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Grande, Venti & Trenta: What Do the Starbucks Names Literally Mean?

coffee cups

When you reflect on all the symbols, gestures, and phrases that bombard your everyday existence, you may find a panoply of simple words that are missing a definition. Case in point: how many times have you or a friend said “I’d like a venti latte” without pausing to consider what venti actually means?

First of all, here are the size options: tall (12 ounces), grande (16), venti (24), and trenta (31).

Let’s briefly address tall. This designation by the coffee company is considered by many to be a classic instance of corporate language manipulation. Tall sounds like small but means something close to the opposite. The result arguably encourages a consumer to think a little less about the size of his or her beverage as well as the size of the bill.

Grande is Italian for “large,” venti means “twenty,” and trenta is “thirty.” Why isn’t the 16-ounce size sedici (Italian for sixteen) instead? Perhaps because grande conjures associations with the English “grand.” Why not follow this logic and apply names that are evocative of English terms to the remaining two sizes? The less-familiar venti and trenta may help consumers forget the cost or calorie count of what they are about to drink.

Want to learn more about the lexicon of your morning cup of joe?

  • Unlock the poetic mystery of the origin of the word coffee here.
  • Who is the “Starbuck” that inspired the coffee chain’s name? We explore that here.

 

121 Comments

  1. Jeff Missinne -  October 26, 2014 - 2:51 pm

    Why don’t they change their name to Fivebucks Coffee?

    Reply
  2. asd -  March 19, 2014 - 6:00 am

    Spaniard here.

    What I find the strangest is that they use Italian words for quantities, then they use ounces instead of grams or litres…

    And why the sizes are so large? Just make more concentrated coffe.
    There’s a saying here, that American coffe tastes like dishwater (due to it being mostly water and little coffe).

    Reply
    • Uomo Senzanome -  April 2, 2014 - 1:42 am

      I agree, asd, I found it strange they use American measures with Italian numbers (

      If you want strong coffee in America, go to an Italian (or sometimes a French) cafe, or where they are located, Peets Coffee. If you want strong coffee at Starbucks, get a “depth charge” or a “coffee with a shot” [or several! two isn't much more expensive than 1] (coffee with a shot of espresso). Lots of Americans like that thin dishwater, I don’t know why they don’t just drink tea, I guess it’s a patriotic thing (see: Boston Tea Party).

      Reply
      • Jacqui -  April 4, 2014 - 5:38 pm

        Some of us think that dishwater tastes just like burnt dishwater and instead drink tea ;) Not all of us have taste buds that resemble poisoned berries.

        Reply
  3. June -  March 11, 2014 - 11:04 am

    I just started working at Sbx a few weeks ago and I’m not much of a coffee drinker so I’ve learned a lot from an outsider’s perspective. When someone orders a “medium,” well, there are four sizes so when we “reply in a foreign language” we are simply trying to make sure we are getting you the size you want! It’s company policy, not snobbishness. So don’t hate on us. We are simply doing our jobs.
    Also remember that “one shot” of espresso is ALWAYS TWO SHOTS. so without adding any extra shots a grande is FOUR shots! People ordering drinks with a quad shot (which is actually 8 shots of espresso)… I shake my head. If you need that much caffeine, get a tall drip! Drip coffee has much more caffeine than espresso and it costs $4 less.
    But I won’t judge your order I just make it. Venti triple 2 pump skinny mocha? coming right up ^_^

    Reply
  4. Fatties | Simon Rules! -  October 24, 2013 - 4:37 pm

    [...] another interesting post I found on Starbucks’ choice of naming. They say that the smallest size being called [...]

    Reply
  5. Cold Bruer: A Cold Brew Coffee System -  September 24, 2013 - 7:00 am

    [...] about taking matters into your hands for a more patient approach? And, ya know, not saying silly Italian words in public? The Cold Bruer ($50) offers a simple, do-it-yourself solution for cold java at home. The [...]

    Reply
  6. Nina -  August 24, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    If I’m gonna pay $5 a day for a triple grande nonfat latte, I deserve that free, trenta filtered ice water! Now, that’s what trenta is good for. ;)

    Reply
  7. [...] That thing up there is what happens when you and your friend grab a bite from Starbucks and wind up accidentally ordering the largest-sized drink. CAFFEINE OVERLOAD. (By the way, if anyone–like me–was curious about what the Starbucks drink sizes mean, here’s a brief explanation.) [...]

    Reply
  8. Lisa -  July 30, 2013 - 8:47 am

    One does not have to include cream and/or sugar in their tall, grande, venti or trenta coffee. Starbucks has the best iced coffee and I like it with fat-free milk, no sweetener, just as I drink all of my coffee, approximately a quart a day, Starbucks or not.

    Reply
  9. Gumby2104 -  July 29, 2013 - 8:30 am

    “coffee” and “too much” do not coexist!

