Does Starbucks Still Offer Drink Samples? What You Should Know

Ever seen a drink sample at Starbucks? Or is this the first you've heard of it? If so, it'd make sense. As it turns out, whether or not your Starbucks gives them out depends on a few variables: The store location, the drinks being handed out, and the barista on duty. Store employees have reported managers instructing them to offer drink samples inside their respective stores as a way to promote new menu items or increase customer connection scores — an internal Starbucks rating system determined by customer experience surveys.

On the other hand, if it's not required, samples are more likely to be handed out at less frequented locations that aren't connected to other businesses. Otherwise, it's really only done when the baristas have the downtime — which we all can understand is rare. Lucky customers have come across samples of green tea lattes, strawberry matcha sensations, strawberry oat milk, and java mint frappuccinos at their local stores. Starbucks baristas enjoy making them when they have the time and usually offer items that might not be as popular.

Still, while some baristas like doing it, that doesn't mean you can ask to sample whatever you want whenever you want it. While it's a good way to try new things without spending more than you already do, samples at Starbucks are more of a take what you can get when you can get it situation.

Employees enjoy making samples, to an extent

A Starbucks employee shared on Reddit that while they rarely have the time, giving out samples is fun. "It feels like you get to actually be a barista for this small moment. And there's nothing I love more than handing out Starbucks stuff for free!" they commented. Others agreed, with one Starbucks employee adding, "I feel like I enjoy doing it, because it's one of the reasons I decided to work for Starbucks! I genuinely enjoy connecting with customers and being able to do things to brighten their day/give them new things to try!"

That being said, samples are up to the discretion of the barista — in most cases, it's something they offer because they want to do it and not because they have to. They're something to appreciate, but not expect. While most baristas are happy to offer samples of things like drip coffee, cold brew, or milk alternatives (all of which can be easily poured into a cup), it doesn't make sense to ask them to disrupt the flow of other orders to make you some secret menu drink, not to mention the waste it would create.

So, consider yourself lucky if you come across free samples at your local Starbucks — and be sure to thank your baristas when you see them. If anything, it will make them happy knowing that they made you happy, and it might just incentivize them to do it more often.