‘Toilet Water’ Coffee Used by Hong Kong Starbucks

By: Sean Patterson - May 30, 2013

An investigative report has angered Hong Kong coffee drinkers this week after it was revealed that a local Starbucks was using water from a bathroom spout to brew its coffee.

According to an HK Magazine translation of an Apple Daily report, the Starbucks located in the Bank of China Tower was using “toilet water” from a spout just feet away from a bathroom urinal. Employees allegedly wheeled a cart behind the coffee house to the bathroom dozens of times each day, filling the cart with the bathroom water. The water was then filtered and then used to prepare Starbucks drinks.

A spokesperson for Starbucks in Hong Kong told HK Magazine that the particular Starbucks location used the bathroom water because it was the closest source of water. The spokesperson emphasized that the water had passed certification in the past, and that it “adheres strictly” to regulatory standards.

Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has stated that the restaurant’s practice was not up to regulations. The department has issued a warning to Starbucks.

A public health professor at the University of Hong Kong told HK Magazine that filtering the water should be good enough to remove harmful bacteria, but that smaller pathogens, such as viruses, would require a purifier.

About the Author

Sean PattersonSean is a staff writer for WebProNews. Follow Sean on Google+: +Sean Patterson and Twitter: @St_Patt

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  • Paddy

    Its the same water that comes out of a kitchen tap…who cares as long as it’s not from the toilet bowl itself

    • Amom

      Obviously you live in a city with good tap water. I do too. But China has different standards for their public areas. You don’t even want to know how disgusting those bathrooms are. No toilets just holes in the ground even in the best places. Yes, getting water out of the tap is very harmful in China.

      • SujaAndersen

        Hong Kong has different standards than mainland China. Most places have toilets except in the outskirts.

  • http://www.webpronews.com/toilet-water-coffee-angers-starbucks-customers-2013-05 donna

    i don’t want to sound gross. but when our water was being rerouted while piles broke in house. i use my bathroom sink to cook meals and make coffee. i bleach the sink and rinsed it very well. also filled washer with water boil so i can bath kids for school & for cleaning house. but i have no customers.i was told approx.2 days

    • Tony

      That’s not nasty. You do what you have to do. People have the misconception toilets spray all over the place. That’s not so. If you flush while sitting down, you won’t get wet. Even MythBusters debunked that myth.

  • S

    Not entirely correct – “hole in the ground” toilet systems do still exist in China, but Western toilets are also very much in place in China, and specifically in Hong Kong – especially in the best of places.


    WELL every time i drink coffee i get anal leakage ,get me a couple of dougnuts i drink coca cola thats my favorite drink

  • Tala

    this is nasty, anytime you go into a place with a toilet to get water or cook its puke worthy b/c if you flush a toilet and there is no lid feces sprays everywhere like a sneeze so if they are taking a container into a bathroom like this the water is surely contaminated and then bringing that container of water back into the shop is spreading the germs around and people could get sick, yuck!

    • Tony

      Not punctuating is equally nasty.

  • http://yahoo Debra LaPierre

    Once when I was in the Navy, I was ordered by this cocky officer to make some coffee for him and some other young cocky officers. No please or minimal respect. I went to dump the old grounds in the commode, (toilet), and all the coffee makers inner workings fell in the toilet. Well, you can guess the rest. I didn’t bother to wash any thing. I even used some toilet water for the brewing. After the coffee was done I stood by to see if they needed anything else. I love that old memory.

  • http://yahoo Debra LaPierre

    I didn’t use any foul language. I told about a memory I had. I think your a company of dick suckers. How about that?

  • http://yahoo.com bodie 601

    You guys been drinking that toilet water for years . So what’s the big deal?

  • http://yahoo.com bodie 601

    you guy’s have been drinking that crap for a long time . So what’s the big deal?

  • Paul

    Toilet water is the best water to make coffee. I mean straight from the toilet, than filtered, and made into coffee. It’s the BEST!!!!!

  • Bill Lowme

    Starbucks is overpriced burnt-tasting coffee anyway… but they got the water from the sink, not the toilet. It’s gonna be the same water supply as any other sink in the place.

  • Ron Wheeler

    Just another reason why not. I’m a huge coffee fan, but I wouldn’t touch Starbucks overpriced junk if it was the last cup on earth.

  • Chantal Pirmez

    Anyone who has ever made coffee in a hotel room has done the same thing. Get a grip and rationalize your headlines.. “toilet water” ? Tap water dude.

  • Johnny Nightrider

    This doesn’t taste like the normal starbucks house brew coffee I get in Los Angeles.It tastes like China pis.A bit more like tea than coffee.

  • Johnny Nightrider

    Yeah my Coffee tastes more like Chinese pis tea than Coffee at this Starbucks in Hong Kong.I asked the Manager and he said the water was filtered.But is it purified.He said he didn’t understand and the next cup of Coffee was on him.I said Thankyou and he went to the restroom down the hall and came back and said here’s your freshly brewed Starbuck’s house coffee.I said Thankyou and I took a sip and yeah it was definitely not like the Coffee in America.

  • Duane

    When you order coffee from there, just tell them to omit the chocolate chunks!

  • Johnny Nightrider

    Yummy China piss Coffee filtered not brewed with the spout next to the urinal.Yeah you all drink that and enjoy your overpriced Starbuck’s Coffee.

