Have you ever thought why you ask for the cup size in Italian names such as Venti, Grande etc.? 

So why did the world famous coffee retail chain Starbucks, founded in Seattle, pick up the cup sizes and added them to menu in Italian instead of English?

For example why not small, medium and large?

Size of Starbucks

Everything happens for a reason right?

Maybe you have heard, before Starbucks became the name that is today, its founder Howard Schultz leaped into the coffee business with a small scale coffee chain called Il Giornale.

Il Giornale, (yes the name is Italian) which can be considered as the precursor of Starbucks, was selling coffee in three different sizes. Short, tall and grande. Venti was to be added to the menu much later. And all was connected to a trip that Howard Schultz made to Italy in 1983.

Howard Schultz – CEO of Starbucks

In his trip, Mr. Schultz was extremely influenced by “the Italian Coffee’s and the romantics of the Italian Coffee experience“. Schultz, who founded the Il Giornale first and Starbucks next, designs his stores like Italian café’s and adopts a strategy to give special names to the coffee cups, which would differentiate him from the other coffee shops and chains.

In other words, Schultz, which transformed Starbucks into a global success story, wants to “create a different image” and to offer “an experience, more than a cup of coffee”. Therefore he decides to use different coffee sizes and to give them special names to be identified with the sizes. And for this, he gets his inspirations from Italy, from where he was influenced most.

As the result, the marketing is combined with the love for Italy and the concepts like grande, venti etc become he words that we use in our daily lives a lot.

Iced Coffee

But where did his Tall come from amongst all those Italian words? And why tall even though it’s the smallest of sizes?

Well, Grande and Venti can be acceptable in this manner but why are all and short in the menu as English words while we call the small cups tall??

In order to come up with an answer, let us go to 90’s. In 90’ there were only 3 different cup sizes in the Menu; Short, Tall, Grande. While short was the smallest size, tall was medium size and grande was the large size.

But then Venti appeared and changed all this order. When Venti was added to the menu, Starbucks decided that four different sizes were too much. Therefore short was discarded from the menu, tall was started being used for the cups that are smaller than tall in size.

And for the final word, let us add that although short is not officially in menu, you can get your hot beverages in cups smaller than “Tall” by requesting this from Baristas.