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Starbucks Sizes

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Starbucks Sizes
Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Question: Starbucks Sizes
What's up with Starbucks' sizes? Why are they called things like 'Grande' instead of things like small, medium and large? And how big are Grandes and all the other cup sizes anyway?
Answer: Good questions!

It is generally thought that Starbucks named their sizes differently to set themselves apart. Much to the chagrin of local coffee shops, customers often request a Grande or Venti (which are not generally accepted cup sizes at other coffee shops!).

Knowing how much coffee you're getting in each size can help you figure out how much caffeine is in your Starbucks drinks and, in the case of sweetened drinks and drinks containing milk and chocolate, how many calories and how much fat is in your drinks.

Here's the low down on the different cup sizes Starbucks offers, as well as exceptions to these usual sizes:
  • Demi -- Literally, 'demi' means 'half.' Unlike most Starbucks drink size names, it is of French origin (not Italian origin). The Demi size is the smallest size at Starbucks, and is used to describe an espresso drink size. It's three ounces (89 milliliters), which sounds tiny until you realize it's only for standard espresso shots, which are usually only about one ounce each. And that a double shot is usually under two ounces. Yikes!
  • Short -- The 'Short' was one of the two original Starbucks cup sizes. (The other was 'Tall.' Makes sense.) It's a mere eight fluid ounces (240 mL), and aside from the Demi (which is mostly a size espresso shots), it's the smallest drink size available at Starbucks. For many people who drink coffee at home, six to eight ounces is a standard cup size. It's only available for hot drinks and it's not very popular at Starbucks (even though it's a completely normal amount of coffee to drink at home).
  • Tall -- The 'Tall' is the other original Starbucks drink size. When Starbucks started, the Tall was basically a Large. Now, it's basically a Small. In fact, if you order a 'Small' at Starbucks, you get a Tall. A Starbucks Tall measures in at 12 US fluid ounces (350 milliliters).
  • Grande -- Pronounced GRAWN-day, 'Grande' is Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French for 'Large,' but at Starbucks there are two even larger drinks: the Venti and the Trenti. The Starbucks Grande is 16 US fluid ounces (470 milliliters / 2.5 cups).
  • Venti -- Pronounced VENN-tee, Venti is Italian for 20. A Venti is 20 ounces (590 milliliters), so in a way, this name makes sense... until you realize that none of the smaller portions have names that relate to their sizes numerically. Hmmm...
  • Trenta -- Introduced in May, 2011, the 'Trenta' is the newest (and the largest) of Starbucks drink sizes. 'Trenta' means 30. You might be thinking, "Oh, it's a continuation of the Venti theme. It's 30 ounces." Nope. Strangely, 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 (including iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade and other drinks served over ice), and it usually costs about 50 cents more than a Venti of the same drink.
These sizes apply for most hot Starbucks coffee drinks and espresso drinks. However, there are a few exceptions, the most noteworthy of which is the sizing of iced Venti drinks. Iced Venti Drinks are usually 24 ounces rather than 20 ounces. According to the Starbucks website, the Iced Cocoa Cappuccino is an exception to this -- the iced version is still 20 ounces (not the usual 24-oz Venti iced drink cup size).

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