Frontline workers get free Starbucks all December long

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the holiday season, Starbucks is offering up freebies to frontline responders and the health care community for the second time this year.

Now through the end of December, frontline responders can receive a free tall brewed coffee (hot or iced) at participating Starbucks locations. Those eligible include doctors, nurses, public health workers, pharmacists, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers and mental health workers. Dentists, dental hygienists and hospital staff such as janitors, housekeeping and security, plus active-duty military members are also included. Pilots, flight attendants, TSA workers, contact tracers and vaccine researchers are eligible as well.

To get the free coffee, customers should identify themselves as COVID-19 first responders when ordering at company-owned locations and select licensed stores in the U.S.

Along with the free coffee, Starbucks also donated $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to support virtual mental health resources for frontline responders and plans to give 50,000 frontline responders care packages and Starbucks gift cards this holiday season.

Starbucks is also adding to their menu. It announced the return of Irish Cream Cold Brew, which is back for its second holiday season.

Made with Starbucks Cold Brew coffee and Irish cream syrup over ice, it is then topped with frothy vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a dusting of cocoa powder. It is available at Starbucks stores nationwide for a limited time, while supplies last.


Along with the return of the Irish Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks holiday drinks are also back and include fan-favorites like the Caramel Brulee LatteToasted White Chocolate MochaChestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte.

The Peppermint Mocha is also back for its 18th year. Made with Starbucks signature espresso, steamed milk, sweet mocha sauce and peppermint-flavored syrup, the peppermint mocha is also topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls.


While Starbucks’ drive-thru remained open during the pandemic, some stores are now also offering in-store pickup, though there will be a limited number of customers inside at one time. You can also expect to see floor markers and signage to promote social distancing.

Are you a frontline responder or know one who could use some free coffee for the rest of the year?

Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a background in newspaper and broadcasting. She has a degree in journalism and psychology, enjoys writing, editing, music and movies/TV. When she's not writing, you can usually find her on her yoga mat, whipping up a new vegetarian dish or at a wine tasting with friends. You can email her at or find her on Facebook at

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