Starbucks Is Going to Have to Defend Its Lattes in Court

By Mike Pomranz |

© Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When pouring a latte, leaving a little bit of room at the top seems perfectly sensible, otherwise you’re just one bump away from spilling hot latte all over your lap. But a recent lawsuit alleges that Starbucks’ reasons for underfilling its lattes may be far more devious than simply keeping an eye out for your crotch, and a federal judge agrees that the coffee giant will have to defend its latte preparation in court.

Last week, US District Judge Thelton Henderson gave the go ahead to a class action suit filed by two Starbucks customers alleging that Tall, Grande and Venti Lattes don’t match their purported 12, 16 and 20 fluid ounce labels. Most simply put, the plaintiffs claim that though the cups are built to hold those sizes, the standardized company formula for making these drinks doesn’t fill the cup to the brim, meaning every drink is left short of its stated ounce size. There also appears to be some debate over whether latte foam should be considered in the total measurement of fluid ounces or not, but you’re probably better off discussing that with a molecular scientist. The plaintiffs’ most serious allegation seems to be that Starbucks decided to start underfilling lattes intentionally in an effort to save money on milk.

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As any good corporation with lawyers does, Starbucks attempted to have the lawsuit thrown out before it could go to trial, but Henderson decided to let lawsuit continue, mostly as brought and it now appears as if the ‘Bucks legal team will have to go before a judge. In a statement to Consumerist, a company spokesperson defended its practices, saying, “All of our handcrafted beverages are made in accordance with our customers’ preferences. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.” Does that mean that I can just tell my barista I want my 12 ounce latte to have 20 ounces instead? I hope so.

Starbucks’ lawyers have had their hands full as of late. Another class action suit from back in May made a somewhat similar allegation against Starbucks iced drinks saying that customers are shortchanged on those beverages because ice shouldn’t count towards the drink size

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