Does Starbucks Support the Military? The Truth Behind Starbucks Relationship with the Armed Forces

When I heard on Facebook that Starbucks, one of my favorite coffee shops, had come out saying that they did not support our troops, I was pretty upset. Especially since my brother is currently serving as a United States Marine. But did Starbucks actually say this? Or is it just a rumor created by the internet?


A false and later retracted and corrected email by a Marine Sergeant in 2004 started the rumor that Starbucks doesn't not support the U.S. military or troops, despite the fact that Starbucks has donated more than 4 million cups of coffee to deployed military units, actively hired over 26,000 military veterans, and donated more than a million dollars in grants to support veteran causes.


If you want to understand Starbucks views on the military, and get the truth about whether or not they support the military, this article is for you. We'll talk about the rumor of Starbucks not supporting the military, where it came from, and the facts about how Starbucks does or doesn’t help our troops.


Does Starbucks Support the Military?

Back in 2004, an email was sent out by a Marine Sergeant claiming that he had heard about some Marines in Iraq that requested that Starbucks send them coffee, and that Starbucks had replied that they do not support the war nor anyone in it, and would not send them any Starbucks coffee. In the email, the Marine Sergeant called for a boycott of Starbucks products and asked that anyone who felt a strong support for the troops would forward it to others.


Here is the original email if you’re interested:



The email circulated quickly as it was forward passionately by military personnel, veterans, and civilian supporters who were upset at Starbucks for not supporting the troops fighting for their freedom.


The uproar and great amount of anger towards Starbucks would have made sense if they had actually said that they don’t support our soldiers, but it turns out that the email was completely untrue.


Starbucks had never said they don’t support the troop. It was just a rumor that had been created by word of mouth. Apparently the only reason Starbucks didn’t send the coffee to the soldiers was because their donation policy only allows them to send coffee to officially designated public charities, and not directly to the U.S. military or military personnel.


Of course after Starbucks heard about the email they asked the Marine Sergeant to send out another email correcting his mistake.


Here is the correction letter:




Unfortunately, even though this letter renounced everything written in the original email, the rumor that was started 5 months before had spread quickly. And today, 17 years later, is still being circulated. Despite the fact that Starbucks has public company policy stating their support for our troops, donates hundreds of thousands of pounds of coffee to soldiers all over the world every year, has over 68 military family stores, more than 26,000 veteran employees, and has donated more than a million dollars to support veteran causes such as Headstrong and Team Red White and Blue.


Still not convinced of Starbucks military support? here's some specific examples:

  • In 2019 Starbucks donated $750,000 in grants to support veterans causes

  • On veterans day 2020 they gave a free cup of coffee to veterans, active duty military and their spouses

  • On veterans day 2020 they donated 25 cents to veterans causes for every cup of coffee sold

  • They have donated more than 4 million cups of coffee to deployed military units around the world

  • They have established more than 200 relationships with military bases in the U.S. and overseas

  • They have attended more than 500 military hiring fairs


Joshua Evans, who used to be a chemical operations specialist in the army and is now a Starbucks store manager in Baltimore, thinks pretty highly of how Starbucks treats veterans, saying that,


“Starbucks has gotten it right because they give us a place and they welcome us, It’s given that sense of community back.”


As for the future, Starbucks has plans for 70 more military family stores (coffee shops near military bases where most of the staff and customers are military families) to be opened by 2022. And they have committed to hire 5,000 more military veterans and their spouses every year going forward to assist them in their transition out of service.


As you can see, the original email claiming Starbucks is anti military and anti soldier (which was later retracted and corrected) doesn’t make any sense in light of how much Starbucks is actively doing to help out active duty military and veterans through their donations and hirings.


Does Starbucks offer a Military Discount?

Despite all their donations to and hirings of military veterans and active duty personnel, Starbucks does not offer a military discount.


They do usually give away a free cup of coffee or tea to military members, veterans, and their spouses on veterans day, so keep an eye out for that.