What Water Filtration System Does Starbucks Use in 2023?

If you have ever tasted Starbucks water, then you will agree that it tastes great. In fact, there are lots of people who love going to Starbucks, not just for their coffee, but for their water. The secret behind their water tasting so good is in their process of water filtration.

What water filtration does Starbucks use? Starbucks uses a triple-filtered reverse osmosis system (3-stage RO). The 3-stage RO purifies water way better than the sediment and carbon systems (2-stage) which are typically used in other establishments and homes. That explains why their water tastes so darn good.

Read on to learn more about triple-filtered reverse osmosis and why it makes water (and coffee) taste better!

What is a triple-filtered reverse osmosis (3-stage RO) system?

There are lots of reverse osmosis systems, but what makes the 3-stage RO unique is its membrane. The membrane is made from a thin film composite (TFC) material. Because the TFC is semi-permeable, it can easily get degraded by chlorine and so it is a good idea to filter out chlorine before it gets to this membrane.

A carbon filter is therefore used to filter out chlorine to avoid membrane degradation. But again, the carbon filter also needs protection, which is achieved through a sediment pre-filter. These are the components that make up our triple water filtration system.

Starbucks says it uses triple-filtered water in their coffee

So, in summary, here are the stages of the 3-stage RO system;

  • Stage one: this is the pre-filtration stage. A sediment filter removes any suspended matter like silt, rust, dirt, etc., from the water. This stage of water filtration not only improves the appearance and taste of water but also helps to safeguard the carbon filter from degradation.
  • Stage two: the second stage of the 3-stage RO system is meant to filter chlorine and other chemicals from the water. A carbon filter that has activated carbon is used for this. The carbon filter removes chloramines and chlorine and conditions the water for the next and final stage of the filtration process.
  • Stage three: This is the stage where organic and inorganic compounds are eliminated from the water. A reverse osmosis membrane is used for this, and it is very effective in removing fluoride, heavy metals (including lead, plastic cysts, copper, aluminum, etc.), or even nuclear waste. This third stage reduces the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in water to an impressive 1/10,000 (0.0001) of a micron. To put that into perspective, normal tap water has a TDS of 100-200 mg/l.

Is Starbucks water free?

Yes, Starbucks’ water is free.

Since they use filtered water to make their coffee, their water is probably safer than the bottled water you might buy elsewhere. So, the next time you grab a coffee at Starbucks, remember to ask for an ice water. Not only is the water safer than your tap or even bottled water (thanks to the 3-stage filtration system they use) but it won’t cost you a dime!

I always make this a habit – the only thing better than one drink is two!

However, Starbucks’ water is usually not larger than a grande-sized cup.

Some outlets have made this a policy, maybe because they realized how much people love their water that some make the habit of visiting Starbucks just for the free water. So if you need enough water, make sure to buy a coffee and remember to ask nicely

Does Starbucks water have fluoride?

Starbucks water doesn’t have fluoride or any other contaminants, for that matter. That’s because they filter their water using a triple-filtered reverse osmosis system. This filtration system effectively eliminates all manner of debris and contaminants in water. So, you do not have to worry about taking a glass of water at Starbucks.

How to get Starbucks water at home?

Once you taste Starbucks water, it is hard to ever enjoy your ordinary tap water again. While the EPA does a tremendous job of ensuring tap water is safe for human consumption, Starbucks is miles ahead in purifying drinking water.

The good news is you can get your home water to taste just as good as Starbucks’ water. All you need is to install a three-stage filtration system. That is how Starbucks turns ordinary tap water into that delicious water you can’t have enough of.

Here is a link (affiliate link) to an inexpensive 3-stage filtration system (under the sink system) that you can use to make your water taste as good as Starbucks’ water. This system is perfect for homes because it has an extended service life of 24 months so you won’t have to worry about unexpected maintenance costs.

Recommended 3-stage filtration system

Our recommended 3-stage filtration system is the APEC Water Systems Ultimate RO which can be simply installed under your kitchen counter to provide fast, easy, and inexpensive triple-filtered water!

The three-stage filtration system makes water taste better and purifies the water by removing the disease-causing contaminants that are now causing lots of waterborne diseases.

If you prefer to have a few options, here are my favorite 3 or 5-stage RO systems that are all affordable, easy to install, and work great!

How to make coffee that tastes as good as Starbucks’ at home?

It makes perfect sense that Starbucks coffee tastes better than your homemade coffee because of its water filtration method.

So if you use a similar filtration system to Starbucks at home, you might reduce or even eliminate your trips to Starbucks. Obviously, Starbucks has the benefit of highly experienced baristas and you might not be equipped with the skills they have, but purified water will take your coffee to a whole new level.


Now that the cat is out of the bag, you can install a similar system in your house and you will soon start enjoying Starbucks – quality water in the comfort of your home.

I mean, why take a trip to Starbucks when you can get the same water quality at home, right? Oh, and your coffee will start tasting better too! Get your under-the-sink 3-stage filtration system and start enjoying great-tasting water.

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