Early National Coffee Day deal? Starbucks has buy-one-get-one free drinks Thursday

Customers in a Starbucks coffee shop.
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images
Customers in a Starbucks coffee shop.

You don't have to wait until Saturday to get a free cup of java.

On Thursday, two days before National Coffee Day, Starbucks has one of its Happy Hour events.

But the coffee giant's deal has nothing to do with the made-up day. It's also not a true freebie, rather a buy-one-get-one free offer.

Between 3 p.m. and closing Thursday, buy any grande or larger handcrafted espresso beverage or Frappuccino and get one free. The offer is available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Although this deal is for members of Starbucks' loyalty program, there's a way for anyone to save.

The offer will be loaded to Starbucks Rewards members' accounts, and non-members can sign up for a code at https://happyhour.starbucks.com.

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Starbucks revamped its popular Happy Hour program in March. When the program first began in 2010, it was focused on the Frappuccino.

Happy Hour now goes beyond the blended drink, and offers rotate to include espresso and iced tea, too. The discounts also vary, and sometimes it's a buy-one-get-one free deal and others it's half-price drinks.

Unlike competitors, Starbucks won't mark National Coffee Day with a freebie or discount. Instead, as in past years, the company said it will give back.

"This National Coffee Day, we're focused on providing continued assistance to help Puerto Rico recover following the devastation of Hurricane Maria one year ago, where the coffee industry was decimated," Starbucks said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Starbucks said it is donating 2 million coffee seeds for the recovery, and its foundation is giving a three-year, $583,000 grant to World Coffee Research "to improve seed quality and growing practices on the island."

This week, Starbucks also announced a commitment of up to $20 million toward an Emergency Relief to support smallholder farmers that are affected by the coffee price crisis in Central America.