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Starbucks Tells Japanese Customers It Began Serving Less Coffee

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd., an affiliate of the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, said it began telling Japanese customers it reduced the amount of coffee it pours into each cup.

In response to customer inquiries, Starbucks Japan posted a notice at its 965 stores today explaining that it reduced the amount in drip coffee by 9 millimeters (0.35 inch), Norio Adachi, a Tokyo-based spokesman, said by phone today. The move is intended to help customers avoid spilling drinks and give them room to add milk, the company said in the note.

“It was designed for customer service, not to cut costs,” Adachi said. “We needed to clarify the policy in an announcement.”

In the notice, Tokyo-based Starbucks Japan said that on Dec. 5 it changed its guidelines for pouring drip coffee to 15 millimeters below the rim, down from 6 millimeters previously. Starbucks’s staff will fill cups higher upon request, it said. Bloomberg News reported the policy yesterday.

A small cup of drip coffee costs 300 yen ($3.60) at outlets in Japan, more than double the $1.70 after tax in Seattle, where Starbucks Corp. is based.

To contact the reporters on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net; Yuki Yamaguchi in Tokyo at yyamaguchi10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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