    Reply
  10. Myrddin -  July 8, 2013 - 1:22 am

    Okay, everyone always says stuff like “why would you want that much coffee?” but you should really consider the fact that when you get a 31 ounce cup of iced coffee, they fill the cup 3/4 with ice. So you’re not REALLY getting 31 ounces of coffee, sugar and milk, are you? (especially if you’re like me and drink it pretty quick so it’s not even getting 31 ounces of watered down coffee and milk as I don’t do sugar)

    Although, honestly, even if it WASNT for the ice and I was getting 31 ounces of coffee…what business is it of yours if I’m drinking that much coffee?

    Reply
  11. JW -  March 11, 2013 - 10:58 am

    Lets not get all excited about anti-American/Texan comments. Anyone who was stationed in Europe knows that while the cups are smaller, Brits drink 8oz cups of tea continually (8+8+8+8+8+8…) and the Italians/Turks/Saudis do the same with coffee and the Germans same with pils. The difference is that Americans are all about convenience and we’d rather just get it once in a giant Jim Miller mug (and refill for free) than pay for the same amount in 15 tiny cups.

    Also of note, Euros pay money for nearly every toilet so as Americans who hold “access to the gas station/restaurant toilet” as a civil rights issue…Euros will not allow you to pee off a Buck-ee’s bucket of coffee for free.

    Don’t act like they don’t do it they just get taxed for doing it so only the wealthy GET to do it. It only looks like a better system because of “grass is greener” and you’ve never lived there and of course you have been told to envy them since college.

    Reply
  12. Bob -  October 23, 2012 - 6:25 am

    Why use Venti for 20 ounces when Italians do not even use ounces? The use metric. This is an attempt by Starbucks to sound cool using Italian words.

    Reply
  13. TheMechanicalGirl999 -  June 14, 2012 - 6:39 am

    @Nicola @Ms.Karma

    She posted them in Spanish. I believe that since they both have similar origins from Latin and thus share similar words that she must have thought that they had the same spellings for numbers without doing any research to prove to the contrary.

    Reply
  14. better than a milkshake -  April 10, 2012 - 10:51 am

    Coffee shops use the bizarre size names so that pre-existing sizes don’t have to be renamed when new sizes are introduced. Albeit, Starbucks did start out with short and tall rather than small and large. But the main point is that if they had started out with small and large rather than short and tall, then added three sizes larger than the large (which is the case if you include the treinta), and stopped offering the small, they’d have ended up with coffees sized large, extra large, extra extra large and extra extra extra large. Either that, or customers would need to figure out the new names of the sizes they want each time a new size is introduced.

    That having been said, when I don’t know what sizes equal what amounts in a coffee shop, I generally ask how big their smalls and mediums are and then select the one I want. This has always worked.

    Reply
  15. TheNewFword -  March 8, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    WHY name a 31oz drink TRENTA, when really, 31 in Italian is TRENTUNO?

    Reply
  16. J A -  January 27, 2012 - 7:29 am

    pretentious b s

    Reply
  17. paige -  November 10, 2011 - 12:30 pm

    I believe Starbucks mentioned that the trenta was introduced more for their lemonades and cold teas.

    Reply
  18. Kevin -  January 25, 2011 - 8:13 am

    Just another excuse for the authoritarian class to be outraged.

    Reply
  19. reikiaddict -  January 22, 2011 - 11:10 am

    BTW, Seattle’s Best IS Starbucks.

    People don’t know how to read. This size is strictly for cold beverages only.

    Reply
  20. bantigg -  January 22, 2011 - 8:05 am

    For me, the number of shots in each coffee is more important than the total amount of the beverage. It’s my understanding that a Short and a Tall espresso beverage each have one shot, so I never get the larger, which just has more milk. Shandi, give us the goods!

    Reply
  21. gary303 -  January 22, 2011 - 7:04 am

    (\(\
    (‘_’)
    I I
    (___)
    I II I
    ___ __

    Reply
  22. gary303 -  January 22, 2011 - 7:02 am

    p.s. gary303 is my awesome gamer code name
    >:) >:( XD :I

    Reply
  23. gary303 -  January 22, 2011 - 6:57 am

    cien=100, no es ciento
    lol mis amigos
    me gusta voy a la biblioteca con mi familia.
    yo hablo espanol y ingles
    hi peeps i am one awesome spamish speaker
    ;) :0

    Reply
  24. Vienna -  January 21, 2011 - 9:20 pm

    I’ve always wondered about that! Thanks, Hot Word!

    Reply
  25. remus -  January 21, 2011 - 10:53 am

    if you think to something to eat you can only use an italian word – go to italy and you will verify it

    Reply
  26. One Cup of Black Coffee, Please « Red Twilight -  January 21, 2011 - 7:44 am

    [...] by Avra-Sha Faohla on January 21, 2011 A few days ago, Dictionary.com’s Hot Word got me thinking about coffee, and that’s why in my last post I mentioned that I wanted to try [...]

