Is Starbucks shortchanging customers? Two people suing the company believe so

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By: Joe Kuharic
jkuharic@flavor574.com

hirotomo t/Flickr

Don’t quite feel the buzz from your latte from Starbucks?

Two Californians believe it’s because the coffee company has been underfilling their cups.

According to the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, Siera Strumlauf of San Francisco and Benjamin Robles of Carlsbad, Calif., filed a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday in California federal court.

The pair note in their lawsuit that Starbucks standardized its latte recipes in 2009, which required baristas to use new pitchers when preparing lattes.

“To create a Latte, the standardized recipe requires Starbucks baristas to fill a pitcher with steamed milk up to an etched ‘fill to’ line that corresponds to the size of the customer’s order, pour shots of espresso into a separate serving cup, pour the steamed milk from the pitcher into the serving cup, and top with 1/4 inch of milk foam, leaving 1/4 inch of free space in the cup. However, Starbucks’ standardized recipes for Lattes result in beverages that are plainly underfilled,” the document claims.

They claim the serving cups are too small to accommodate the fluid ounces listed on the company’s menu.

“By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payment for more product than it delivers,” the document states.

The pair believe this leads to lattes that are poured at 25 percent less than what the menu claims, and that Starbucks knowingly served customers less than the advertised amount of the beverage thereby committing fraud.

If the class-action status for the lawsuit is approved, it would be open to anyone in the U.S. who purchased a latte from Starbucks.

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