If you know your coffee and you're well-acquainted with all things Starbucks, then you must know that the first store opened in Seattle, Washington. So why then does the menu sound Italian?
Starbucks founder Howard Schultz used to own a mini coffee chain called Il Giornale. In 1983, he traveled to Italy, and that’s where everything changed. The first Starbucks opened in 1986. Schultz became enchanted by Italy's language and culture, specifically the romantic experience of coffee.
Karen Blumenthal, author of Grande Expectations, wrote that Schultz "wanted to convey a different image, something far more exotic than a simple cup of joe," which is why he created a menu that boasts a variety of cup sizes and gave them distinct Italian names. Obviously, the use of Italian words didn't stop there; who hasn't ordered a Caramel Macchiato, right?
But why is a small cup of coffee called a "tall?" In the '90s, Starbucks served coffee in three sizes: short, tall, and grande. Starbucks enthusiast Melody Overton says, "When 'venti' was added, 'short' dropped off the menu boards. Starbucks decided that there wasn't room for four sizes, [so] 'short' got the boot and tall became the new short, or small."
Thankfully, the "short" cup is now *kind of* back in the game, ready to deliver for when you only need a palate cleanser, and not a total coffee high.
Follow Ysa on Instagram.