It’s interesting to see where the names of the Starbucks Coffee cups come from. The options for cup sizes are short (8 ounces), tall (12 ounces), grande (16), venti (24) and trenta (31). So where did the sizes come from? Howard Schultz opened his first coffee shop in Seattle in 1986 and the shop had just three sizes: short, tall and grande.
Starbucks describes that Schultz “became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition to America.” He wanted cup names that would reflect his vision.
So how did a tall become a small? In the early days at Starbucks they had three sizes. They were short, tall and grande. When the venti size was introduced the short dropped off the menu and tall became the new short.