raised concerns that the new ice would melt too fast, among other issues. Others were excited about how snackable nugget ice is. People have strong feelings about ice.
Starbucks said in several tests, it found the nugget ice does not melt faster than its current ice cubes, and that most customers didn’t notice the difference in ice.
Baristas will scoop the ice at stores as they do now. The company said they’d be using the same ice scoop, and the volume of ice per beverage would not change.
The company also said the new ice machines will use less water to make ice, contributing to its sustainability goal.
Various restaurant supply and ice machine manufacturer sites tout the versatility of nugget ice, including that it is easy to blend. That feature could benefit Starbucks, which sells numerous varieties of blended drinks like Frappuccinos.
Do you work at Starbucks or have a story to share about the company? Contact Gloria Dawson via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-516-721-6598) or email (email@example.com). Check out Insider’s source guide for other tips on sharing information securely.