  • pathira.manal

    this kind of things are happening in every cities,towns, parks etc. but people are unaware about this. if you ask a restaurant’s owner or staff to have the food, what they serve for customers, they never eat that. they prepare separately for them. because they surely know some rotted items may included, special ingredients, in the customers food.

  • Twisty

    I’d like a double pissuccino and a blueberry muffin to go please :)

  • Norm Card

    Why not just do things right. Run a copper or plastic line with a saddle tee and some compression fittings from a utility closet to the coffee making equipment. If I am in your town, I will take twenty minutes and charge you $300. I will also throw in a good filter.

  • Vernon Alarcon

    Nothing in China is as it seems or as it should be. It is not safe to consume anything in China or from China……period

    • Patrick

      Hi Veron, did you ever went to China, I don’t think so. I live here and of course they have other standards than Europe, but most of the time it is ok. Sure you have some restaurants where the kitchen is not clean, but again standards are not the same. The problem is that most American companies use not the same standard here, Starbucks, Macdonalds, KFC they give the order to reheat the hamburgers. The only time I got sick here was from MacDonalds.

  • Paul

    Well, I can understand being upset but my dog sometimes drinks out of the toilet. I don’t like him doing that but he does and never gets sick. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • Charlie Chan

      You dog licks you face after he drinks from toilet, nice doggy.
      You nasty man, smell like toilet.

  • Mike

    I live in China and if you see where any restaraunt prepares its meals you would starve to death Kids poop and pee like dogs on the sidewalks and most food is prepared on the bare pavement in the alleys behind. The food gets cooked and the coffee water gets boiled and nobody gets sick. Also they dont have p-traps and backflow prevention devices here like America does , so at any given time I have my upstairs neighbors t ur ds come up in my toilet and if there is a water pressure problem the toilet water goes right into the fresh water system because of no backflow device, everyone here boils tap water if they drink coffee or tea and most people use bottled water again no one gets sick.

  • Zan

    Ignorant racist.

  • Don

    Now I can get tiolet water coffee and dirt ice cream. can dirty handwich with moldy cheese to go.

  • christy

    Toilet water Why? no point even running the shop only killing people !!!!

  • Doug

    The article said it was from a faucet in the bathroom, not the toilet. I shave, shower, and drink water from the bathroom faucet and have never considered it unsafe just because it’s in the bathroom

    • john

      Is it any worse then rinsing your mouth out with water from the sink in the bathroom when brushing your teeth?

  • Uncle Al

    Now at least we know why Starbucks coffee tastes like p*ss.

  • Timothy

    I have a thought why not use the bathroom sink instead of the toilet. Isn’t it a common sense to use the sink for water supply or did they not used it because using toilet water is cleaner than the sink. I think China water has always been poor that is why people bring their own water to brew their coffee if your going to a foreign country.

    • Delores

      They said it was from the spout…but feet away from a urinal.

    • YouMustBeKidding

      An investigative report has angered Hong Kong coffee drinkers this week after it was revealed that a local Starbucks was using water from a bathroom spout to brew its coffee.

      Duh! Timothy, read the above paragraph. It states BATHROOM SPOUT, not toilet. Sigh.

  • Ben Dover

    Those chinks will eat or drink anything that would even make a goat puke

    • Charlie Chan

      U kess my ahss you led neck. U look like deek wit earz.
      I sell U things that come from goat ahss 2. I even sell U mama spezial ton soup, I empty my p p in it and she drink down.
      She luv 2 hahahahha

    • Gary

      I bet you would eat the goat puke.

  • Chuck

    Sadly MEDIA again trying to make a story by exaggeration. Why not try reporting real news instead of who’s trending and other WORTHLESS EXCREMENT. Why not do the job the media used to do and hold the government, state, local and federal and those slugs called elected officials RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

  • Pablo

    “Yes sir. Would you like cream and sugar and JHIT AND PYZZ in your coffee?” Heh heh heh heh heh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BlkKnightYuber

    I know somebody’s pissed off. wink wink

  • chaz

    Ching chong Chi. chop suey

  • Charlie Chan

    Hahahah, really .
    I go America, see all sortz of you women. They look funny all covierd with skin ink like man.

    They all carry babys, look funny tho. Loook like half monkey.
    Must be from hoo they have sexual with. Do all U women like ape man from jungle? We not alow our women make funny baby.

  • Delores

    It said they used a spout(faucet) just feet away from the urinal. I know it seems bad because its a business. However, truly don’t most people use a faucet just feet away from the toilet to brush their teeth, wash their face and hands each and everyday.

    • YouMustBeKidding

      Sure, but your bathroom is not a PUBLIC bathroom and you know how often you clean it. In a public bathroom, all bets are off.

  • Colleen

    What prompted this investigation. I mean, did someone complain that the coffee tasted funny?

  • Buddy Ocheltree

    Considering the crap they call cuisine, I can’t imagine the uproar over a water source used to make the best coffee to ever wash down a helping of housecat chow mein or puppy dog chop suey!

  • chels

    I’m wondering what triggered the investigation.

    Also,the article is misleading because the water from the toilet wasnt used and as disgusting as bathroom faucet water sounds, it was filtered. I’m sure there a lot more secrets here in the U.S that we have no idea about.