A Complete Guide to Starbucks Drink Sizes


Between the available drink combinations, busy stores, and the Starbucks lingo that includes unusual names for the sizes of Starbucks drinks, newbies often feel intimidated when trying to order.

This article explains everything about the cup sizes at Starbucks to elevate your Starbucks lingo.

Starbucks sizes

What are the Starbucks Sizes?

The six Starbucks cup sizes are Short 8oz, Tall 12oz, Grande 16oz, Venti hot 20oz, Venti cold 24oz, and Trenta 31oz. However, some cup sizes are only available for hot drinks and vice versa. Grande and venti are the most ordered Starbucks sizes for both hot and cold drinks.

Here is an in-depth look at the Starbucks drink sizes:

  • Short. Is an eight ounces cup for hot drinks. Most Starbucks stores no longer display this size but you can still order a short hot drink. Except for kids’ drinks and puppuccino, regular short orders are rare in a good number of stores. Amazingly, outside Starbucks, an eight ounces cup is within what is considered a regular cup of coffee. See how many ounces is a cup of coffee.
  • Tall. Is a 12 fl. oz cup. Most Starbucks first-timers misconstrue the tall size as large whereas it’s, actually, a small size.
  • Grande. This is my favorite cup size when I want to indulge in one of my favorite warm drinks from Starbucks. You can get both hot and cold drinks in the 16 fl. oz grande cups. “Grande” is Italian for large but at Starbucks Grande is equivalent to a medium cup.
  • Venti size. Starbucks venti comes in two sizes; venti hot which is 20 oz and venti cold which is 24 oz. The four extra ounces in the venti cold are meant for ice. In Italian, venti means extra large.
  • Trenta. Is the largest Starbucks size at 31 fl oz and is used for iced teas, iced coffee, refreshers, and cold brew coffee. Trenta is Italian for 30 but a Starbucks Trenta size carries an extra ounce. Read the history of Starbucks to better understand its Italian connection.

The size of the cup determines the number of espresso shots and the number of pumps for the syrup or sauce to be added.

For hot drinks, the espresso shots are 1/2/2 which means that a tall cup gets one shot and both the grande and venti sizes get two espresso shots each. A venti cold, however, gets three espresso shots.

See how the syrup pumps vary according to the size of the cup.

Did you know although the Starbucks Trenta is a cup for cold drinks, you can not get a Frappuccino in a Trenta cup as there are no dome lids and the amount of sugar is considered too irresponsible for a single drink?

The names of the Starbucks cup sizes have been around for so long that they have become part of its brand.

However, you can still use the more common cup sizes such as medium, or large when ordering at Starbucks and the baristas will understand what you mean. If you ask for a medium-size drink, a grande is served and for a large drink, you will get a venti.

If you order a small, some baristas, especially in locations where the short size gets some orders, may ask you whether you mean a short or tall cup size just to be sure.

Another way to order a Starbucks drink when you are not sure about the name of the cup size is by using ounces. For example, you can order a 24 ounces cup of Irish cream cold brew with Irish cold foam and you will get the drink in a Venti size cup for cold drinks.

Alternatively, ask for a 12 oz cup of the indulgent snickerdoodle latte to get a tall cup of the same.

See how to order a snickerdoodle latte from Starbucks.

One of the advantages of Starbucks’ unique names for its drinks sizes is that the sizes go by the same names regardless of the store location and the local language.

For instance, a Venti hot in Seattle goes by the same name and size in Japan, China, and Egypt.

How Starbucks Sizes Got their Names

Initially, Starbucks offered only short, tall cups. As the demand for bigger cups rose, they added the grande size which became the largest cup at the time.

The addition of blended drinks and iced drinks to the menu necessitated the adoption of the Venti 24 oz cup whose smaller, 20 oz, version was also adopted for the hot drinks.

Consequently, the short size increasingly became unpopular and was removed from the menu although you can still order it.

In 2008, Starbucks started testing a double grande, 32 oz, cup or the Tazo for iced teas only but later abandoned it.

Testing for the Trenta cups would commence in 2010. In January 2011, Trenta debuted in Starbucks stores in 14 States and was gradually rolled out to all the stores in the US.

Why You Can’t Order a Venti Nitro Cold Brew

If you have tried ordering nitro cold brew at a Starbucks store or using the app, you must have noticed that nitro cold brew orders are limited to the tall and grande sizes.

Over the years, people have advanced a lot of theories with a majority of them attributing this to the high amount of caffeine in nitro cold brew.

However, according to Starbucks, you can not get a venti nitro cold brew as it would compromise the texture and cascading effect of the drink. Some Starbucks baristas suggest that it would also be unsanitary as it’s impossible to fill a venti with nitro cold brew without the tap touching the drink due to the height of the cup.

It looks like nitro cold brew lovers have to cope with the available sizes – tall and grande.

As for the regular cold brew coffee, it is available in the tall, grande, venti, and Trenta sizes.

Can You Bring Your Own Cup to Starbucks?

Yes, you can bring your own reusable cup or travel mug to a Starbucks store and the barista will fill it with your favorite drink in a four steps process that prevents contaminating your cup.

The cup must be clean as the baristas are not allowed to touch it or clean it.

In fact, Starbucks offers a $0.10 discount when you bring your own reusable cup to encourage cutting on waste. When ordering your choice of drink, inform the barista that you have your own cup.

This is what happens when you bring your own reusable cup to Starbucks:

  • The barista will bring an empty ceramic mug and ask you to remove the lid of your cup
  • After ascertaining that your cup is clean, the barista requests you to place your cup in the ceramic mug
  • The barista handles the ceramic mug and fills your cup with the drink of your choice without touching your cup.
  • The barista places the drink at the handoff section while handling the ceramic mug.
  • The last part is for you to retrieve your reusable cup, replace the lid and enjoy your drink.

Note that, so far, you can not use a reusable cup in Starbucks when ordering on your mobile.

Read this post if you wish to bring your own water bottle to refill at Starbucks.

Why Does Starbucks Ask for Your Name?

Every time you order at Starbucks, the barista asks for your name and writes it on the cup to create a personal connection with the patrons as well assist the baristas to sort the orders, especially for customers with similar orders.

With social media, Starbucks’ names on cups have become a “thing” with thousands of people including celebrities posting on their social media pages.

Celebrities also suffer the odd misspellings which are, usually, not on purpose.

What is Starbucks’ Medium-Size?

Grande, which holds 16 fluid ounces, is Starbucks’ medium size. Whether you are ordering a cold brew, iced coffee, frappuccino, or hot coffee, you will get a grande size when you order a medium drink at Starbucks.

What is the Smallest Starbucks Size?

The smallest Starbucks size is the demi or demitasse which is used for espresso shots. For drinks that are not espresso shots, the 8 oz Short is technically the smallest cup size you can order.

Patrick

Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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