Ordering a coffee at Starbucks can be confusing when you don't understand the cup sizes, and they don't make it easy. For instance, if you order a "tall" at Starbucks, you will receive 12 ounces of coffee and it isn't the "tallest" size available. Additionally, Starbucks uses unique names for each size and they're not in line with the standards used at local coffee shops. Names like "grande" and "venti" are Italian and play on the idea that visiting a Starbucks is like a virtual European experience no matter where you are in the world.
Knowing how much coffee you're getting in each size can help you figure out how much caffeine is in your Starbucks drink. In the case of sweetened beverages and those containing milk and chocolate, size is a big factor in how many calories and fat you're drinking. Calories are listed on the Starbucks menu for most drinks. This does give you a good idea of what you're drinking before you accidentally down a 500-calorie venti Frappuccino.
Starbucks Cup Sizes
Six cup sizes are available drinks on the Starbucks menu. Some are only available for certain types of beverages, such as espresso shots and cold drinks. In one case, there is also a size difference between hot and cold drinks.
- Demi: "Demi" literally means "half," though it is of French (not Italian) origin. It's used exclusively when ordering an espresso-sized drink. The demi is the smallest size at Starbucks, holding 3 ounces (89 milliliters) and that can seem small at first. However, standard coffee shop espresso shots are usually only about 1 ounce and a double shot is typically under 2 ounces. This makes the demi at Starbucks the equivalent of a triple shot.
- Short: The "short" cup was one of the two original Starbucks sizes. It's 8 fluid ounces (240 milliliters) and, aside from the demi, it's the smallest drink size available at Starbucks. For many people who drink coffee at home, 6 to 8 ounces is a standard cup size. At Starbucks, the short cup is only available for hot drinks and, despite the fact that it's a completely normal amount of coffee, it's not very popular.
- Tall: The '"tall" is the other original Starbucks drink size and it measures 12 fluid ounces (350 milliliters). When Starbucks started, the tall was basically equivalent to a large cup at other coffee shops. Now, it's basically considered a "small" in the Starbucks world. In fact, if you order a "small" at Starbucks, your coffee will come in their tall cup.
- Grande: "Grande" (pronounced GRAWN-day) is the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French word for "large." At 16 fluid ounces (470 milliliters, or 2 1/2 cups), this is still not the largest drink you can order at Starbucks.
- Venti: "Venti" (pronounced VENN-tee) is Italian for "twenty." A hot venti coffee is 20 ounces (590 milliliters). This name makes sense until you realize that none of the smaller portions have names that are numerically related to the size. To add to the confusion, if you order a cold venti coffee drink, the cup size is 24 ounces (709 milliliters), presumably to allow room for ice.
- Trenta: Introduced in May 2011, "trenta" is the largest drink size at Starbucks. The name means "thirty" in Italian, so you might assume that the coffee is 30 ounces. Strangely enough, it's 31 ounces (920 milliliters). It's almost as though 30 ounces wasn't enough to make it the "Big Gulp" of the coffee world. The trenta size is reserved for iced drinks only (e.g., iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade, and other drinks served over ice).
Next time you're ordering at Starbucks, you'll be a little more informed about what size drink you're getting. However, don't feel bad if you're still a little confused. They definitely don't make getting a cup of coffee easy!