Why Is Starbucks Water So Good?

Starbucks Coffee Logo In Front Of The Shop

Coffee is a morning staple, but water is the first thing you may drink at Starbucks after a hectic day at work, and you may wonder why it tastes so good.


Starbucks uses a triple-filtered reverse osmosis system (3-RO) to make the water taste good.

The triple-layer filter removes all sorts of chemicals, suspended material, and sediments from the water in three stages:

  • Pre-Filtration Stage
  • Chlorine and Chemical Removal
  • Organic/Inorganic Compound Filtration

The water at Starbucks not only tastes heavenly but also has some health benefits.

Siping cool, pure water is just as refreshing as enjoying a beverage. Therefore, knowing why Starbucks water tastes so good is interesting, and we have a detailed answer.

Why Is Starbucks Water So Good?

Close Up Starbuck Hot Coffee Cup With Blur Starbuck Background

Starbucks is known for its beverages, but plain water is another reason people flock to its stores.

The company uses a triple-filtered reverse osmosis system (3-RO) which is why even simple tap water tastes so good at Starbucks.

The 3-RO filters have a thin layer of composite material that removes impurities such as organic and inorganic compounds.

But before the membrane, it also has activated carbon and sediment filters. As a result, the water is purer and perfect for drinking or making coffee.

The filtration system also kills harmful bacteria in the tap water, making it safe and odorless while maintaining a great taste.

Therefore, a part of why every drink is so great at Starbucks is that they use triple-filtered water.


Starbucks has been using the triple-filtered reverse osmosis system for purifying water since 1999.

The triple-filtered reverse osmosis system differs from usual household filters due to its thin film composite (TFC) membrane.

However, this membrane is semi-permeable, and the chlorine present in water can quickly degrade it.

So, before the water gets to the TFC membrane, there is another layer of carbon filter to remove chlorine. But, the carbon filter also needs protection to work efficiently; this is where the sediment filter comes in.

The sediment filter protects the carbon filter and removes dissolved minerals and salts from the water.

Each filter is more sensitive than the prior one, and all three are used in synergy to purify the water that has got you going to Starbucks every so often.

3-Stages of Reverse Osmosis Filtration at Starbucks

As we know, Starbucks uses reverse osmosis to filter the water, so let’s explore the three stages that give their ordinary tap water a heavenly taste:

1. Pre-Filtration Stage

Water Filter Cartridge Used And A Glass Of Dirty Water And New Pure Filter With A Glass Of Clean Water

In the pre-filtration stage, a sediment filter removes any floating particles in water, like dust, silt, or rust.

The color and taste of water improve considerably after passing through the first layer of the 3-RO system. Apart from removing the suspended material, it also protects the carbon filter.

2. Chlorine and Chemical Removal

Lab Assistant Testing Water Quality

In the second stage, the activated carbon filter removes chlorine and other chemicals, such as chloramines, from the water and conditions it to enter the next filtration step.


Tap water sometimes smells like rotten eggs because of dissolved hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. The carbon filter in a 3-RO system removes the smell and makes the water odorless.

3. Organic/Inorganic Compound Filtration

Serviceman Operating Industrial Water Purification Or Filtration Equipment

In the final stage, reverse osmosis takes place to remove the organic and inorganic compounds from water to achieve the highest level of purification.

The TCF (Thin Film Composite) membrane efficiently eliminates heavy metals like aluminum, copper, lead, plastic cysts, fluoride, and even nuclear waste in the water.

It also diminishes organic materials in water like bacteria, algae, fungi, or trace amounts of pesticides, herbicides, disinfectants, etc.


The 3-RO system can filter out 99% of lead, arsenic, asbestos, and other contaminants from water.

Usually, tap water has around 100 to 200 mg/l of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in it. By removing the impurities, the reverse osmosis stage reduces the TDS in water to a negligible number of 0.0001 or 1/10000 of a micron.

Starbucks Water pH

Woman Holding Bottle Of Water Being Sold At Starbucks

If you’re a fan of Starbucks water, you might be wondering about its pH and whether it is alkaline.

The pH of Starbucks water is 8.1, which is slightly alkaline and said to have some health benefits. Although the pH is barely above the neutral point (7.0), the slight difference can make the water taste better.


Instead of going to your nearest Starbucks store to get alkaline water, you can make it at home by adding some lemon juice to the tap water.

However, the water’s purification level may differ from what you get at the coffee shop.


In conclusion, we’ve discussed why Starbucks water is so good and how the triple-filtered reverse osmosis system is the reason behind it.

We’ve also explored the pH of Starbucks water and whether you can get it free of cost.

Hopefully, you can now drink water to your heart’s fill at your favorite coffee shop and might consider installing the same filtration system at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Starbucks Water Have Fluoride?

No, Starbucks water doesn’t have any fluoride because the membrane in the reverse osmosis system eliminates it.

So there is no risk of developing tooth decay like dental fluorosis by drinking such water.

How To Get Starbucks Water at Home?

Although Starbucks sells bottled water, other options for constant use at home are more feasible.

As the best alternative, you can install the same triple-layer reverse osmosis filter at your place to get the same taste and water quality.

What Water Brand Does Starbucks Use?

Starbucks has an in-house reverse osmosis filtration system at every store and also keeps a strict check on the tap water quality. That’s why they don’t use any specific brand of water.

The only exception is that some stores use Ethos bottled water by Starbucks if the tap water quality fails to match the company standards.

Can You Get Free Water at Starbucks?

Yes, the water at Starbucks is free, and the reverse osmosis filtration system makes it better in taste and safety than bottled water.

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