Starbucks Cup Sizes and Names: Pretentious or Genius?

Updated on: January 23, 2024
Author: Nick
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Starbucks cup sizes

You know the drill. You walk into your nearest Starbucks, and before you can even utter the words "a small coffee, please," you're assaulted with a barrage of strange cup size names that sound more like they belong in an Italian coffeehouse than a trendy American café

You sheepishly say a "small coffee" and what you get instead is a tall coffee.

What the heck!

It seems you don't know your Venti from your Grande or Tall… 

But don't worry, because you're not alone. Lots of people have no idea what the different Starbucks cup sizes are called, what they mean, or why they're even called like that.

In this post, we will explore the different Starbucks cup sizes and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about them. We will also take a look at why Starbucks uses Italian names for their cup sizes, and see which size is the most popular at Starbucks. We'll also address whether their cup size names are pretentious or a stroke of marketing genius.

So sit back and relax with a nice hot coffee (or tea), because we're about to get started!

What Are the Starbucks Cup Sizes?

The Starbucks cup sizes are:

  1. Demi (3 oz or 88 mL) - hot and cold drinks

  2. Short (8 oz or 236 mL) - hot drinks only

  3. Tall (12 oz or 355 mL) - hot and cold drinks

  4. Grande (16 oz or 473 mL) - hot and cold drinks

  5. Venti (20 oz or 591 mL) - hot drinks only
    Venti Clear Cup Size (24 oz or 710 mL) - cold drinks only

  6. Trenta Clear Cup Size (31 oz or 916 mL) - cold drinks only

The picture below shows the available Starbucks cup sizes for hot drinks:

Starbucks Cup Sizes (hot drinks)

The picture below shows the available Starbucks clear cup sizes for (cold drinks):

Starbucks Cup Sizes (cold drinks)

1. Demi Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Demi Cup Size
The Demi cup size (3 oz or 88 mL) compared to a standard mug.

With a capacity of 3 oz (88 mL), the Demi cup size is technically the smallest available cup size at Starbucks. However, not all stores carry this cup size. Also, it's not really advertised in the official menu so many people don't know about it. That's why it's considered a "secret" cup size (more on that later).

The Demi cup size is available for both hot and cold drinks. It's typically used for espresso, although it's too large for the concentrated brew unless you order a double shot, since a shot of espresso is about 1 to 1.5 oz.

By the way, espresso should be served in a heated ceramic demitasse espresso cup. Tossing your espresso in a Demi cup size will ensure it's cold before you drink it and will ruin the crema...

Ok, I'll stop my snobbish rant.

2. Short Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Short Cup Size
The Short cup size (8 oz or 237 mL) compared to a standard mug.

Short is a cute name for the smallest official cup size at Starbucks. And it's the only cup name that makes sense. It's only available for hot drinks.

This extra small-sized cup, with a capacity of 8 oz or 236 mL, is equivalent to a standard cup. Think of your typical coffee mug, which holds somewhere between 8 to 12 oz of coffee.

So, it's not that small (and not so cute) after all. For example, using the appropriate drinkware, a cappuccino is about 5 oz.

This cup size is also the kid's size (for hot drinks) and is perfect for your puppies when they demand puppuccinos.

3. Tall Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Tall Cup Size
The Tall cup size (12 oz or 354 mL) compared to a standard mug.

The Tall cup size is the small cup size at Starbucks. It holds 12 oz or 355 mL of coffee.

It's a tall order to call the Tall cup size small though. In most countries (outside North America) a standard-sized mug is 8 oz or 236 mL. See what we mean?

The name "Tall" for Starbucks' small cup size is a bit of an enigma. It's not especially tall, and it's definitely one of the shortest Starbucks cup sizes.

4. Grande Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Grande Cup Size
The Grande cup size (16 oz or 473 mL) compared to a standard mug.

The Grande cup size is medium at Starbucks. But how big is a Grande? It holds 16 oz or 457 mL of coffee, or the equivalent of 2 standard cups.

Confusingly, Grande in Italian (and Spanish) means 'large' but this is the medium-sized drink at Starbucks. By the way, it's pronounced 'Gran-day'. Think "Grande" from Ariana Grande!

Despite the confusing terminology, this is the most popular drink size at Starbucks.

But what's a large at Starbucks called?

5. Venti Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Venti Cup Size
The Venti cup size (20 oz or 591 mL, or 24 oz or the 710 mL clear cup for cold drinks) compared to a standard mug.

The Venti cup size is the large cup size at Starbucks.

But of course, it's not as simple as that. There are two Venti cup sizes. One is for hot drinks and can hold 20 oz or 591 mL of coffee, and the other is the clear cup for cold drinks and can hold 24 oz or 710 mL of coffee. This is the equivalent of 3 standard cup sizes...large it is indeed!

The Venti name comes from the Italian word for 'twenty'. It's pronounced 'ven-tee' and it makes reference to the 20 oz cup size (although the Italians would roll their eyes because they don't use the imperial system).

Why Are There Two Venti Sizes?

We are glad you asked this question!

The reason is to accommodate any ice cubes that go in your cold Venti size. So when you’re ordering your iced coffee you won’t miss out on any of the caffeine goodness.

We are still a bit confused though why this only applies to the Venti size and not the Grande and Tall ones. I guess they want to "encourage you" to order larger sizes?

5. Trenta Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Trenta Cup Size
The Trenta cup size (31 oz or 918 mL) is only for cold drinks, compared here to a standard mug.