    Reply
  27. Shandi -  January 21, 2011 - 1:23 am

    1) Short is actally the smallest at 8 oz.
    2) Venti is actually a 20 oz cup when it’s a hot beverage. 24 when it’s iced.
    3) The Trenta is actually technically 31 oz, but on the bottom of the cup it has a “30″ imprinted.
    4) I cannot tell you how many customers I serve SEVERAL refills a day with unsweetened iced tea or unsweetened iced coffee in their iced venti cups. This only saves them a trip or two while Starbucks sees the 40 some odd cents from those who have registered Starbucks cards who normally wouldn’t pay for refills anyway. Time utility = 40 more cents! :-)

    And just to be clear, you can only get iced teas/iced tea lemonades/iced coffees in these bad boys. So the amount of sugar we dish out in those Trentas at MY store is still quite minimal as most get unsweetened at my store.

    Reply
  28. dang -  January 20, 2011 - 9:20 pm

    don’t make it more complicated..just leave it as it is! >:*

    Reply
  29. LLOOPP -  January 20, 2011 - 4:52 pm

    Its funny how coffee sparks a million comments :D

    Reply
  30. Barista Manquee -  January 20, 2011 - 8:15 am

    I’m a regular Venti drinker. It should be noted that a Venti is only two shots of espresso. Espresso has slightly less caffeine in it than regular coffee because of the brewing process. The rest is milk. I drink mine with nonfat milk and no sugar.

    In other words, the stimulant effect and calorie count of the Trenta are probably being overstated. I also haven’t read that Starbucks intends to offer Trenta lattes.

    Reply
  31. Luciano -  January 20, 2011 - 3:58 am

    Vendi is the second personal singular of present indicative of the verb vendere (to sell). In other words, vendi = you sell.

    Reply
  32. Teri -  January 19, 2011 - 10:40 pm

    Steve… I love olives, no matter the size :)

    John…Do you get a big-ass coffee when you ask for it? I’d really like to know. If I want one I say “LAREGE” if I want a medium…I say medium……..so silly, If I want a small, you got it. I’m really diesapointed that these little wanta be coffee officianatos working there dont even know what you mean when using regular “english” to communicate. I have requested a “strong dark roast” even with an extra shot and don’t get anything NEAR that. I usually get a stale weak “coffee” Shame shame shame

    It’s sad. Ssssssssso, I have to resort to relying on myself to buy a good oily looking bean at the local market to get what I desire ……………….or I should say REQUIRE!

    Sincerely,
    Teri

    Reply
  33. smooki -  January 19, 2011 - 4:15 pm

    hi everyone i love starbucks
    hola amigos me encanta starbucks

    Reply
  34. Janet -  January 19, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    How about just Plenti

    Reply
  35. anon -  January 19, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    Actually, I suppose the correct concern is that “Your drink will warm up to room/ambient temperature before you can finish it”.

    Reply
  36. Winsie -  January 19, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    I have gone 90 days today without a cup of coffee after drinking it for over 30 years and I am loving it.

    Reply
  37. Saf -  January 19, 2011 - 10:49 am

    31 ounces of coffee, iced or hot, has about five calories. Maybe not even that. It’s the flavored syrups and cream that make you fat. I’ve been drinking black coffee since I was nine years old — I consume two or three (8-cup) pots a day at this point (I’m 27), and am the picture of good health.

    That being said, I am very picky about coffee. I’m not pretentious enough to refer to Starbucks as “Charbucks” in public as I’ve heard certain others do, but I will agree that they roast their espresso beans to a flavorless crisp. It’s what I’d expect from a greasy all-night diner, but not from a coffee shop — and certainly not at their prices.
    I’ll also agree with RKP that nobody-but-nobody knows how to make a good cup of coffee.

    A side-note: The article did specify that the new size was for iced beverages, so all the “Your drink will get cold before you can finish it” comments are completely true!

    ~Saf

    Reply
  38. Small Potatoes -  January 19, 2011 - 9:58 am

    Error: “Perhaps the as the names of drink sizes shift from the most familiar…” Extra “the.”

    Reply
  39. lee -  January 19, 2011 - 9:57 am

    A note to starbucks, how about using ENGLISH since you are located in the USA not meheeco.

    Reply
  40. josette -  January 19, 2011 - 7:54 am

    have you ever noticed that when you order in plain old english, “i would like a medium sized, sugar-free coffee” you get the order repeated back to you in Starbuckian….”So..you want a grande, skinny..”? trying to learn spanish is enough for me, i don’t need a third language.

