In March of 1971, Starbucks opened its first coffee shop, and by 1999, the brand had expanded across the United States and then to Japan, Europe, and China. Starbucks continues to open shops with over 35,000 locations worldwide.
But what are the Starbucks cup sizes? Read on to learn more about the company’s Italian inspiration and your next cup of coffee.
What Are the Sizes at Starbucks?
Starbucks cup sizes aren’t meant to trick you; their sizing comes from Italian coffee culture. Read on to discover the equivalents of small, medium, and large cup sizes.
Demi (3 oz)
Demi is the smallest coffee cup that Starbucks offers. A Demi cup is tiny and can only hold 2 to 3 ounces of liquid.
Demi is different from the rest of the cup sizes. Unlike other Italian cup-size names, it comes from the French word. Demi is short for Demitasse, meaning half-cup. Tasse or full coffee cups can hold about 4 US fl oz of coffee.
3 ounces isn’t enough for an Americano, Latte, or other coffee or espresso drinks. Demi is an available cup size for those who prefer to drink Espresso shots by themselves. Ordering a Demi size is the perfect option for those who need a quick shot of espresso or two.
Short (8 oz)
Short is the actual smallest coffee size for drinks other than Espresso. This Starbucks cup size can hold up to 8 ounces.
As you might be thinking, 8 ounces isn’t that much. You are right! That is why Starbucks has limited the short size for hot drinks only; including cold brew would mean you will get less coffee as ice takes up some volume.
Short is equal to one cup of liquid. So, when you order your next short cup of coffee, you can say you have one cup of coffee.
Tall (12 oz)
If you aren’t familiar with the Italian language, it will confuse you to see “tall,” “grande,” and “venti” on the menu.
Tall drinks consist of 12 full fluid ounces, 50% more than a short size. However, both short and tall espresso drinks contain the same amount of espresso. The Starbucks tall cup size is the smallest menu for hot and cold drinks. If we compare it with the other sizes above, tall hits the mark for being small.
If you go to any other coffee shop and order a small coffee, you will more than likely receive a coffee of a similar size.
Grande (16 oz)
Grande is the next size up from tall. If tall is the original small, then grande is a medium.
Grande translates to large in Italian. Starbucks grande coffees are medium coffees. With 16-ounce capacities, grande is equal to two and a half, six-ounce cups of coffee. This cup has become the standard-size drink to order, and grande espresso drinks come with two shots of espresso.
You can order any drink (hot, iced, or a smoothie) in the Grande size, making it the perfect all-around cup for freshly brewed coffee, espresso drinks, lattes, cappuccinos, iced teas, and coffees.
Venti Hot (20 oz)
As you can see, “venti hot” is only for hot beverages.
Venti is the new large of all Starbucks cup sizes. Venti hot can hold up to 20 ounces of liquid, and it is the same as going to any other coffee shop and ordering a large coffee.
The cup earned the name venti due to its amount of ounces. In Italian, venti means 20. With 20 ounces, you can order the tallest hot coffee of your liking. There is plenty of room to add Espresso, syrup, sugar, and more.
Venti Cold (24 oz)
“Venti cold” is only for cold beverages. Unlike the 20 oz venti hot drink, the venti cold Starbucks cup size contains four extra ounces of volume.
This cold drink requires extra room for ice. If Starbucks served cold iced coffee in the 20 oz size, customers would get 4 ounces less coffee.
Twenty-four ounces will give you plenty of room for ice, caffeine, shots of Espresso, syrups, milk, and more.
Trenta (30 oz)
“Trenta” is Italian for 30. Starbucks Trenta cup size holds up to 30 ounces of volume, and it is the largest coffee that you can order at the store. It is only for iced teas and coffees. You cannot order frappuccinos, nitro cold brew, or iced espresso beverages in this size.
Most other coffee shops worldwide do not offer coffee as big as the Trenta size. Think of it as the XL to clothing.
At Starbucks, Trenta is only available for cold drinks like iced coffee, cold brew, refreshers, iced tea lemonade, and brewed iced tea. This is partly because the coffee shop can save money on the liquid by adding more ice. Not all iced drinks are available at this size, but it is perfect if you plan on sipping a cold drink all day long.
What Is a Standard-Size Drink at Starbucks?
At any coffee shop, there is a standard-size drink. Grande is the standard-size (or normal-size) cup for your coffee choice at Starbucks.
If we put a Starbucks grande coffee next to other American coffee sizes, it is the same as a medium, and medium coffees are the perfect size for most Americans.
Grande was the original Starbucks large size until Venti made its way to stores. Thus, it was large in both Italy and the US.
Moreover, Grande is the main size drink at Starbucks because some drinks don’t come in any other size. You can order most 16 oz drinks, hot or cold, in the grande size, and Baristas only serve smoothies in the grande size.
Why Are Starbucks Cups Named in Italian?
You might be thinking: is Starbucks from Italy? The short answer is no.
As you already know, Starbucks cup sizes have different names than small-medium-large sizes. A New York resident, Howard Schultz, is the story behind Starbucks sizes.
When the first Starbucks coffee shop opened in 1971, the sizes were “normal,” small, medium, and large. It wasn’t until the 1990s, when Schultz took his experience in the Italian coffee bars home with him, that he brainstormed the changes to American coffee shops. He thought that Starbucks would be more catchy if the cup sizes were Italian.
Schultz grew closer to the Italian coffee atmosphere during his time in Italy. He became fond of Italian coffee terms, and when the Starbucks franchise began, they advertised Starbucks drink sizes with Italian terms. Small is tall, grande is large, Venti means 20 ounces, and Trenta is for 30 ounces.
Today, people still love ordering their Starbucks coffee with Italian-size references. Don’t worry about mistaken sizes, as the baristas will know what you mean by medium or small.
What Starbucks Drinks Size Is the Best Value?
The truth is that Grande is the best value. For a few cents more, you gain several extra ounces.
Many people will buy the smallest coffee tall because they think spending less means saving more. You will pay more in the long run if you plan on getting a second coffee or a refill.
A tall size is 12 ounces of coffee, a grande is 16 ounces, and a venti is 24 ounces. Buying two tall cups will be more expensive than buying one venti, and you could spend some extra cents to upsize and still pay less than two small coffees.
Can You Get a Discount at Starbucks if You Bring Your Own Cup?
One way to pinch a few pennies and get a discount is by using the Starbucks mobile app. Another way is to bring your cup, which will save you money when ordering your next coffee from Starbucks.
Now, you might be asking yourself: does it have to be a Starbucks refillable cup? The quick answer to that question is no.
You can buy a refillable cup from Starbucks to buy coffee every time. Doing so will ensure you get the right amount of coffee for whichever cup size you prefer.
The coffee cup ratio is the occasional problem with bringing your cup. If you want a venti, but your refillable cup can hold less than 20 ounces, you will pay for two ounces less coffee. It is always wise to check if your reusable cup fits the Starbucks drink size you desire.
Having your own cup will give you a discount of 10 cents per coffee. Eventually, those dimes add up, and so does the paper saved through reusable cups.
What Size Will You Choose?
The next time you pull into a Starbucks drive-through, you won’t be wondering about Starbucks cup sizes and which one is equivalent to a small cup of coffee.
No matter where you visit Starbucks, you can order your next cup of joe with a bit of Italian sass. Don’t forget that you can upgrade to a grande to get the best bang for your buck!
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