coffee lingo: tall vs 12 oz

December 15, 2009

3058452639_d1a6d9e6a2most u.s. cities pat themselves on the back if they know basic espresso ordering terminology; however, seattle isn’t most u.s. cities. here, baby’s first word may as well be americano.

just as seattle stands out, capitol hill separates itself from the pack of other emerald city neighborhoods.

buzzin with some deeelectable independent coawfee shauwps, one thing is for certain…you’d best know what the fuck you’re ordering. and let’s face it, if you’re not from around these parts then you’ve had to eventually command and conquer the coffee ordering confusion.

that forever long line will eventually result with you in the front and nervous as hell because you don’t know the fucking difference between a tall or a 12 oz. and not to play goldilocks…but an 8 oz isn’t enough and a 16 oz will leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into the wee hours.

i’ve seen those snide glares and corrective statements you barista/os strike down novices with.

i always figured if i use the terminology on the sign, i’d be set. but every time, i get corrected with, ‘tall americano?’ so let’s help one another, because really…no one wants to be that newb that gets a serious dose of baristatude. we don’t want to intentionally piss you off or you to shoot us one of those bewildering glares that you’d shoot an ugg boot wearing-type from across the counter. you hate their starbucks talk as much as i hate their uggs – one quadruple skinny, venti frappacino..please?

get the fuck outta here!

calling all baristas and baristos: do i order a tall or a 12 oz? and furthermore, if it is always to be a tall then why don’t all coffee shop signs indicate tall?

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9 Responses to “coffee lingo: tall vs 12 oz”

  1. porchlightcoffee said

    12 oz! But it’s all used interchangeably.

  2. elliott said

    it’s not tall. it’s small medium and large. if you don’t know what a particular coffee shops’ sizes are, and it’s not on their menu, then that’s their fault. ordering by how many ounces you want is the best option, though…

    i think it should generally be small/medium/large 8oz/12oz/16oz. nobody really needs 20oz of coffee; it’s cold by the time you finish it anyway. but i have been to a coffee shop in portland that had five sizes… 8/12/16/20/24oz. they named them, though (after characters from leave it to beaver… i guess that’s one way to do it).

    the reason some non-starbucks baristas have started using starbucks’ lingo is just because of starbucks’ all-encompassing prevalence in the marketplace. but we can fight back! let’s band together and stick with simple sizing!

  3. pumpkin said

    porchlight, you rock for answering so quickly. it’s nice to know we have at least one coffee shop in our hood that understands the terms are interchangeable and won’t judge us for fudging up the terminology.

    elliott, holy crap…just when i thought 20 oz was impossible, you throw down the 24 oz card?

    yes, i agree wholeheartedly that we should ban together and stick with simple sizing.

    all aboard?

  4. david said

    I’m not down with small/ medium/ large… doesn’t feel right for coffee unless maybe you’re at McDonalds.

    I’m sticking with tall, “double tall two percent” is just so much easier to say than “double twelve ounce two percent”.

  5. margotpolo said

    any barista knows a ‘tall’ is a 12 oz so if they’re rolling their eyes they need to get over it; that being said i sure do love it when you say 12 oz!

  6. pete said

    I usually order by ounce-quantity unless I’m fetching coffee for someone else in which case I try to parrot back their order just as they said it.

    Oh and as for 20oz of coffee, I occasionally get the jumbo at Ladro. Not sure if that’s a standard name.

  7. Andrew said

    I always stick to what’s on their own board. Nothing like ordering a “Grande” latte and having the barista snottily say, “Oh, so you want a 16 oz ICED latte, cause that’s the only drink that size we serve here.”

    If they get huffy over the lingo their shop is using, then that’s their own fault.

  8. nona said

    yup. order it how you see it on the board. if they get an attitude, just point to their sign. if they don’t have a sign, use ounces.

    also, “tall,” “grande,” and “venti” are all starbucks speak. so if baristas are frustrated by starbucks cornering the market on it, tell them to stop using the terminology themselves.

    david, if you’re going to a real coffee shop, all of your drinks will come as a “double” so you don’t need to say it. so all you really have to say is 12oz 2% latte. still pretty easy.

    as for my fellow baristas, it’s up to us to re-educate people away from the starbucks market (ie. caramel macchiatos are not a real drink)…don’t let ’em slide!

  9. […] we finally addressed the baristatude and what the fuck to order when you just want a medium cupa joe. […]

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