    Reply
  41. Wrasfish -  January 19, 2011 - 6:31 am

    Marketing experts have been doing it to us for years. That which we call a “kiwi” is known in New Zealand as a Chinese gooseberry. Red snapper used to be called slimefish. Ocean trout used to be called weakfish. We Americans have never seen a real canteloupe unless we have been to Europe; those things we buy are actually muskmelons. In the 70s, marketers tried to sell us “buysuites” but they were too late–people were already embracing the technical term “condominium.”

    There is a Waffle House immediately next door to my local Starbucks; guess where I get my coffee. Besides, Waffle House also serves grits.

    Reply
  42. deanna -  January 19, 2011 - 6:02 am

    Nel,
    Americans have been programmed to want more…
    by marketing companies and who employees marketing
    companies…Starbucks does!!!

    I certainly do not want or need a 31 oz drink.

    Reply
  43. Sarah -  January 19, 2011 - 5:56 am

    Here in the UK, we have Starbucks as well
    I was in Westfields (London) once, ordering some iced tea and I say t to the barista:
    “Could I please have a medium mango…(blah blah blah)”
    He blinks, looks at me with some half-contorted expression and simple replies
    “You mean grande.”

    I stood there, looked right back at him and said
    “No. I mean medium, thank you.”

    Bloody hell, vende granti….whatever the hell their weird language is.

    Small.Medium.Large. Hell, even EXTRA Large. Meaning’s still clear.

    The Costa’s elsewhere didn’t seem to find a problem with
    ‘Large Cuppa, please’

    Yeah.
    Not a fan.

    Reply
  44. Emma -  January 19, 2011 - 3:54 am

    Don, would you like some crackers with your cheese?

    Reply
  45. alysha -  January 19, 2011 - 3:17 am

    ‘sedici’ is spelt right :)

    Reply
  46. Gblaze -  January 19, 2011 - 1:51 am

    zipurlip2… A thick layer of foam on a cappuccino serves to insulate the beverage allowing you to drink it at your leisure, as opposed to gulping down the espresso shot at once. Letting a cappuccino cool down really defeats the idea of having that layer of insulation; it’s also no longer a beverage you can sprinkle chocolate or cinnamon on and consume with a spoon. Making coffee at home will always be much more economical… and not many people have a steaming wand at home, either.

    The thirty ounce beverage only comes in the clear plastic cups, they’re not intended for hot beverages of any kind.

    And as for the marketing lingo… you’re right that’s how it’s been all along: starting with Short and Tall… eventually Grande (Big) and even further down the line Venti (20)… which brings us to where we are today, Trenta (30). They’ve simply chosen to confuse you by keeping things the same. Marketers are going to mislead you your whole life, it’s kinda their job.

    As for everyone saying, “Who’s going to finish all that coffee?” Trust me, I serve the junk and people would order even bigger sizes if we offered ‘em. People have been eating and drinking in excess since ancient times… nothing surprising here.

    Reply
  47. john k lindgren -  January 19, 2011 - 1:22 am

    “Friends don’t let friends go to Starbucks”
    BangkokJohnny
    Royaume de Thailande

    Reply
  48. Alan Turner -  January 19, 2011 - 1:00 am

    PS. I forgot to add the question mark. (?)

    Reply
  49. Alan Turner -  January 19, 2011 - 12:59 am

    How can so many people write such drivel about crap

    Reply
  50. cutiepup12 -  January 19, 2011 - 12:20 am

    Woah!31 ounces of coffee!?!?!?!?! NO WAY!!!!!!!

    Reply
  51. Jejemon -  January 19, 2011 - 12:18 am

    Whatever their names is, its all about “Starbucks” they were advertised the product..what should do is we’d love the coffee with cigarret smoke..and
    I will agree with Miss jen…Marketing strategy.

    Reply
  52. boo boo : ) -  January 18, 2011 - 9:38 pm

    Open mouth wide, and yawn.

    Reply
  53. a. -  January 18, 2011 - 8:27 pm

    i work for starbucks. your commentary is missing some inside informations, as well as one whole sbux size: the SHORT.

    the tale goes like this:
    once upon a time starbucks was not a huge corporation, and its focus was coffee. there were two sizes: the short, and the tall. ah, logic flowed over the land. then the company had to deal with the greedy american appetite. enter the GRANDE (LARGE). short, tall, grande. all was still well. then the company had to deal with their greedy pockets, enter the venti, logically named for the 20 oz. the HOT cup contains. the greedy meets greedy does. the end.

    Reply
  54. Robert -  January 18, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    Gee, who can’t type today!?

    I mean, of course, “make” in line 3 and “coffee” in line 4

    Sorry guys

    Reply
  55. Robert -  January 18, 2011 - 8:23 pm

    Many Starbucks stores in Sydney, Australia, closed and the company moved their efforts to China. Here we have many Italian, Greek and Lebanese immigrants so there are many cafes with baristas from those places who can m,ake a good cup of cofee. Starbucks would have found that very hard to compete with.

