It may be better to give than receive, but I will happily receive this latest gift to the coffee-loving masses: Starbucks is giving away free espresso drinks in select cities for a limited time. Dec. 23 marks the beginning of Starbucks’ “10 Days of Cheer” event; for the 10 days following (excluding Christmas Day), select Starbucks locations will be hosting “Pop Up Cheer Parties” treating customers to free 12-ounce Tall handcrafted espresso beverages. Chestnut Praline Latte fan? You can get one for free. Flat White lover? That, too. Just a regular Mocha? All yours (one per customer, of course). Starbucks is arguably best known for its espresso drinks, so the idea of getting ‘em for free? Well, let’s just say that I’m tickled by the thought.
There are some caveats, though. First, these Pop Up Cheer Parties will only be happening at some locations in select cities; that means you can’t just go to any old Starbucks and expect to get a free drink. Second, once you’ve found a participating location, you’ve got to stop by at the right time — between 1 and 2 p.m. local time. And lastly, the fun only lasts for 10 days starting on Dec. 23, so come early January, get ready to say goodbye.
So how exactly does one find where the Pop Up Cheer Parties are happening? Easy: Consult the internet. The locations will change every day, so check the 10 Days of Cheer website regularly to see where they’ll be happening in each city on that particular day. We know that 100 stores will be hosting the cheer parties each day, so hopefully they’ll be able to reach a fairly large swathe of regional areas.
This isn’t Starbucks’ first “free drinks at the holidays” rodeo; for the past several years, the coffee giant’s holiday drinks in particular have gone BOGO (“buy one, get one”) for a few days to kick off the holiday season. At these events, buying one seasonal drink bestowed upon its purchaser a second drink of equal or lesser value. Similarly to the Pop Up Cheer Parties, you had stop by during specific hours and on select days to take advantage of the deals; however, there are a few differences between the Pop Up Cheer Parties and the BOGO deal: The BOGO deal typically lasted for a shorter amount of time (usually only four or five days in November, as opposed to 10 in December), although the daily time slot was a little longer (2 to 5 p.m., instead of just one hour around lunchtime). Additionally, they were nationwide campaigns, rather than localized ones with an element of surprise.
But I mean, hey. Free Starbucks is free Starbucks, and these days, I live in a big enough city that I’m hopefully I’ll be able to attend a Cheer Party. Oh, and you can also celebrate 10 Days of Cheer by stopping by your favorite participating Starbucks and getting a Cheer Card, which will bestow upon you a special offer. These offers might include things like getting 50 percent off a Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew or Holiday Spice Flat White, 50 percent off any lunch item, or a free holiday cookie with the purchase of a handcrafted beverage.
Did I mention that Starbucks has “Ugly Sweater Cookies” this year? Because they do. Heck. And yes.
Happy 10 Days of Cheer — and happy holidays, too!