Almond milk latte - inside the SODO 8 starbucksStarting September 6, 2016, almond milk will be available in more than 4,600 Starbucks stores as a non-dairy alternative. Almond milk joins the lineup of a number of milk options inside stores, including in soy milk and coconut milk. Of course, you can still order your beverages with whole milk, nonfat milk, and 2% milk. Also you can order a beverage with “Breve” milk, which means half and half (half milk and half cream) is used as your milk option.

Almond milk will initially be available in company-operated and licensed stores in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, New York, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, kicking off a nationwide rollout that will be complete by the end of September. It will be available for use in Starbucks handcrafted beverages including hot or iced drinks and Frappuccino® blended beverages.

We created our own almond milk recipe to complement our hot, iced and Frappuccino® blended beverages,” said Yoke Wong, manager on Starbucks beverage R&D team. “It was designed so that when steamed, it creates a rich foam for hot beverages and is delicious and creamy when served in cold beverages.”

Starbucks introduced its first non-dairy milk alternative in 2004 with the launch of soy milk, followed by coconut milk in February 2015. This summer Starbucks introduced the Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato this summer, the first signature beverage recipe to use coconut milk.

I remember when I was first a Starbucks customer, the only milk option was whole milk. That was it. You could only have whole milk for your beverage. In 2007, Starbucks moved from the default milk being whole milk to the default milk being 2%. All these changes are about responding to customer requests. Long before there was the website (which launched in March 2008), Starbucks was known to listen to customer feedback and respond accordingly. Starbucks is definitely a company that changes and responds to customer requests!

Iced Almond Milk Latte Macchiato - 1The image shown here is an official Starbucks media image of an almond milk Latte Macchiato. The new almond milk will be one of a kind. We will have to wait and see how customers like it! (I will be trying it early at the Starbucks headquarters. I’ll keep you posted.)

Your default milk at Starbucks is still 2% milk. Any of the following milk options is a 60 cent charge:

  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Breve
  • Heavy cream

So weigh in!

What do you think of almond milk coming to Starbucks stores?

As to the issue of nut allergens inside Starbucks stores, here’s what I heard from an official Starbucks spokesperson:

“When we launch almond milk in September, we will use the opportunity to remind customers through in-store signage, the allergen disclaimer on our menu boards and we will display a temporary statement at the point of sale during launch.

Adding almond milk to our menu doesn’t change our message to our customers which is as follows: We openly handle several allergens throughout our store, including dairy, soy, tree nuts, eggs, wheat and other allergens. While we take precautions to keep ingredients separate, we cannot guarantee that any of our beverages and foods are allergen free as we use shared equipment to store, prepare and serve them.

Because allergic reactions are an individual’s response to a food allergy, only our customers know what choice is best for them. We want to provide our customers with the information they need so that they can make an informed choice.

We include allergen information on our menu boards. We also take efforts to minimize cross contact, such as using separate labeled steaming pitchers for our milk types.  However, we cannot guarantee that any of our beverages and foods are allergen free as we use shared equipment to store, prepare and serve them.

We encourage customers to review ingredient information and make informed decisions based on their specific circumstances.  Ingredient information for most of the food and beverages offered at Starbucks is available in the United States online at  Ingredient information for packaged foods is also available on the package labels.”