What to know about Starbucks 2022 cup sizes

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They say don’t judge a person by their Starbucks order, but it’s less the pumpkin spice latte and the pink drink than it’s the cup sizes that are worth worrying about. No one really cares what is in your cup, per se, but how can you trust someone who doesn’t drink Venti until 7am? Caffeine aside, we all agree that it can be confusing to order different Starbucks Sizes.

Surely you have already noticed that Starbucks operates within its own size parameters. You won’t find a small, medium or large system at your local ‘Bucks’. Instead, the popular coffee conglomerate likes to complicate things (we say this in the most affectionate way possible) by altering their size, which makes it unique to their brand.

But it’s not just the size that’s confusing. The Starbucks cup you order can also impact your caffeine dosage…and it varies between hot and cold drinks as well.

So how is someone who needs coffee supposed to navigate the menu? Keep reading for all Starbucks sizes explained, ounce by ounce.

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Why are Starbucks sizes different?

Cup and drink sizes at Starbucks are different than at just about every other place, small, medium, and large. It is, of course, but surprisingly there is a real, albeit confusing, reason for it.

Starbucks was founded by Howard Schultz in 1983 during a trip to Italy. This is where, according to the Starbucks Website About PageSchultz became “captivated by Italian coffees and the romance of the coffee experience” and so decided to bring it to the United States

Related: 10 tips for getting a healthy, low-calorie Starbucks drink

Part of that experiment was creating an almost whimsical European vibe, which prompted Schultz to give cup sizes different names. Schultz wanted to get away from how Americans viewed coffee as a casual cup of coffee. He wanted it to be a live and conveying that meant a new image – a kind of rebranding.

In Italy, there were (and still are) very distinctive drink names: macchiato, latte, cappuccino, etc. Example.

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Now, if you speak even a tiny bit of Italian, you might have noticed that “grande” doesn’t mean “small” and “venti” doesn’t mean big. So what happened? Well, when the Starbucks brand finally expanded, it offered three coffee sizes: short, tall, and tall. Large was the biggest option.

But then Starbucks added the “venti” size in the 90s. “Venti” is Italian for “twenty,” as in 20 ounces.

Once venti entered the fray, “short” no longer meant “small,” and Starbucks basically moved everything. The “large” size became “small”, the “large” became “medium”, and “venti” was now the large 20 ounce size (more on that later).

Starbucks Sizes

Parade consulted Joel Irbya former Starbucks barista and shift manager from Nashville, TN, for additional insight into the many sizes of Starbucks.

Currently, Starbucks offers six different cup sizes:

  • Half
  • Short
  • High
  • Big
  • Sale
  • Thirty

Half (3 ounces)

If you’ve never heard of the demi size at Starbucks, you’re probably not an espresso drinker. Designed specifically for single or double espresso, “demi” is derived from half cupthe French word for “demi-tasse”.

“[A demi is] only hot,” says Irby. “This cup is used for espresso shots or small things like espresso con panna (espresso with a little whipped cream).

Short (8 ounces)

Starbucks Short Size Mug

Also only for hot drinks, Irby says “short” is the “smallest size for hot drinks. Comes with an espresso.”

Related: Try These 12 Starbucks Drinks From Their Secret Menu

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Large (12 ounces)

Starbucks Tall Cup Size

Available hot or iced, the tall size at Starbucks is a 12-ounce drink.

“That’s what you’d get if you ordered a small one,” says Irby. “The standard comes with an espresso. An iced espresso would also come in this cup as it is the smallest ice cup.”

Large (16 ounces)

Starbucks Large cup size option

Also available in hot or iced coffee options, a 16-ounce mug is the larger size and referred to as “large.”

“That’s what you would get if you ordered a stand,” says Irby. “The standard comes with two shots of espresso.”

Venti (20 ounces for hot beverages, 26 ounces for cold beverages)

Starbucks Venti Size, Hot, and Iced Cup Options

It was the Starbucks size that changed everything! Although “venti” means “twenty” in Italian, the amount of drink (and the amount of caffeine) you get when ordering a venti depends on whether you’re ordering hot or cold. A hot venti drink will net you 20 ounces as the name suggests; a venti cold drink is actually 26 oz.

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“That’s what you would get if you ordered a large,” adds Irby. “The standard comes with two knocks. [It’s the] larger size for hot drinks.”

Trenta (31 ounces)

Starbucks Trenta cup size

Only an option for frozen drinks at Starbucks, the “trenta” is a whopping 31 ounces – significantly larger than the capacity of the human stomach, according to Health line.

“This mug is for iced teas and coffees only,” says Irby. “There are no trenta-sized lattes or Frappuccinos. But for example, you can order a venti iced latte in a trenta cup if you want more ice cream.”

Which Starbucks drinks contain the most espresso?

When completing your Starbucks order, do you consider the amount of espresso included in each drink? This is how you know you are a true blue coffee lover. As you can probably guess, the amount of espresso in each drink varies by size, hot or cold, and even drinks made with or without milk.

So which Starbucks drinks contain the most espresso?

Short

As Irby explains, short drinks contain espresso. This includes short Americanos, as well as other milk-based drinks, such as lattes.

Related: Healthy Habits When Choosing a Starbucks Drink

High

Interestingly, Frappuccinos contain a shot of espresso no matter what size you order. Other milk-based tall drinks contain the same, but if you’re looking to get your money’s worth with a tall drink, order an Americano or a shaken espresso, both of which contain two shots of espresso.

Big

Most large drinks come with two shots of espresso. However, if you need more of a boost, try a large Americano or a shaken espresso (again). In a large size, your local barista will likely give you a third chance at prosperity.

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To hack the system, you can also always order a “flatte white latte”, which comes with an extra shot of ristretto – a shot of espresso from finely ground beans and less water.

Venti (hot) vs. Venti (cold)

A venti size also holds two shots of espresso. What you really get (or pay for) when you order a venti is more milk and syrup. But as you’ve noticed, the Americano is an old stalwart for those looking for more caffeine. If you order a venti (hot) Americano, you’ll end up with four heavenly shots of espresso.

With a cold venti you will get a third espresso with most drinks and a fourth for a shaken espresso.

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