Starbucks Tall vs Grande: Which One Should I Order?

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The Starbucks Tall versus Grande debate has been going on for years. But no more! In this post, I’ll define Starbucks Tall and Grande, then share how these sizes differ and which one you should order. 

Starbucks Tall vs Grande: Which One Should I Order?
Starbucks Tall vs Grande pn

History Of Starbucks Cup Sizes And Names

The Beginning

Everything began in 1982 when Howard Schultz joined Starbucks as Head of Marketing. Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker were the business’s owners at the time.

Starbucks Tall vs Grande: Which One Should I Order? 1
Source: Starbucks

In 1983, Schultz was dispatched on a business trip to Milan, where he fell in love with the Italian coffee bars and the city’s astounding 1500 coffee shops.

When he came back, he shared his plan to expand Starbucks. However, the owners were not enthusiastic about his plan to grow the chain.

The Split

Due to the disagreement between the owners and Schultz, he left the business in 1985 and opened his own coffee shop, Il Giornale, which was an immediate success.

In the meantime, the proprietors of Starbucks placed it up for sale in 1987. Schultz acquired it and Il Giornale eventually expanded and merged with the Starbucks brand.

Happily Ever After

Schultz grasped the opportunity to adopt the company structure he had observed in Milan. In the US, he wished to introduce the distinctive Italian coffee culture.

He utilized Italian names for the cup sizes, which accounts for Starbucks’ unique cup capacity. For instance, the Starbucks Venti cup can carry 20 ounces of hot coffee because the word “venti” means “twenty” in Italian.

Similar to how “Trenta” means “30” in Italian, a Starbucks Trenta beverage is 30 ounces in size.

Schultz did not stop at the Starbucks cup sizes only.

He also made sure there were distinctive names given to the drinks that sounded Italian. That’s how we have mocha, macchiato, cappuccino, a doppio or double shot espresso, and others.

Fun Fact: You can’t own a Starbucks franchise in the US and Canada.

The coffee chain has made a successful footprint in 80 countries around the world with exponential growth.

Starbucks Cups Sizes Explained

Simply refer to the below table to get the basic bearing on the Starbucks coffee sizes

Starbucks Cup nameVolume (fl oz)
Demi3
Short8
Tall12
Grande16
Venti (hot)20
Venti (cold)24
Trenta30

Demi

The demi size is used to serve a solo espresso shot or a doppio espresso and sometimes as sample cups as well.

This size is not available in all Starbucks stores and you’ll most likely be served espresso in a Short (8-ounce) cup if the store does offer it. 

You don’t need to go to Starbucks every time you want to drink out of a demi cup. You can buy the official stainless-steel Christmas edition online!

Short

The Short cup is 8 ounces and may not feature on the Starbucks menu board. This is a strategy to get you to buy one of the larger cup sizes.

But if you ask for any hot drink to be served in the Short cup, the barista will accommodate your request. It’s just that you can’t have a cold brew or any cold drinks in this size. 

Tall

At 12-ounces capacity is the Tall cup at Starbucks. The menu starts with this size, making it the smallest size you can order from a standard outlet even though the word tall may seem to mean large.

If you order hot and cold drinks in a Tall cup, you will get a shot of espresso for all drinks except flat whites, iced shaken espressos, and Americanos.

These drinks in the Tall size will contain two espresso shots. The Starbucks Tall cup is equal to two six-ounce cups of coffee

Grande

Even though Grande means large in French, it is considered Medium at Starbucks, having a size of 16 fl oz.

If you order an iced coffee or hot drinks in this cup, it will contain two shots of espresso. But in an Americano, a flat white, or an iced shaken espresso, the Grande size will have three shots of espresso. 

Fun Fact: A smoothie at Starbucks will come in the Grande size only.

The Grande cup at Starbucks is equal to 2½ cups (six-ounce cup) of coffee.

Venti

Venti hot drinks are served in a 20-ounce cup size while cold drinks like iced tea are served in a 24-ounce Venti cold size.

That’s because you need to make room for ice in the drink and Starbucks didn’t want to shortchange their customers by making them pay more for less coffee. Hence, the larger Venti size for iced beverages. 

Trenta

Lastly, the Trenta can hold 30 ounces of fluid. In this cup, you can have only cold drinks with ice.

Espresso drinks are not offered in the Trenta cup. 

Starbucks Tall vs Grande: Which One Should I Order? 2
Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks Tall vs Grande: What is the Difference Between Tall And Grande?

Starbucks Tall vs Grande
Starbucks Tall vs Grande

As explained above, the Starbucks Tall holds 12 fluid ounces while the Grande holds 16 fluid ounces of a beverage.

There has been some debate over the Starbucks drink sizes. Some people have even gone so far as to claiming that Starbucks has been misleading their customers by charging more for the same amount of hot and cold drinks.

One such claim was made by a singer in a TikTok video and he said that the coffee in both Tall and Grande cups is the same amount. In fact, the video shows that the Tall cup can hold more fluid than the Grande. Absurd, isn’t it?

The debate further goes on as there have been opinions on the Tall cup being wider and being able to hold more liquid than the taller albeit narrower Grande cup. 

That said, the experiment did not clearly show the bottom of the empty cups, raising eyebrows about whether the cups had something inside them already. 

Tall vs Grande Size Myths Debunked

For every experiment trying to prove that Tall and Grande are the same, other experiments have proved the opposite.

When the contents of the Tall (12 fl oz) cup are poured into the Grande cup (16 fl oz), it clearly shows that it still has exactly 4 fluid ounces of space left. Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

The experiment goes on to show the same results when the contents of the Grande cup are poured into a Venti cup and the Venti cup contents are added to the Trenta cup. 

A good number of Starbucks coffee fans from across the world have also come out with videos debunking the Tall Grande and Venti size myths. 

The Bottom Line

There are people who raise questions about the size or content of foods from different international chains. But all of the claims aren’t true all the time. 

In this day and age of social media, the quickest way to garner views and likes (and more moolah!) is to make outrageous claims.

Before jumping on the bandwagon and causing unnecessary controversy, take a moment to find out both sides of the story.

Thankfully, there are plenty of netizens with the right mind and the sense to refute false claims and prove the truth.

FAQs

What Is The Difference Between Tall And Grande At Starbucks?

The Tall cup size holds 12 ounces of fluid whereas the Grande size holds 16 fl oz of any drink. 

Should I Get A Tall Or Grande At Starbucks?

It depends on your personal preference and how much caffeine intake you are getting per a Tall vs Grande cup. 
The Tall cup uses one shot of espresso except for an Americano, flat white, or iced shaken espresso where two espresso shots are used. 
In the Grande cup size, two shots of espresso are used but three shots in an Americano, flat white, or iced shaken espresso. 
As a single espresso of 0.75 fl oz contains 75mg of caffeine, you can count the caffeine in Tall and Grande sizes as per the drinks you want to have. 
So, if you’re looking for a stronger caffeine kick, the Grande is the right choice for you.

Is Grande And Tall The Same?

No, the Grande cup size holds more liquid than the Tall cup – 16 fl oz as opposed to 12 fl oz. The Grande cup size is larger.

Why Is It Called Tall At Starbucks?

At Starbucks, the original drink sizes were Short, Tall, and Grande.
But when a larger size called Venti was introduced, Short had to be taken off the menu to make room for Venti.
That’s why the menu now starts with Tall, ironically the shortest size in many Starbucks stores.
Grande has hence become the medium size while the largest size is Venti.
However, you will still find the Short size in many Starbucks outlets. And there is an extra-large size called the Trenta.

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