Starbucks large vs. small: Which one should you get?

I still remember the first time I entered a Starbucks café and wanted to make an order and my subsequent confusion about the best drink size to get. Starbucks tends to have unique classifications of its drinks that vary from other coffee shops, so it is always helpful to know what to go for and why. That is why I came up with this article, to help you with the same.

What are the differences between Starbucks small vs. large?


Starbucks small (Tall)

Starbucks large (Grande)

Caffeine content




10-60 calories per serving

50-130 calories per serving




Espresso shots



Hot and cold drink capacity

12 ounces

16 ounces

Drink variety

Hot and cold

Hot and cold (including iced)

Starbucks small vs. large – How they compare

Caffeine content

It is difficult to narrow down an exact figure when comparing caffeine content in both small and large Starbucks drinks, so it is easier to use average amounts. The general rule to use is 150mg of caffeine in a large drink, while the small drink has 75mg of caffeine.

The large Starbucks cup size has more caffeine and gives a stronger caffeine kick.


Starbucks large vs. small

In general, the small Starbucks drinks will contain an average of 10 to 60 calories per serving, while the tall drinks will contain between 50 and 130 calories per serving.

For people looking for low-calorie options, consider taking small Starbucks drinks.


Starbucks small drinks cost an average of $3.75, while the large drinks are pricier by between 50 and 80 cents and cost an average of $4.45.

Starbucks small is the winner if you want a budget-friendly option.

Espresso shots

The small Starbucks has one shot, while the large has two shots, except for the shaken espresso and Americano which have three shots. Therefore, the Large wins because it contains more espresso shots.

Hot and cold drink capacity

The small Starbucks cup sizes can accommodate 12 ounces of liquid, while the large (Grande) can accommodate 16 ounces – these quantities do not change, regardless of whether the drink is hot or cold.

The large cup size wins this round because it holds more liquid and gives more value for money.

Drink variety

The large offers slightly more customization because of extra milk, extra espresso shots, ice, and cream toppings, while the small has both hot and cold offers but with less customization.

Large Starbucks cup sizes offer more drink varieties, so they win this round.

Starbucks large vs. small: A comparison overview

Starbucks Large – Overview

Starbucks large vs. small

Starbucks refers to this size as “Grande”, and it includes almost any cold or hot beverage you can think of. It gives you two espresso shots by default and is equal to about 2½ six-ounce coffee cups.

Starbucks Small – Overview

Starbucks refers to this size as “Tall” and it includes drinks like mocha, latte, and macchiato. All its drinks have one shot as the default unless you state otherwise, and its size is equal to 2 cups of standard 6oz. coffee.

Final verdict: So, which is better? Starbucks Small vs. Large

Choosing the better option between these drink sizes is difficult, as none is better than the other. The Small size allows you to add extra espresso shots while the large size allows a customer to add milk, ice, or other additives – so your preference depends on your needs.


Are Starbucks Large drinks healthier than Small drinks?

Not really – both can be healthy options because it depends on the specific drink you choose.

Is the standard Large stronger than a Small?

Yes, the Large will give you a stronger kick due to its larger volume.

Which drinks are easier to customize between Large and Small drinks?

The Large ones are easier to customize due to the larger cup size that accommodates more liquid.

Are Starbucks Small drinks sweeter than Large?

The small drinks tend to be sweeter, although this depends on other additives in your order.

Are Starbucks Large iced bigger than Large hot?

No, the volume of liquid is the same in both cases.

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