When Venti Stops Being Twenty

My caffeine of choice is chai, specifically a morning Venti chai from Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love me some chai first thing in the morning. Starbucks sizes are wel-known: Tall, Grande, Venti. “Venti is Twenty”, a 20 ounce coffee drink. Except when it is not.

Most mornings I hit my local Starbucks, where they know my name, they know my drink, and they are bonzai efficient. Seriously, no line scares me at this place. They have honed the whole selling-coffee-and-snacks-to-lots-of-people-for-too-much-money to an art form. Line out the door? Five minute wait, tops.

I sometimes hit my local Barnes & Noble instead for my chai fix. In years past it was conveniently near my daughters’ pre-school. We are long out of pre-school, but I still hit B&N regularly for the, er, books. Plus, the ten-percent discount helps. And the staff, for all that they have had enormous turnover, is darn good at slinging caffeine.

Something Rotten in Twenty?
A couple of months ago, I noticed B&N changed the cups for Venti drinks; they seemed smaller yet wider. I was assured they held the same amount. For a week or two I didn’t think much of it, but lately it has been bugging me on a number of levels.

First, I was used to adding an extra pump of chai syrup (six instead of five) to my drink. But suddenly a six-pump chai was too rich for me; but only at B&N. My wife commented that her latte was a bit stronger than usual. It started to really annoy me. I mean, we evolve these rituals for comfort so when it isn’t working it is a real burr in your saddle.

2 Chai’s One Guy
So this morning, I took one for the team. Before dropping my youngest at camp, I got a Venti from Starbucks proper. Forced myself to drink it down in about an hour. Yes, a sacrifice in the interests of science. I then wandered into B&N, ordered a venti. Poured the contents of a fill-to-the-brim B&N venti into my empty Starbucks venti.

The result: B&N is shorting me around a half inch. Call it an ounce. 5% less. Inhuman, I say. I wonder what Starbucks, whose logo is plastered all over the B&N Cafe thinks of this. After all, I am pretty sure the recipes for lattes, chais, etc. were not altered when they changed cup size, which means all the venti-sized blended drinks are slightly ‘off’. And for those of us with a daily Starbucks habit, well, we are going to notice.

Where’s The Beef?
The next thing I thought of was the nutritional info for the cafe drinks; usually they call out sizes. Would the Venti Chai specify 19oz?

Well, it might. Except that I couldn’t find nutritional info for any of the Cafe items. Heck on B&N’s website any information regarding the cafe is hard to find. I found lots of info at places like the Daily Plate, but no official info from B&N. If someone finds it, I’d appreciate a link.

Not All Bad
It’s isn’t all a loss. I do get a 10% discount at B&N, but now I get 5% less product. B&N uses Solo Traveler cup lids, whereas Starbuck’s current lids turn their drinks into dribble cups. Free WiFi at both places, with generally more seating in B&N, faster connectivity at Starbucks.

In the scheme of things, this is pretty irrelevant. I’m sure B&N saves a chunk of money selling 5% less product for the same price; that helps keep the bookstore open. I get it. I could get all ranty, but in the realm of $4 coffee drinks, you really have no room for ranting.

But still. It is sad when Venti is not Twenty.

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One Comment on “When Venti Stops Being Twenty”


  1. […] When Venti Stops Being Twenty (designbygravity.wordpress.com) […]


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