SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A lawsuit filed against Starbucks claims the company routinely underfills its lattes in order to save money on milk.

The class action suit was filed by two California residents, one from San Francisco and the other from San Diego County.

The lawsuit claims that Starbucks “cheats purchasers by providing less fluid ounces in their Lattes than represented” and uniformly underfills them by approximately 25%.


In addition, the suit alleges the serving cups used for the Tall, Grande and Vente sizes are too small to accommodate the fluid ounces listed on the Starbucks menu.

From the complaint:

For example, the serving cup used for Grande beverages holds exactly 16 fluid ounces, when completely full. However, Starbucks’ standardized recipe for its Grande Latte calls to fill the serving cup up to “1/4 inch below cup rim.” Thus, when used in conjunction with its standardized recipes, Starbucks’ serving cups do not permit 12 ounce, 16 ounce, and 20 ounce Lattes.

The lawsuit Starbucks is underfilling its lattes to save on the cost of milk in 2009, saying milk is one of the company’s most expensive ingredients.

The plaintiffs are seeking a nationwide class-action status.

In an email, a Starbucks spokesperson told CBS San Francisco: “We are aware of the plaintiffs’ claims, which we fully believe to be without merit. We are proud to serve our customers high-quality, handcrafted and customized beverages. Hand-prepared beverages increase the likelihood of variations, as disclosed in the nutritional section of our website. Customers often tell us how they want their beverage prepared (e.g. with room, extra foam), therefore beverage volumes are largely collaborative. If a customer is unhappy with their beverage preparation then we are happy to remake it to their satisfaction.”

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