    Reply
  56. freddy fudbucker -  January 18, 2011 - 8:08 pm

    it means they can charge yuppies exorbitant prices for coffee ?

    Reply
  57. Coribon -  January 18, 2011 - 8:07 pm

    North Americans (Americans) tend to have bad eating habits. England surprisingly mirrors the American eating style as well as many other wealthy first nation countries such as sniffle Canada. People can eat as much as they want if they exercise the equivalent amount of time per calories then the life style would be balanced. The key to all things is balance.

    Reply
  58. her... -  January 18, 2011 - 6:15 pm

    this is weird
    i like dunkin donuts better

    Reply
  59. Cathy -  January 18, 2011 - 5:40 pm

    WTF!! so much discussion about coffee at Starbucks? They should pay you guys for advertising

    Reply
  60. アイリ -  January 18, 2011 - 5:34 pm

    Seriously…
    I knew the origin of Starbucks’ name in fourth grade. It’s named after Captain Starbuck from Moby Dick.

    Also, why the heck did I see this on the news? I don’t get that.

    Reply
  61. Jahn Ghalt -  January 18, 2011 - 5:28 pm

    Maggie/Coyote,

    Born in 1958, the use of “their” and “his/her” are both jarring to my exquisitely-trained ear.

    In the pre-feminist “old days”, the Queen’s english demanded “his” in that context.

    In current post-feminist days, “her” is used more and more – still a bit jarring, but still preferable to “their” and “his/her”.

    As to Starbucks; I avoid it, especially since Jackie Mason humorously ridiculed them and their imitators (in a late 90s Weekly Standard) – in comparision to the classic “bottomless cup” found in the classic American Diner.

    Now diner coffee is often not so good – never comparable to a cafe americano – but American food and drink continue to improve, and diner coffee is much better than it used to be.

    After twice getting the unexpectedly small “tall cafe americano”, when I relent and order coffee at Starbucks, I specify the number of fl. oz.

    To Kelli, thanks for the “short” (8 oz) tip. In return, I offer the “grill order” at MacDonalds (from my hitch there in 1976) which is not as uesful as it once was, but which will assure a hot sandwich done the way you want.

    Reply
  62. ms.karma -  January 18, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    Nicola on January 18, 2011 at 1:17 am
    >thanks for the correct spelling of the terms. we use those here in the philippines. people especially the locals use those but not exactly spelt or pronounced like italian. thanks again nicola.

    Reply
  63. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  January 18, 2011 - 4:43 pm

    Okay, okay … Inasmuch as I don’t drink coffee (because nobody-but-nobody knows how to make coffee the right way), I’ll back out of this discussion; But leave it to say that I did-like Starbucks’ Almond Crunch ice cream (it was a non-coffee ice cream), but they don’t sell it any more to find here.

    Reply
  64. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  January 18, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    The -obvious- reason they don’t call the 16 oz, a “Sedici,” is that there are two, sizes both in the decadal range … (and maybe because it rhymes with, “Medici,” which is storywise synonymous with poisonous liquors…).

    But maybe we could convert them to French and call the 12 oz, a ‘doozie’. (Fr. douze)

    Reply
  65. retza3000 -  January 18, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    Sorry about my apparently repeated though slightly different comment.

    Reply
  66. retza3000 -  January 18, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    Coffee has no nutritional value at all. Starbucks coffee is so full of creme and sugar that I’m sure they have negative nutrition (yes, I am aware this is impossible, but in this case it might as well be true ). And while I am already writing, I shall let out a bit of a rant and say that surely Starbucks is taking over the world. Their convenient, overpriced, sugar-pumped coffee tantalizes curiosities and draws people away from Mom & Pop shops to their greedy corporation. As a change of conversation, 30 ounces is cuckoo. They must be entirely off their rockers. Nobody needs to have 30 ounces of anything. In response to the person above, Jen, having three coffees in succession is so different because it is a new fresh cup thrice. A “Trenta” will simply get cold before you can finish it, unless you prefer to chug your drinks. Frankly, I think Starbucks is making enough off unfortunates as it is and they shan’t tempt people with a bigger, better, more expensive drink. Aren’t Americans large enough as it is ? Do we truly need 30 ounces of calories, fat, and sugar ?

