Former Starbucks Barista Roasts Company in Open Letter for Vegan Milk Surcharge

Published by Guest Blogger.

The following is an open letter to Starbucks’ CEO from Akaysha Greer, a former Starbucks barista.


Dear Mr. Johnson,

I’m extremely grateful for the years that I spent as a Starbucks partner. Winning the 2018 Starbucks Barista Championship for the Western Mountain Region was one of my proudest moments. As your company continues to work hard to protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m writing to ask that you also help protect public health along with animals and the environment by ending the upcharge for dairy-free milk.

I chose to work for Starbucks because I had heard that it’s a forward-thinking company—and, in large part, that’s true. However, there’s nothing progressive or eco-friendly about the dairy industry.

Female cows trapped on dairy farms are repeatedly artificially inseminated and forced to bear calves who are torn away from them almost immediately so that humans can take the mothers’ milk. Cows often wail for their calves for days or even weeks.

Cows watch as a worker takes a calf away on dairy farm© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Male calves are typically slaughtered for veal, and females are sentenced to the same miserable fate as their mothers. When their bodies wear out—usually in just four or five years—they are killed.

I read that in an environmental assessment, Starbucks concluded that dairy is its biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, you said, “Alternative milks will be a big part of the solution.” So why not start making nondairy milks more accessible right now by ending the upcharge for customers during these financially turbulent times?

Protests Erupt Over Starbucks' Vegan Milk Surcharge

I’d be happy to talk about it more with you over one of my competition-winning Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Lattes—from 6 feet away, of course.


Akaysha Greer


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind