Every Starbucks Cup Sizes, Explained

starbucks cup sizes

With Starbucks’ use of amusing terms for sizing on their menu, the fact that they have secret menu sizes, and the fact that the sizes are massive, it’s difficult to know where to begin. 

What are the Starbucks cup sizes?

Starbucks cup sizes are Short (8 fl. oz.), Tall (12 fl. oz.), Grande (16 fl. oz), Venti Hot (20 fl. oz.), Venti Cold (24 fl. oz), Trenta Cold (31 fl. oz.).

There’s still a lot to unpack there: why are cold Ventis larger than hot Ventis, and why can’t you order a hot Trenta coffee?

Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of research and have the answers to all of these concerns, so continue reading. 

Why are Starbucks cup sizes Tall, Grande, and Venti?

Because Howard Schultz sought to mimic the ambience of Italian coffee shops in his own enterprises during a trip to Italy in 1983, Starbucks cup sizes have Italian names such as tall, grande, and venti.

We’ll have to delve into Starbucks’ history, its CEO’s fondness of Italian coffee shops, and the growing desire for larger coffee cups to learn more about why Starbucks’ most diminutive coffee is “tall.”

Starbucks: A history

Left: Zev Siegl, Jerry Baldwin, and Gordon Bowker  founders of starbucks
Left: Zev Siegl, Jerry Baldwin, and Gordon Bowker

Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker started Starbucks in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971.

But it really all began in 1983, when a man named Howard Schultz traveled to Italy. Howard Schultz, a native of Seattle, ran a small coffee business called Il Giornale.

In the early 1980s, they sold the firm to Howard Schultz, who chose to turn the coffee bean store into a coffeeshop offering espresso-based beverages.

Howard Schultz

He visited Italy and became enamored with European coffee cafes. They demonstrated a passion for coffee as a beverage and a culture.

Howard returned enthused after his historic journey to Italy. He wanted his coffee shop to have the same warm, inviting atmosphere that he has seen in other countries. To do so, he made a few tweaks, such as labeling the coffee sizes “short” and “tall,” like they did in Italy.

Of course, this was only the start. Schultz purchased a small local coffee shop called Starbucks in 1992, where he had worked before launching Il Giornale.

He added “grande” (Italian for enormous) and made a huge hit by incorporating his drink proportions and the Italian coffee shop feel into the company.

Short 8 ounces (236.58mL), tall 12 ounces (354.88mL), and grande 16 ounces (473.18mL) were the only sizes available in the 1990s. The market, on the other hand, was shifting, and people were drinking more coffee.

Starbucks introduced a new size, the venti 20 ounces (591.47mL) to meet demand for larger portions. To save space, they removed “short” from the posted menu.

Starbucks also introduced the “cold venti” around this time. Customers who purchased a venti iced coffee instead of the usual 20-ounce (591.47mL) cup received a 24-ounce (709.76mL) cup.

Starbucks instituted this rule to account for the ice in the cup; they didn’t want their customers to receive less coffee just because it was chilly.

For years, this system worked. The three beverages available in the 2000s were tall, grand, and venti (and cold venti). However, in 2011, the business decided to step it up a notch and introduced the trenta. They agreed that a greater size was required after testing in Arizona and Washington.

The trenta is the last of the Starbucks cup sizes so far and is only available for cold drinks. Despite the fact that it is not on the official Starbucks menu, it is nevertheless accessible in most American Starbucks locations. Starbucks isn’t planning any lower or larger sizes or modifying its naming scheme, as far as we know. 

Starbucks cup sizes and names are here to stay, whether you like them or not.

They give the coffee shop a distinct personality.

Some may think they’re snobbish, but Starbucks added them to make the coffee shop stand out. I’d think they performed a really decent job, based on the number of people who visit on a daily basis. 

Starbucks cup sizes explained

There are six different Starbucks cup sizes to choose from, with four different sizes available for hot drinks and four different sizes available for cold drinks.

The Nitro cold brew, for example, is only available in Tall or Grande sizes, while the Trenta Cold is only available for Cold Brew, Iced Coffee, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, and Starbucks Refreshers. With that out of the way, I’ll go over each size in detail.