    Reply
  67. retza3000 -  January 18, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Coffee has no nutritional value at all. Starbucks coffee is so full of creme and sugar that I’m sure they have negative nutrition (yes, I am aware this is impossible, but in this case it might as well be true ). And while I am already writing, I shall let out a bit of a rant and say that surely Starbucks is taking over the world. Their convenient, overpriced, sugar-pumped coffee tantalizes curiosities and draws people away from Mom & Pop shops to their greedy corporation. I am not saying it doesn’t taste good. A caramel frappachino every now and then definitely will not kill you. Their moral standards are so different in real life. As a change of conversation, 30 ounces is cuckoo. They must be entirely off their rockers. Nobody needs to have 30 ounces of anything. In response to the person above, Jen, having three coffees in succession is so different because it is a new fresh cup thrice. A “Trenta” will simply get cold before you can finish it, unless you prefer to chug your drinks. Frankly, I think Starbucks is making enough off unfortunates as it is and they shan’t tempt people with a bigger, better, more expensive drink. Aren’t Americans large enough as it is ? Do we truly need 30 ounces of calories, fat, and sugar ?

    Reply
  68. Annette -  January 18, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    I only drink green tea at Starbucks, so “grande” or larger is grand for me – no calories!

    “Venti” reminds me of “vent” (frustration, anger, etc) – negative connotations.

    “Trenta” sounds good and “trendy”.

    Reply
  69. bboyfili -  January 18, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    ok starbucks is doing this now? ok come on this is ridiculous everything should be enjoyed in modertion,, ok im a freshman in high school and almost every one of my classmates comes to school with cofee, energy drink, but they are small usually,, now okay whatever fine thats cool,, but if they were to come in with a 31 oz. drink, nearly a liter? wow shows what america has come too,, jeez

    Reply
  70. Sareg -  January 18, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    I hope that in addition to the debatable names, Starbucks does not also hide the size of the cups of coffee under a napkin when they serve them, because then there really might be something to complain about here.

    Reply
  71. Helen -  January 18, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    @ John on January 18, 2011 at 5:33 am : I am right there with you, man.
    I have never ordered anything from them using their silly, pretentious little nicknames, chosen to convey “classiness”no doubt.
    I just ask for large. Bonus fun when the (speaking of pretentious) Barista responds with “you mean Venti(r)?”. Me: “Large.”
    Useta think I was all stickin’ it to The Man but realised that it’s really because I find using their names embarrassing.

    Reply
  72. maymay -  January 18, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    i think starbucks is just trying to compare with coffee bean and tea leafs 32 ounces sized drink

    Reply
  73. deedee -  January 18, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    grande means big so the big cup is grande and the other words are like small

    Reply
  74. vigilante -  January 18, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    Pokemons like to drink coffee too?

    Reply
  75. Elizabeth -  January 18, 2011 - 2:31 pm

    Obviously, Bill, you have never been a nurse.

    Reply
  76. Spawn -  January 18, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    I would think that the terms come from the spanish.

    Reply
  77. Andrew -  January 18, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    When I heard this on the news I was thinking, “Why did Starbucks name their coffee ‘Thirty’?”

    Reply
  78. Blake -  January 18, 2011 - 1:03 pm

    So true why would someone need that much coffee anyway? good increase in size but i don’t think anyone will finish it… anyone agree?

    Reply
  79. Mikey Mike -  January 18, 2011 - 12:51 pm

    30 ounces of coffee is too much? According to whom? There is a lot of debate in the medical community regarding the harm or benefit of coffee.

    I drink a ton of it daily, my blood pressure is fine and my dental hygenist says my teeth are among the cleanest she sees.

    Soooo…two trentas to go, please!

    Reply
  80. Shannyn -  January 18, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    Why on earth would anyone drink a litre of coffee? I mean, I love coffee … but not that much. I’m a ‘long black’ kind of girl anyway.

    It’s kind of like those giant energy drinks they’re making. Why any 15-year-old would need to drink a litre of battery acid to stay on the ball beats me.

    Reply
  81. Bob Smith -  January 18, 2011 - 11:59 am

    You spelled “sixteen” wrong in Italian. It’s seidici.

    Reply
  82. wench -  January 18, 2011 - 11:59 am

    means about as much to me as naming them moe, larry and curly…and adding shemp.

    as kelli stated above, i order a small, medium, or large..and they have no problem understanding me

    Reply
  83. trist -  January 18, 2011 - 11:39 am

    I think that it doesn’t matter if they have a larger cup so forget about it.

    Reply
  84. zipurlip2 -  January 18, 2011 - 10:46 am

    Love this site …lots of witty people.

    As for the coffee angle, I once allowed my cup of cappuccino to cool and took a sip. Never again. I got a mouthful of fatty substance that was simply super sweet. It was always there, but not so delightful cooled. So now, I make my own potful of coffee at home (and it takes about a minute to do) lightly sweetened. Saves me money and calories.

    BTW, how would you hold a cup of 31oz of super hot liquid? Will it come w/a pot holder??? I would think those cute sleeves wouldn’t do the job. Then by the time you reach the midway point, the coffee wouldn’t be at the right temp. any more!

    As for the marketing lingo, that kind of thing has been happening all along. It’s no secret that customers are thought to be wallets with skin.

