Woman suing Starbucks for allegedly serving drink with cleaning solution

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She could tell the difference?


No need for a colonoscopy, just get some colon blow StarBucks!


Since my daughter was born, we’ve switched to mostly cleaning with lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and murphy’s oil soap. I know my apartment is no high-traffic public place, but it just seems bizarre how common it is to have totally fucking caustic solutions hanging around everywhere.


Any familiar with this grinder cleaner? http://www.urnexbrand.com/products/grindz.aspx Or what do you use to clean the grinder.

I hope she wins. Cleaning those is a closing task, If the person set the urnex in the basket, it’s a powder you sprinkle in the basket, and didn’t actually run the cycle (ie: it’s 855 so leave that coffee in the urn in case someone comes in, but set the cleaner in the basket & just press button to rinse urnex thru at 901) it’s definitely possible that the morning crew would brew a pot of urnex! And that’s to say nothing about being served from an urn that was not properly RINSED of urnex. Also what about when they sprinkle the urnex into the urn directly, rather than the basket? Same thing happens with the espresso machines. If the morning crew comes in to find the machine still loaded with tablets , they run it through and then start making drinks! Yum. Urnex smells like straight up poison & I remember it’s smell more than rotten milk as the worst smell working there :confused: I can’t imagine swallowing it because it smells like it would just hurt a lot.

Edit: to the guy above they only want you cleaning the grinder with brushes. they teach you how to break it down as a coffee master. I think the runs probably only need brushes too imo


whole oats or rice, and a brush.

I’m no coffee snob but I think I could tell the difference between a caustic cup of urnex vs. a caustic cup of coffee at the first sip.

Or did she just pop the top off and throw it down her gullet?


I worked at a theatre at 17, and we used popcorn cups or child’s cups to hold the cleaning chemicals while closing and cleaning up the concession area.

It sucks, and I hope she receives compensation. While we always disposed of it properly (I hope), I can totally see how this could happen.


Ex Green-apron here.

The urnex solution is a powder that comes in a packet. Toss it into a coffee urn, run a round of hot water into the urn, let sit 5 minutes, scrub/wipe it down, drain, and rinse thoroughly. We do it once every 24 hours per urn.

Once you add the water to the powder, it makes an unholy-smelling blue concoction that will happily bleach your clothing. There’'s no way you would drink it, look at it, or serve it without immediately recognizing it as not-coffee.

The only way I can think of in which this occurred accidentally would be if the powder was put into an urn, but the worker got interrupted before finishing the cleaning, and then coffee was brewed on top of the powder. I can’t imagine what that would have smelt like, and it would probably been frothy as heck, but if you take it black and in a drive-thru where we put the lid on for you, I can see how someone might chug down a mouthful before realizing.

All that being said, my coworkers used to do the scrubbing portion without using gloves. Their skin got a little dry, but it’s not like their arms dissolved to the shoulder. Did she think the powder was creamer or something?


Speaking only of my own experience, my esophagus is slightly more tender than my forearm.

Did she think the powder was creamer or something?

Truly, how might this have been the victims fault? Important question.


As I understand it, suits for damages are assessed by shared responsibility.If I slip somewhere on a city sidewalk I have to prove that the conditions were unsafe to walk there and that the city was negligent. If Im out in a blizzard or an ice storm, the city cannot be held responsible for my lack of judgement.

In the above stated case, drinking foul-smelling fluids provided in a cup by a coffee vendor is a difficult one to judge. As I understand from drinking Starbucks daily, the coffee is provided to me without a lid, allowing me time to look in the drink, put in cream and sugar and drink it.

Not doing at least a cursory inspection of the coffer is not part of my ritual, so I find it odd that someone should do such a thing, and then ignore sensory input on such a scale as to ingest poison enough to do what seems to some permanent damage.

I wish her the best, but she’s going to be asked some tough questions along the way.


MmmMmMmmmmmm Urnex…

I’ve got a nifty little book called Clean that has recipes for cleaning everything in your house using various combinations of baking soda, lemon juice, salt, vinegar, and borax. You might want to leave out the borax, of course, but you might find the rest useful.


Borax is awesome stuff! Best cleaner for tub/shower that I’ve ever found. I use baking soda+vinegar to clean slow running drains and the absolute best cleaner for porcelain is Bar Keeper’s Friend.


[quote=“fredtal, post:6, topic:62825, full:true”]
Any familiar with this grinder cleaner?[/quote]

I used various concoctions of rice and rice+oats/wheat to clean my burr grinders for 20 years, but Grindz works so much better (cleans better, less residue) that I completely switched over several years ago, despite the cost. When it first came out I thought it was a solution in search of a problem, but no longer.

Back to the main story, for those who advocate noncaustic cleaning products, it doesn’t make sense in a commercial coffee shop. Coffee oils are tenacious (especially on espresso machines), and will build up quickly in a high-volume commercial establishment like a Starbucks. I’ve soaked portafilters for hours in various combinations of washing-up liquid, lemon oil, vinegar, etc., and none could remove the oils which commercial products can take care of in seconds.

I wish there was more information as to how this happened (assuming it really did); I don’t understand the logistics of how a customer ends up with “a serving of Urnex”.


The poor lady probably was not informed beforehand she was not required to entirely ingest the contents of any receptacle with the starbucks logo on it, regardless of their nature. Expect to see an informative small print on all cups in the near future.


Oh Gawd, another woman suing because she wasn’t smart enough to know that her coffee was going to be scalding filled with poison.

Now all coffee cups will be legally required to put “may be filled with caustic cleaning solution” on them, just because of some dumb consumer. Sheesh, who needs, it, any coffee drinker would know that it may be filled with caustic cleaning solution.

(Edit: though my comment may seem seem similar to the one above me, now that I read it, mine is actually not blaming the victim, but making fun of those who do.)


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