What is a Short (8 fl. oz.)

Starbucks shorts are 8fl oz (227mL or 1 cup) in size and are only available for hot coffees. It’s a size that’s regarded as extra small.

What’s strange is that for the rest of the coffee-drinking world, this is the standard cup size. It’s about the size of a regular household mug, and when coffee enthusiasts talk about coffee, they usually mean anything from 4 to 8 fl oz. 

To give you an idea, a 1 person French Press can usually hold 8 fl oz of coffee. So it was a clever move on Starbucks’ side to get you to order a larger drink by making it appear as though this size was insignificant. When the Venti size was introduced, they even took it off the menu for a while because it didn’t fit anymore. 

In fact, because the Short isn’t included on many menus, it’s considered a size from the Starbucks Secret Menu.

  • Shots of espresso – 1 (excluding flat whites)
  • Pumps of syrup – 2
  • Number of tea bags – 1

What is a Tall (12 fl. oz.)

The smallest size of cold drink you may get is a Starbucks Tall, which is 12 fl oz, which is 340 mL or 1.44 cups. It is regarded as a small size.

And, as the saying goes, “tall is the new tiny”…

When Starbucks staff started adopting this as their go-to smallest size, no one said that. If you ask for a small one, you’ll almost certainly get one.

It’s about the same size as a typical can of Coke, and it’s usually my go-to drink size. Perfectly enough to satisfy you without making you feel bloated or full. But, yeah, I do occasionally order a grande. 

  • Shots of espresso – 1 (excluding flat whites, Americanos and iced shaken espressos)
  • Pumps of syrup – 3
  • Tea bags – 1

What is a Grande (16 fl. oz.)

The most popular Starbucks Grande size is 16 fl oz, which is 450mL or 2 cups; it is called a medium size.

Everything that isn’t already in a bottle can be ordered in a Grande. It’s a medium-sized drink that’s very much the same everywhere.

This is my go-to if I want a large coffee that’s double the size of a short. 

It also happens to be the largest size of Nitro cold brew coffee available. Which I thought was odd, so I checked into it. It turns out that it has nothing to do with the amount of caffeine in the drink, but rather with the fact that if you make it a venti, you lose the effect of the cascade of bubbles when the drink settles. 

So the only reason you can’t order it as a venti is for aesthetic reasons.

  • Shots of espresso – 2 (excluding flat whites, Americanos and iced shaken espressos)
  • Pumps of syrup – 4
  • Tea bags – 2

What is a Venti Hot (20 fl. oz.)

A Hot Venti is 20fl oz (568mL), or 2.37 cups of hot beverage; it is the largest size of hot beverage allowed and is considered a large.

The big guns: in the United Kingdom, this much liquid is considered a pint, and in the United States, it’s much bigger.

Which, when I consider having a pint of milk, seems excessive. However, drinking a pint of milk with espresso in it is perfectly okay. 

Nonetheless, this is the largest size of hot coffee available, as well as the largest insulated cup available.

  • Shots of espresso
  • • Hot – 2 (excluding flat whites and Americanos)
  • Pumps of syrup
  • • Hot – 5
  • Tea bags  – 2

What is a Venti Cold (24 fl. oz.)

A Starbucks Cold Venti has a volume of 24fl oz (709mL), or three cups. It’s the largest Frappuccino size available, as well as the largest size for most cold drinks. It is a large size for cold drinks.

This is the size you’d get if you ordered any of the cold drinks in a large size, and it’s the largest size in most Starbucks cafes; some, though, have the famous Trenta size, which we’ll discuss next.

After learning how much sugar is in some of the Frappuccinos, I’ve decided to never order one as a Venti again.

  • Shots of espresso: Cold – 3 (excluding flat whites, Americanos and shaken espressos)
  • Pumps of syrup: Cold – 6
  • Tea bags – 2

What is a Trenta Cold (31 fl. oz.)

A Starbucks Trenta is the company’s largest coffee size, measuring 31fl oz (916mL), or slightly under three cups. It is not widely distributed, although it is quite popular in the United States.

