Does A 50-Cent Starbucks Drink Exist?

A strawberry Starbucks drink and a quarter with a green Starbucks background
A strawberry Starbucks drink and a quarter with a green Starbucks background - Static Media/Shutterstock

Sometimes you want something refreshing, and plain old ice water just won't cut it. You also might not feel like spending more than a dollar on it — which, in this economy, makes sense. This unique predicament supposedly has a convenient solution: Starbucks. There's a video circulating on TikTok that claims that, for 50 cents, you can order an iced water with a squirt of strawberry purée in it. The idea behind this is that you're only paying for the strawberry purée and getting the water for free, which puts one of the money-saving Starbucks tricks to use.

I put it to the test and visited the closest Starbucks location to me, which happened to be located inside of a Marriott hotel. I very nicely asked the barista if the rumors were true. Unsurprisingly, she had no clue what I was talking about, but I did get my strawberry iced water. It was good, but it wasn't 50 cents. My experience was somewhat unique, as the Starbucks location I ended up at was inside of a hotel. As the barista happily explained to me, Marriott locations like the one I went to charge 75 cents for a large cup of water.

They also informed me that other menu items also cost more there — something to consider if you're ordering one of the most expensive Starbucks drinks. After all of that, they couldn't decide exactly how to ring me up, so they just ended up giving it to me. But, from what I observed on the register, it would've cost me $1.50 otherwise. That's about a dollar off of what TikTok said I'd pay, but, never the less, the experience was informative.

Read more: 26 Coffee Hacks You Need To Know For A Better Cup

The Rumors Are Confirmed, Kind Of

Hand holding an iced water with strawberry from Starbucks in front of pink flowers
Hand holding an iced water with strawberry from Starbucks in front of pink flowers - Claire Redden/Tasting Table

After my first experience, I thought it'd be worth it to try ordering the same thing at a Starbucks that wasn't inside of a hotel — for research purposes, but also because I honestly wanted another one. This Starbucks did end up giving me a large iced water free of charge. While the cashier didn't flinch when I ordered the additional strawberry purée, they did end up charging me a dollar for it.

So, if a 50-cent Starbucks drink does exist out there, I didn't find it. It seems to depend on the location, and how whoever the cashier is that day decides to ring it up. While the second location charged me a dollar for the strawberry iced water, the first one would've charged me a bit more if they hadn't so kindly given it to me for free.

Starbucks prices can vary dramatically from location to location, and those inside of airports, resorts or hotels, and on college campuses will usually cost you more than any stand-alone location. However, there are regional influences, as well. Things like operating costs, staffing policies, transport, licensing agreements, and more can all impact the price, and they vary markedly from location to location. In the end, the 50-cent Starbucks drink remains a bit of a mystery. But we definitely confirmed that it's one of the drinks you should think twice about before ordering at Starbucks.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.