In 2016, Starbucks was sued by two people in California, Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles, who claimed the chain underfilled lattes by 25 percent in order to cut costs. The New York Daily News reported that the lawsuit stated, “By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payments for more product than it delivers.”
Strumlauf and Robles said the company had a “systematic conspiracy” to make sure the steamed milk never reached the correct full line. Starbucks released a statement to Eater saying they fully believed the lawsuit was “without merit. We are proud to serve our customers high-quality, handcrafted and customized beverages, and we inform customers of the likelihood of variations.”
In the end, CNBC reported that Starbucks had been granted dismissal of the lawsuit. A U.S. District Judge said there was a lack of evidence that the company was underfilling lattes, and rejected the idea that milk foam should not count towards the correct volume, saying that most customers expect foam to take up room and that it was necessary in order to make a latte.