Does the short and tall sizing come from Starbucks or did Starbucks adopt it?

In my understanding short and tall are generic terms, but when I left Seattle (and in Seattle when I came back) it seemed there was a stigma against the terms because they were from Starbucks. Did Starbucks introduce these terms, and then other places in Seattle adopted it? Were the terms a part of Seattle coffee culture and Starbucks, as a part of that culture, used it too?

Maybe Seattle has nothing to do with it—I just know that in Seattle more non-Starbucks places use the same lexicon than elsewhere.

1 Answer 1


The Short, Tall, and other sizing names are adopted by Starbucks to denote their own serving sizes. Any use in terms of coffee-serving sizes were coined initially by Starbucks which subsequently led to other coffee shops following suit as an established method.

The list of sizes are as follows:

  • Short 8 fl. oz. / 240mL
  • Tall 12 fl. oz. / 350mL
  • Grande (Big in Italian) 16 fl. oz. / 470mL
  • Venti (Twenty in Italian) 20 fl. oz. / 590mL for hot drink or 24 fl. oz. / 710mL for cold drink
  • Trenta (Thirty in Italian) 30 fl. oz. / 920mL

As you can see these words are fairly generic but are used in this way as size-naming convention by Starbucks.

Costa also uses a different size-naming convention based off of Italian words.

  • 1
    Do you have a source for this? And when did Starbucks start using these terms? Thanks
    – Unrelated
    Jan 6, 2017 at 20:27
  • Check out this post here.
    – Shiri
    Jan 9, 2017 at 9:24
  • I don't think you read my question...
    – Unrelated
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:07

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