Tall Vs Grande Starbucks Comparison: Starbucks Sizing Cups Secrets

If you’ve ever had a drink from Starbucks, you must have noticed how their drink sizes are different from other beverage chains. Have you ever wondered why this unarguably most famous beverage chain has adopted such unconventional drink sizes?

Especially when it comes to ‘Tall’ and ‘Grande’ sizes, one might get confused about how to visualize these sizes in the context of conventional large or medium? Well, Starbucks has its own sizing criteria and it would be silly to compare it with others.

So, if you’ve never tried a Starbucks beverage, don’t embarrass yourself by ordering a medium or large. Instead, read on for an idea about which one is ‘your cup of tea’.

Should I Get Tall Or Grande?

Instead of using the small, medium, and large, they use Italian terminology for the beverage sizes. The four different sizes available on their menu are Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti. Ranging in sizes from 8 ounces (Short) to 20 ounces (Venti).

While you might think a Tall (according to vibes given by its name) is at least a medium-sized drink when seen in context with traditional sizes, you need to change your gauge when it comes to Starbucks.

As it contains 12 oz, a Tall is comparatively closer to a small-sized drink. Similarly, with a capacity of 16 oz, a Grande can be loosely compared with a medium-sized cup.

However, size is not the only thing that matters when it comes to deciding which one you should go for. Let’s have a detailed comparison for a more knowledgeable decision.

Comparison of Tall Vs Grande Starbucks

Comparison of Tall Vs Grande Starbucks

Volume12 oz16 oz
PriceGrande beverages will cost you a few cents more than Tall ones for an added volume.Milk-based drinks have double shots, Americanos and shaken espressos have 3 shots. Flat whites have 3 ristretto shots.
Available BeveragesMost commonly ordered Grande-sized beverages include lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and double shots.Although both hot and cold beverages are available Tall, the most popular Tall sized beverages are coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, and iced drinks.
Strength of BeveragesMilk-based drinks in Tall size have a single shot of espresso while the Americanos and shaken espresso are made with double shots. Flat whites have 2 shots of ristretto.Milk-based drinks have double shots, and Americanos and shaken espressos have 3 shots. Flat whites have 3 ristretto shots.

In short, if you are confused between Tall vs Grande Starbucks, let me decode the nitty gritty details for you.

Regarding strength, both sizes are almost the same because, for additional ounces in each Grande, an additional shot is added whether it is flat whites, milk-based brinks, or Americanos.

The only difference left is that of volume and hence the price. You get more ounces in a Grande but you will be charged a bit extra for those.

Why is it Called Grande?

In Italian, Grande means ‘large’. When the chain started, it had only three sizes on its menu i.e., short, Tall, and Grande. But as people kept demanding a larger size, ‘Venti’ was introduced which literally means 20.

The previous names were kept the same and Venti was added to the menu although this was the new large instead of Grande. So, Grande, despite its name, is the second smallest size on the menu and can be compared to a medium-sized drink.

Is There a Difference Between Tall And Grande?

While there are several differences between the two, which one matters for you will affect your choice between the two. For example, is it the caffeine count you are more interested in, or is it the volume, or your budget?

When it comes to caffeine count, the Tall sized beverages mostly fall lower on the scale as compared to the same beverages in Grande. This is because the equation is equalized with an additional shot for increased volume.

For instance, in brewed coffees, each Tall cup on average has 260 mg of caffeine as compared to 360 mg in their Grande counterparts. So, if you are trying to stay low on caffeine, Tall is your cup.

But if you are looking for more volume for a few extra cents, you should go for Grande. However, if you are on a tight budget, a cup of Tall beverage would give you a good value for money.

What’s The Biggest Drink At Starbucks?

The commonly known biggest cup size at Starbucks is Venti which literally means 20. It has 20 ounces of hot beverages and 24 ounces of cold beverages.

However, they do have an even bigger size by the name of ‘Trenta’ which means 30 in Italian. It has 30 ounces capacity but the reason it is not as well-known as Venti is that a Trenta size is offered for cold beverages only.

Is a Tall Worth It at Starbucks?

Let’s gauge Tall sizes beverages on some useful criteria to make sense of the numbers:


A Tall cup at Starbucks has 12 oz volume which can be roughly compared with a small conventional size. So, if you are looking for a moderate quantity instead of a small cup, or if it is one of those days when you need a boost, it might not be enough.


If you are looking for a quality coffee but are on a tight budget, Tall will be a wise choice.


For caffeine-conscious coffee lovers, Tall-sized beverages can help them stay within healthful caffeine intake per day.


Tall has a fairly good intensity and can provide a reasonable boost when you are low on energy.

Is Grande a Medium Or Large?

When compared with traditional drink sizes, a Grande at Starbucks is closest to a medium size as it has a capacity of 16 ounces.

It provides a stronger boost compared to Tall because of its size and strength. However, when compared to Venti, although Venti gives more volume, the number of shots in some of its varieties, especially the flat whites and milk-based beverages is the same as in Grande.

This means, that although the volume is increased in Venti, the strength is decreased. So, a wiser choice for in these beverages would be to go for Grande instead. It will give you more value for your money compared to Venti counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Grande Big Size?

Grande, when compared to traditional sizes, is closest to medium size. It has a capacity of 16 ounces.

Why Does Starbucks Use Tall And Grande?

Starbucks’ founding CEO was inspired by the ambiance of Italian cafes and he wanted to recreate the same character in Starbucks, so the sizes were named in Italian.

What Size is Tall And Grande?

Tall is 12 ounces in volume and Grande is 16 ounces. They can be compared with a traditional small and medium size respectively.

Why is Grande a Medium?

When the chain was established, it had three sizes; short, Tall, and Grande. But a bigger size ‘venti’ was introduced later as the customers demanded more volume.
So, although Grande means large, it was the largest at Starbucks only until the venti was introduced. It is actually the size of a traditional medium cup.

Which Starbucks Size is The Best Value?

For those looking for a sensible amount of caffeine in a reasonable budget and medium volume, Grande can be a good choice.

How Many Cups in a Tall At Starbucks?

Since Tall has a capacity of 12 ounces, it comprises of 2 cups of coffee.

Final Thoughts

At Starbucks, a Tall more closely refers to a traditional small-sized cup and a Grande can be compared with a medium-sized cup. Where Tall will provide you with a quality Starbucks drink at a low price, Grande provides the best value for money.

With a few additional cents, you can upsize your Tall to Grande with more volume. Hence, Grande is arguably the value for your money at Starbucks.

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