Photos taken at the Starbucks' Bank of China Tower location show an employee retrieving water from a spout, labeled "Starbucks Only," situated near a urinal in a men's restroom.
According to Kotaku, a representative from Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said Starbucks' water retrieval system didn't meet regulations.
"Starbucks, you need to make an open declaration that such crap is not repeated anywhere else, and fire the idiot who thought up such kind of water supply 'solution'!" commenter Duncan Yum wrote on the Starbucks Hong Kong Facebook page.
The coffee chain directly responded to Yum's complaint, saying that the branch would use distilled water until they came up with other "acceptable options."
"Please kindly accept our apologies for the concerns raised by the coverage on the water source at the Bank of China Tower store," Starbucks said.
While the water used at that store was drinking water and certified as safe, we would like to clarify any misperceptions, as quality and safety have always been our top priority. We are now using distilled water to serve that store while we work with all parties on acceptable options.