The Trenta cup size is the largest cup size at Starbucks. It only comes in clear cup format and can hold 31 oz or 918 mL of coffee, which is equivalent to four standard cups.

Yes, that's right, the Trenta cup can hold about the same amount of liquid as FOUR STANDARD CUPS. That's almost 1 kg or over 2 lb of coffee going down your throat!

And you may have guessed that 'Trenta' means thirty in Italian - pronounced 'tren-ta'.

This extra-large Starbucks cup size is only used for cold drinks. So you won’t be able to order an outrageous amount of freshly brewed coffee. Your hot drink will need to be a Venti. This is a good thing!

This size is limited to iced drinks, such as iced coffee, cold brew, iced tea, and ice blended drinks (Frappuccinos). You can also order your iced tea lemonade or refreshers Trenta size.

I did a bit of math since Starbucks does not publish nutrition information on this behemoth, and here are some fun facts for ya:

  • Fun Fact #1: A Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino Blended Beverage Trenta size would contain a whopping 103g of sugar.

  • Fun Fact #2: Trenta cold brew contains a formidable 360 mg of caffeine. I would probably end up flying after consuming it...

Wait, There Are Secret Starbucks Cup Sizes?

Yes, we alluded to this before. There are two "secret" Starbucks cup sizes that are not mentioned on the official menu. These are considered 'secret' because they are not officially advertised by Starbucks but most Starbucks stores have them.

These are the Demi and Trenta cup sizes.

How Many Shots of Espresso is in Each Starbucks Cup Size?

That's a good question because as you will see, a larger cup size does not necessarily mean more espresso shots.

We have prepared this handy table to clarify how many shots of espresso each cup size has!

Cup SizeMost Espresso DrinksAmericanosFlat WhitesIced Shaken Espressos
starbucks sizes

Why Are the Starbucks Cup Sizes Names in Italian?

As per the Starbucks website, Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, traveled to Milan in 1983. It was then and there that he experienced Italian coffeehouses. There was something about how passionate Italians were about coffee. It was something more than a caffeine boost - it was a full-fledged drinking culture!

RELATED: Looking for Cheap Starbucks Drinks? Here are 17 Great Options!

After his trip, Schultz became inspired and wanted to bring this know-how and culture to the US. He wanted his coffee shops to have a special ambiance resembling Italian coffee bars. So, he introduced Italian names for the Starbucks drink sizes.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

By the way, the original drink sizes were Short, Tall, and Grande. But due to popular demand, a larger size was introduced - the Venti. And the Short size was removed (at least officially).

Some people might think the cup names of Starbucks are pretentious. But it's actually a genius move because people associate Starbucks coffee with Italy (even though an Italian barista might frown at the idea of a Grande Latte). And these Italian names make the Starbucks brand stand out from their competitors.

Starbucks Cup Environmental Issues

Wait! Don't go yet, wait, please! Crush the Sea Turtle Didn't order a Trenta-sized Starbucks drink...

Putting the wittiness and jokes aside, there is something serious we need to talk about.

As per Starbucks, Starbucks distributes 6 billion paper and plastic cups globally each year. Many of these are not recycled and cannot be recycled, and so they end up in our oceans, killing marine wildlife from giant whales to sea turtles and birds.

Thankfully, Starbucks is taking initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and pollution. One example is shifting away from single-use cups to reusable ones or tumblers. Another one is eliminating disposable cups by 2030. This is a tall order because sales using reusable cups only represented 1.2 percent of last year's sales.

But as a consumer, you can help! Why not purchase a reusable tumbler. There are tons of really cool designs. And if you're a Starbucks fan, Starbucks make its own as well.

reusable starbucks cups means a greener future

There are some advantages when using a reusable tumbler:

  • They keep your drink hot or cool for several hours.

  • Their designs are much cooler than the standard single-use cup designs.

  • Starbucks gives a small discount to customers who bring their own reusable cups!

  • They make you look cool because you care about our future generations and a greener future.

Here are some cool designs for yourself or your kid's Starbucks drink if you have one... Haha!

People also search:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Most Popular Starbucks Drink Size?

The Grande size is the most popular one, at least in the US.

What Is The Smallest Starbucks Cup Size?

The smallest Starbucks cup size is the Demi, which holds 3 oz or 88 mL. However, the smallest available size for most drinks is the short which can hold 8 oz or 237 mL of liquid gold.

What Is The Biggest Starbucks Cup Size?

The biggest cup size is the Trenta holding 31 oz or 918 mL of your favorite drink. Not all locations carry this size, so officially, the Venti is the largest size, holding 20 oz or 591 mL. The Trenta is only limited to cold drinks such as Starbucks refreshers, or iced coffees and iced teas.

Does a Venti cup of coffee have more caffeine than a Grande cup?

Yes, Venti Starbucks coffee sizes are larger than Grande sizes and so they hold more coffee, which adds up to more caffeine. If you're looking for caffeine free Starbucks drinks, then check out our article about them.

Starbucks Sizes

Bottom Line

So there you have it - an overview of the Starbucks cup sizes and their official Italian names. I hope this article has cleared up any confusion about what size is which.

Now you can walk in like a boss and order a Venti cold brew and a Trenta iced tea lemonade. Well, maybe not, it's one of the most acidic drinks besides coke.

And remember, if you want to help reduce Starbucks' environmental impact, purchase a reusable tumbler! They come in lots of cool designs!

Let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of coffee, tea or herbal infusion if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.



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