How To Stop Overpaying For Ice At Starbucks

There's something so refreshing about a Starbucks iced beverage that even when the weather turns cool, some of us still prefer our drinks cold. There's one pet peeve that detracts from the joy of these chilly beverages, however, and that's when you're served a cup that's mostly ice and only a small amount of the actual drink you purchased. Considering that these drinks are not cheap, it can seem as if all that ice is there just to get you to pay more for less — as well as to annoy you.

If you're a quick drinker who gulps down their iced tea, you'll be left with just a memory of tea and a whole cup of ice remaining. If you prefer to take your time slowly sipping iced coffee, you'll soon realize that your drink has become watered down with melted ice. There's nothing worse than achieving the perfect ratio of milk to syrup to espresso in your iced pumpkin spice latte only to have it get diluted with water.

The good news is that there's a hack for preventing your drink from turning into weak sauce. Not only that, but it will also ensure that you get more of what you paid for, with less filler. The simple trick to stop overpaying for ice in your Starbucks drinks is to order them with less ice. While this may seem obvious, you might not have realized that customizing your drink with light ice was even an option.

Go easy on the ice for more latte in your cup

While there doesn't appear to be a Starbucks policy addressing this, in practice, most of the company's baristas will go ahead and fill your drink up to the top when you ask for less ice. It is important to note that certain Starbucks drinks are made to specific ingredient ratios, which may be thrown off when you ask for no or light ice. In those cases, you may receive the same amount of liquid in your cup as a regular order ... just minus the ice. For less complex drinks like iced teas and coffees, you can generally expect to have your drink topped off when you request less ice. 

To take advantage of this workaround, simply ask for "light ice" when placing your order. You can even customize your drink in this way when ordering from that Starbucks app or website. Simply go into the add-ins section, then choose light ice from the dropdown menu. This will not affect the price, but you will get more for what you're already paying.

Save even more by combining this light ice trick with ordering the next smaller size down. If you usually get a grande iced coffee with full ice (16 ounces), instead, order the smaller tall iced coffee (12 ounces) but with light ice — the amount of coffee in your cup will come out to almost the same as the grande you're used to, but will cost less.

Pay less for your iced drinks

There are even more ways to hack your order to help you get the most bang for your (Star)bucks. It's handy to know that at Starbucks, each drink size has its own ice scoop size as well. So, for example, a venti iced matcha tea latte gets made with a larger scoop. A grande order gets made with a medium scoop of ice, etc. To get super specific, you can ask the cashier to make your iced grande gingerbread oat milk chai with a tall (small) scoop — or go smaller and ask for a smoothie-sized scoop.

Iced tea drinkers have another advantage when ordering light ice. How? There's added water in Starbucks iced tea. It's brewed at double-strength and then diluted with water before serving. Ask for "no water," and you'll get a full-strength tea — then ask for light ice — you'll get more tea for the same price, with less ice in the cup to dilute your drink. 

The best way to avoid overpaying is to get your drinks for free. That's right ... you can get free Starbucks drink refills of iced and hot tea or coffee, regardless of what you initially ordered. To get this deal, you have to use the Starbucks app or linked card to order, and it only applies for as long as you remain in the store. Order your refills with light ice to maximize your freebies.