The Trenta is considered a size from the Secret menu because it isn’t accessible everywhere, and it isn’t normally mentioned on the boards, so you’ll have to ask if it’s available.

Only Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew, and Starbucks Refreshers are eligible for this obscenely large cup. 

But, because it’s so ridiculously large, I recommend trying one just to enjoy its colossal splendor.

  • Shots of espresso – N/A
  • Pumps of syrup – 7

How many espressos are in each size

This, too, varies by drink, so use this as a guide only.

Short: In most cases, the short size contains only one espresso.

Tall: Tall sizes contain one espresso shot, while tall Frappuccinos contain two pumps of their Frap Roast, which contains 60mg of caffeine and is less than a single espresso shot which contains 75mg.

Grande: The Grande size contains two shots of espresso, marking the start of the double shot. Three pumps of coffee are used in Grande Frappuccinos, resulting in 90mg of coffee, about comparable to an espresso and a half. Because the size is larger, hot venti coffee drinks have two shots of espresso, whereas cold venti coffee beverages have three shots of espresso. Venti Frappuccinos include four pumps of coffee each of which has 120mg of caffeine, but are still less than two espresso shots.

Trenta: While none of the Trenta drinks contain espresso, the Trenta Cold Brew contains 360mg of caffeine, which is nearly equivalent to five espresso shots.

Exceptions: There are always a few: flat white lattes created with a unique ristretto shot always have one more shot than ordinary lattes.

And blended drinks like Frappuccinos, regardless of size, contain a single shot.

If you’re unsure about your sizing options or need to limit your caffeine intake, go to your barista; they’ll be able to help you out. 

Pumps of syrup

Aside from the espresso shots, there is a limit on the number of syrup pumps that can be used for certain cocktails.

Iced Shaken Espressos

Despite the fact that Iced Shaken Espresso beverages and other espresso drinks of similar size appear to have the same number of syrup pumps, Starbucks’ brown sugar syrup bottles contain half-dose pumps.

Most other espresso-based beverages include half the amount of sweetness found in a Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso.

Caramel Macchiatos

Caramel Macchiatos, both iced and hot, have one less syrup pump than other espresso-based beverages of similar amounts.

The thick caramel sauce slathered on top of these Starbucks caramel drinks can be thought of as the “missing” syrup pump.

Bonus facts

  • Do you want a more caffeinated beverage?

Then keep in mind that buying a larger cup size for an espresso drink does not always mean it includes more caffeine. In fact, because both short and tall espresso beverages contain the same amount of espresso, their caffeine content is identical. This applies to the grande and venti sizes as well.

  • If you want more caffeine in your Starbucks drink, you can upgrade your short or tall drink to a grande or add an extra shot.

Another option is to buy a cup of freshly brewed coffee, which has a higher caffeine level as the cup size grows. Unless you choose decaf coffee, of course. 

  • If you need additional capacity in your cup for whatever reason, you can request a lesser drink in a larger cup.

Don’t be anxious about the extra amount; you’ll only be charged for the smaller size. 

Because of the shop’s environment as well as the exceptional quality of the drinks, many consumers returned to Starbucks multiple times. Starbucks has no doubt grabbed the curiosity of coffee aficionados all over the world as a gathering or study place for colleagues, coworkers, friends, or loved ones, which is why it has quickly climbed to fame in the sector.

If you’re still interested about the flavor of Starbucks’ beverages, now is the time to try a cup of cold or hot coffee from this well-known coffee shop. When purchasing coffee for the first time at Starbucks, the cup sizes can be bewildering, but we hope that this guide will help you figure out which one is right for you. Just keep in mind that every day is a brew-tiful day for Starbucks.

Why are Starbucks cup sizes. named Tall, Grande, and Venti?

It depends on what you want to believe; some people believe it’s just a way to appear pretentious, while others believe it’s just a marketing trick to make you feel better about getting a Venti rather than a Grande.

But Howard Shulz, their former CEO, visited Italy in the 1980s and fell in love with the romanticism of the coffee culture there, and wanted to imitate it in his own stores in any way he could. 