    Reply
  85. Jen -  January 18, 2011 - 10:41 am

    Granted, coffee from home is more affordable, but I am not opposed to the larger serving size. It is nothing for me to have three cups of coffee in one sitting, the soon-to-be Trenta would just be combining these into one cup. Saves me from having to take multiple travel mugs with me to work! Then again, I would probably take my coffee through an IV line if it was offered…

    Reply
  86. Laur -  January 18, 2011 - 10:28 am

    The reason Italy doesn’t have a Starbucks store yet, is a result of the “Slow Food Movement”. This movement is a backlash against fast-food chains, and promotes eating and cooking non-processed foods. This is besides the fact that Starbucks completely ruined good espresso by burning it and adding in crazy, overtly sweet syrups. No Italian in their right mind would drink the stuff.

    Reply
  87. DIVVIE -  January 18, 2011 - 9:23 am

    I only wish I could afford to patronize Starbucks. However, it is far too hip and far too ultra-contemporary for this old codger, not to mention costly.

    Reply
  88. Cyberquill -  January 18, 2011 - 9:22 am

    If I ran a coffee shop, I’d call them Venti, Milli, and Billi.

    Reply
  89. Coyote -  January 18, 2011 - 8:50 am

    In response to Maggie,

    I have to correct you. There should be no reason for you to criticize their use of “their” in that sentence. Using “his or her” or “his/hers” or other such iterations of gender-based pronouns conjoined “or” is improper in formal usage. Try using it in a college paper, you will be marked off.

    Their use of “their” is proper, as “their” is not inherently plural but rather merely gender-neutral. Furthermore, you can look here for their definition of “their”: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/their.

    I suppose you could argue with them on their definition if you like, but other online dictionaries agree or at least acknowledge the usage: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/their, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/their, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/search/british/?q=their&x=50&y=1, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/their?view=uk.

    Just a friendly correction. I write as a hobby so I try to be on top of these things.

    Reply
  90. Rickedy Rick -  January 18, 2011 - 8:41 am

    Dey gonna put half ove de cup for ice? Is dat how you “shtupid shtudents” and cooler-than-thou latte freakazodes eat them? Oh vell. Even if it’s not ove de half full for ice, you watch-your-weight weight-watchers and hipsters probably dont know that you’ll be ingesting a litre of heavy farm creme per latte! When I was yung, latte didn’t make you cool, it was called coffee with creme in its! The peoples that drinks this is that same ones that jog at traffic lights and make grandiose poses when dey drink from dere water bottles! I see you at Chapters, baby! I see u!!!

    Reply
  91. Cole -  January 18, 2011 - 8:11 am

    Nel got it right. “Tall” was originally the taller of the two available sizes. “Grande” was at one time the biggest offering. “Venti” definitely signifies the number of ounces in the hot drink size. (Cold Venti drinks have 24 ounces, but the name stayed consistent with the hot beverage name.) Even though offerings continue to change, the names just stick because consumers are so accustomed to them.

    Side note: “Trenta” is only available in cold beverages and does not include cold lattes or frappuccinos. Just Iced Coffees and Iced Teas. :)

    Reply
  92. Kelli -  January 18, 2011 - 8:02 am

    At Starbucks, a Short is 8 ounces. It’s not printed on the menu, but is indeed available. On the rare visit to one of their stores, I refuse to use fancy and misleading language; I use the agreed-upon national standards old small, medium, and large. And funny, the workers never have trouble understanding me.

    If I want something tall, it’s gonna be beer! (Tall Yuengling, anyone??)

    Reply
  93. Who'da'thunk -  January 18, 2011 - 7:53 am

    So basically, “Grande,” “Venti,” and now “Trenta,” are lingo developed by the Marketing department that doesn’t precisely mean anything, only just a vague reference to something, so the consumer has a general idea of what they are getting before they plunk down their hard-earned cash for an extravagant sounding cup of joe.

    Reply
  94. Maggie -  January 18, 2011 - 7:26 am

    I love the Hot Word Blog because it’s one of the few intelligent blogs left on the internet. So I was pretty disappointed to see “The result arguably encourages a consumer to think a little less about the size of their beverage as well as the size of their bill.” If a single consumer is being referred to, it’s “his or her,” not “their.” Come on guys, this IS a blog that focuses on language after all…

    Reply
  95. Iris -  January 18, 2011 - 6:59 am

    Does it come with a motorman’s friend or do you just use the empty cup (or the prior one) for that?

    Reply
  96. Gerard -  January 18, 2011 - 6:47 am

    Nel….I followed you until the second paragraph. I think at that point the retard (Ruh-tahrd) gene must have kicked in, as you became a blithering idiot. Enjoy your coffee.

    Reply
  97. Jeri -  January 18, 2011 - 6:30 am

    The words “venti” and “trenta” are Italian words for 20 and 30. I think you will find the others translate as well. Not a real mystery.

