How Often Do You Tip Your Starbucks Barista?

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Starting March 19th, customers have been able to leave tips directly through the Starbucks app on their iPhone.

Think of it as a digital tip jar. Customers are given the option to leave a tip of $.50, $1, or $2, according to the Starbucks Newsroom.

But is tipping your barista even necessary?

‘A digital tip, just like the tip jar, should be optional,’ says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.

Gottsman admits tipping a dollar or two for a cup of coffee is steep. However, she says it may be worth it for loyal customers who have developed a relationship with the employees at Starbucks.

‘If the employee smiles and calls you by name, knows your favorite coffee drink and has directed the barista to get it started by the time you get to the front of the line, a tip would be a considerate way to show appreciation,’ says Gottsman.

With more people taking advantage of the mobile payment option, Starbucks says customers suggested digital tipping on

Gottsman says while some customers will not embrace the new feature, it will solve a problem for others.

‘Most people really do want to show gratitude for exceptional service, but even the most successful execs often don’t carry enough cash to pay for a meter or the valet – much less tip the barista,’ says Gottsman.

For now, digital tipping will only work on the Starbucks app for iPhone. It’ll be available for Android later this year.


Freelance journalist Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.

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