He wanted to take coffee from a lousy cup of black coffee to the wide variety of milk-based espresso drinks that are presently available.

And as part of that, he brought the Italian variations of the name with him, which I’m sure became part of their branding but began as a nod to Italian coffee.

Secret Starbucks menu sizes

It depends on which Starbucks you visit, whether or not these sizes are shown on the menu, and whether or not you will be served these is hit or miss because not all locations offer all of the cup sizes. Because they don’t always appear on Menu boards, Short and Trenta are both regarded to be part of the Starbucks secret menu. However, if you inquire, there’s a strong possibility you’ll be able to order one. 

F.A.Q.

Can you order a Trenta frappuccino?

Starbucks has some very rigorous restrictions for their employees, despite the fact that there are allegedly 170,000 different Starbucks combinations. For example, they are not permitted to offer a Trenta Frappuccino because there is no code for it on the tilland they risk getting in serious trouble if they do so.

If you want to chant your mitt, get two Grande Frappuccinos in the same flavor and, once you’ve paid, ask if they can just put it in a Trenta cup.

There will b e silence, as well as stares, as the entire shop comes to a halt to look at you. Okay, it won’t just be a straight yes, so you’ll have to summon all your politeness to apologize profusely and explain that you understand they aren’t generally able to do this, but if they could, it would be fantastic, all while putting $5 in the tip jar.

Then, maye, they’ll say yes and explain that they don’t have a dome lid, but that you’ll be great with that and forever grateful.

Sounds like a lot of effort, doesn’t it? It is ,but therein lies the source of greatness.

Why is a cold Venti bigger than a hot Venti?

It’s a fairly straightforward reason. Starbucks wants you to obtain the same quantity of liquid beverage instead of paying less and getting less. Cold Ventis are created using ice, and Starbucks wants you to get the same amount of liquid beverage.

It’s actually a very well-thought-out system, since you get the dome lid to provide space for cream. 

What is a Small at Starbucks?

If you want a tiny size at Starbucks, request the Tall size. 

I still believe it is larger than a typical small, but based on their proportions, the tall is the one you desire. 

What is a Medium at Starbucks?

If you want a medium, you should choose a Grande size. 

What is a Large at Starbucks?

If you wish to order a big size, select the Venti option. 

What is a standard size drink at Starbucks? 

Starbucks’ normal size is the Grande, which is about similar to a medium. Despite the fact that this is the most usually requested size, you should still tell your barista at the counter what size drink you want.

What drinks come in Trenta size?

The Trenta cup from Starbucks is 30oz and is available for certain cold drinks. Only a few drinks are available in a Starbucks Trenta cup, and here’s the list. 

  • Iced Coffee
  • Cold Brew Coffee
  • Iced Tea
  • Lemonade Drinks
  • Refreshers Beverages

The Trenta size is not available for drinks with more intricate recipes, such as espresso drinks, frappuccinos, iced tea lattes, iced matcha drinks, blended drinks, and nitro cold brew. A Venti cup is also not available for nitro cold brew.

What size cup does a puppuccino come in?

Taking your dog through the drive-through? Order a puppuccino (Starbucks whipped cream in a cup) and it will be delivered in a short cup to your best pal. Simply request a sample or espresso cup if you like a smaller cup. This is a freebie, by the way.

What is kid-size at Starbucks?

Starbucks drinks for children are served in the tiniest cups. Cold drinks are served in the tall size cup, whereas heated drinks are served in the short size. For hot drinks, you can optionally request a kid’s temperature (130°F).

What sizes does Starbucks nitro cold brew come in?

Only the Tall and Grande sizes of Starbucks’ nitro cold brew beverages are available. Tall, Grande, Venti, Trenta are the sizes of regular cold brew. 

Final thoughts

That was a lot more detailed than I expected. But I hope it was helpful, and you may now confidently order at Starbucks.

How cynical of me to think that they eliminated the short and added Venti because it was what the public wanted, not because it would make them more money.

I’m still a big fan of the short size and think it’s the perfect size for a cup of coffee; if you haven’t tried one yet, you should.