    Reply
  98. Kevin Carney -  January 18, 2011 - 6:28 am

    Starbuck was Captain Ahab’s first mate in the novel Moby Dick.

    Reply
  99. Tom Toimans -  January 18, 2011 - 5:59 am

    31 ounces are 916 ml, aren’t they !? Almost one liter of coffee! You have my respect.

    Reply
  100. C64girl -  January 18, 2011 - 5:40 am

    I’ve just had to convert that and it turns out it’s nearly a litre of coffee. That’s pretty disgusting.

    Reply
  101. marisa -  January 18, 2011 - 5:38 am

    Hi! Funny thing is that in Italy we don’t have yet a single Starbucks cafè!

    Reply
  102. John -  January 18, 2011 - 5:33 am

    I never bothered to learn their “corporate-speak”. Tall, Windy, Grandioso, I don’t care. I walk in there and order a “Big Ass Coffee”. I’m the customer, we speak MY language.

    Reply
  103. Steve -  January 18, 2011 - 5:23 am

    In a future blog, how about exploring the classifications of olives. Talk about hyperbole.

    Reply
  104. Yellow01 -  January 18, 2011 - 5:01 am

    And for all the rest of the world, including Italy:
    * 31 oz is around a massive 0.927 litre,
    * Italy is the country where people drink 2 oz coffees.

    Reply
  105. STARBUCKS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  January 18, 2011 - 5:01 am

    [...] ain’t that hip no more. — Screw the Starbuck indoctrination language. — Extra Large at Dunkin’ Donuts is enough to give us what we [...]

    Reply
  106. Crystal -  January 18, 2011 - 4:54 am

    Thirty ounces of coffee, jesus.

    Reply
  107. Gregory & Gloria -  January 18, 2011 - 4:16 am

    We think that is very surreptitious of Starbucks. It is a very efficient way to gather customers and make a good-sized profit. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is very benificial to the American society. As we all know, most Americans are overweight, and coffee only increases these standards of our nation.

    Reply
  108. Ezekiel Rage -  January 18, 2011 - 2:27 am

    Paragraph 2:

    “How much larger than a Venti, which is 24 ounces, IS A TRENTA?”

    Reply
  109. Anucat -  January 18, 2011 - 2:03 am

    then what is vendi????????

    Reply
  110. Maggie -  January 18, 2011 - 2:03 am

    Thank you, Nel.

    Reply
  111. Nicola -  January 18, 2011 - 1:17 am

    Hot Word is finally right. Starbucks sizes are named after Italian words. @ms.karma: Nice try, but they weren’t the correct spellings. Here they are:

    10 = dieci
    20 = venti
    30 = trenta
    40 = quaranta
    50 = cinquanta
    60 = sessanta
    70 = settanta
    80 = ottanta
    90 = novanta
    100 = cento

    -Nicola

    Reply
  112. Nicola -  January 18, 2011 - 1:16 am

    Hot Word is finally right. Starbucks sizes are named after Italian words. @ms.karma: Nice try, but they weren’t the correct spellings. Here they are:

    10 = dieci
    20 = venti
    30 = trenta
    40 = quaranta
    50 = cinquanta
    60 = sessanta
    70 = settanta
    80 = ottanta
    90 = novanta
    100 = cento

    Reply
  113. Don -  January 18, 2011 - 12:14 am

    The only reason I ever purchase a Venti is to get two Talls for not much more than the price of one to share with my sweetheart for life.

    Reply
  114. Nel -  January 17, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    Actually, to add a little on the explanation, when the stores opened they only offered two sizes: the “Short” (espresso shot, basically), and the “Tall” as it was taller than the short.
    Due to the American way of wanting more-more-more (SuperSize me please!) they had to come up with larger cups throughout the years. The sizes became Italian from then on (as explained above) with “Grande” meaning “Large”, “Venti” for being 20oz, and the brand-new-not-available-everywhere-as-it-is-still-in-testing-stage (not everyone wants 30oz of coffee, but some do. Please the customer is a business’ motto if they want to grow and make money, right?) “Trenta” meaning 30.

    Reply
  115. ms.karma -  January 17, 2011 - 11:00 pm

    bente = 20
    trenta = 30
    kwarenta = 40
    singkwenta = 50
    saisenta = 60
    sitenta = 70
    otsenta = 80
    nobenta = 90

    haha. dunno.

    Reply
  116. Bill -  January 17, 2011 - 10:52 pm

    And just who would need a single ounce shy of a QUART of strong coffee (not to mention the sugar and cream) in a Trenta? That’s as bad at the Interstate 10 gas station come-ons in Texas touting 64oz Cokes with free refills.

    I’m wishing I had decided to be a cardiologist instead of a translator and writer. As the Starbucks generations grows up, there’s money to be made!

    Reply

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