All sizes of Starbucks paper cups hold the same amount of liquid.
Starbucks coffee shops sell beverages in a variety of sizes using their branded paper cupsincluding the popular “tall” (12-ounce), “large” (16-ounce) and “venti” (20-ounce) sizes. But according to a popular internet rumor, Starbucks is scamming customers with this scheme because all of its takeout cups allegedly contain the same amount of liquid.
In May 2022, a video went viral on Facebook that allegedly showed a person pouring coffee from one cup (A) into another that seemed larger (B). While one would expect the contents of the smaller cup (A) to only partially fill the larger cup (B), the video seemed to show that the same amount of coffee filled both cups to the brim.
This video was misleadingly edited. Different sizes of Starbucks cups do not hold the same amount of liquid.
While we’re not entirely sure how the video above was created – our best guess is that the larger glass (B) had a false bottom to take up some volume space – we can say with certainty that this video does not accurately represent the amount of liquid in two different sized Starbucks cups. How? Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen someone claim that different sized glasses hold identical amounts of liquid.
This video is just the latest version of an internet joke that has been making the rounds since at least 2016. We debunked the prank for the first time in 2020, after a video went viral on TikTok that allegedly showed how small, medium and large cup sizes at McDonald’s hold the same amount of liquid. In 2017, another version of the focused joke at the Jack in the Box restaurant chain.
These videos do not show any kind of “scam”, nor do they prove that different sized cups at fast food restaurants or Starbucks actually hold the same amount of liquid. These videos actually use trickery (some cups may be pre-filled with liquid) or tricky camera techniques (cups may change as they move out of frame) to make it appear that customers are drinking the same amount of liquid, no matter what size. of cup they ask.
In 2018, for example, a YouTuber did this “experiment” using Starbucks plastic cups that the coffee chain uses for its cold drinks.
In May 2022, after this rumor went viral again, another group of YouTubers took it upon themselves to investigate. Again, they found, unsurprisingly, that different sizes of beakers contained different amounts of liquid.
In 2016, the YouTube page “As Seen on Social Media” also debunked the prank. That video focused on McDonald’s cups, not Starbucks cups.
The “Starbucks Cup Size Scam” doesn’t show that tall, tall, and venti Starbucks cups hold the same amount of liquid. This is an old internet prank that uses cheats and tricky editing.
Baine, Elissa. “TikTok video shows ‘McDonald’s cup sizes are the same’ – internet users say it’s a hoax!” HITC, November 10, 2020, https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2020/11/10/mcdonalds-cup-size-tiktok/.
Haasch, Palmer. “Experiment: I tested a viral TikTok theory that all McDonald’s cups hold the same amount of liquid.” Insider, https://www.insider.com/mcdonalds-drink-size-tiktok-cup-viral-debunk-fake-2020-11. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
Jayne, Tamara. “[Video] A Starbucks Venti and a Grande are the same amount.” DICE, August 30, 2019, https://says.com/my/makan/someone-took-a-video-showing-a-starbucks-venti-and-a-grande-containing-the-same-amount.