Cold beverages are hotter than ever.
Summer is here and temperatures are rising. It’s the perfect excuse to go to Starbucks and enjoy a nice cold brew or perhaps indulge in an iced latte. However, if your order looks or feels slightly different these days, there’s a good reason for this. Starbucks is slowly transitioning to pebble ice from the ice cubes currently used.
Pebble ice—sometimes called “nugget ice” or "Sonic ice" since it is available at Sonic locations—is shaped like a cylinder. It’s also the biggest trend in ice right now. Usually reserved for fancy cocktails because it cools down drinks quickly, pebble ice and countertop pebble ice machines are becoming very popular. Many people prefer this type of ice because it doesn’t melt as quickly as crushed ice does, so your drinks don’t get watered down as fast. Ice chewers are also known to love pebble ice because it is easier to chomp away on.
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest news from Starbucks.
You Might Have Had Pebble Ice at Starbucks Before
If you think you’ve had a drink made with pebble ice at Starbucks before, you likely aren’t wrong. This changeover came as the result of a very successful test run. “Customers who have tried the nugget ice in our hand-crafted iced beverages during testing had a resoundingly positive response," a Starbucks spokesperson 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.“
Iced Drinks Are Hot at Starbucks
There’s a good reason why Starbucks is focusing on its iced offerings right now. In August 2022, Starbucks founder and then-CEO Howard Schultz revealed 75 percent of the sales in the third quarter of that year came from cold drinks. So this change is a smart way to ramp up sales.
But It Might Not Be at Your Local Starbucks Any Time Soon
Sorry ice aficionados, but you might need to wait a while to try this new ice. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the rollout process for the new machines will take a few years.
The company plans to install the first pebble ice makers at locations that sell a high volume of colder drinks. So, if you live in a warmer climate, you’re likely in luck. Your local Starbucks could be at the head of the line for this wonderful way to cool down your favorite drink.
Does Pebble Ice Melt More Quickly?
Every major change always sees its fair share of critics and that certainly applies to this Starbucks announcement. Some Reddit users have expressed their concern about this new ice—worrying it will melt quickly and water down their beverages. After all, you want to get what you pay for. But the company is telling customers not to fret because baristas will still be using the same scoop they used for cubed ice, and the volume of ice in each beverage will be the same amount it has always been. However, because pebble ice has more surface area than cubed ice, some do say the new ice will melt more quickly than the classic cubed variety.
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