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Review: Starbucks’ new ‘trenta’ size

On the right, Starbucks’ new ‘trenta’ size cup filled with 31 oz. of iced coffee and milk. On the left, a venti (24 oz.) Frappuccino. The trenta cup size is clearly bigger, but not spectacularly so.

First and foremost, is the new Starbucks “trenta” size for iced coffee and tea spectacularly refreshing? Yes. Yes, it is.

But, of course, that’s not the whole story.

Some numbers: The iced trenta cup holds 31 oz. (917 ml), compared to the iced venti cup, which holds 24 oz. (710 ml). Really, for all the hype and nonsensical backlash, it’s not that much more massive than a venti.

Some context: Giant cold beverages have been around for ages. 7-Eleven has been selling Double Gulps for as long as I can remember, and, at 64 oz. (1,893 ml), they make the Starbucks trenta look like a sippy cup.

Some limited choices: The trenta is only available as an iced coffee, iced tea or iced lemonade. Want a humungous Frappuccino? Sorry, bub.

Some curious caffeine stats: Given how strong Starbucks brews its coffee, I expected each trenta-sized iced coffee to contain one hell of a lot of caffeine. As such, the numbers on the Starbucks website surprised me. The Starbucks website estimates 195 mg of caffeine per trenta cup of iced coffee with milk. And yet, for their 12 oz. (355 ml) tall size of bold drip coffee, the Starbucks website estimates 260 mg of caffeine. Strange numbers, no? Certainly not what I expected. And certainly not in line with early media squawking.

Some caffeine context: According to the Coca-Cola website, a 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola Classic contains 34 mg of caffeine. Extrapolate that a bit, and 31 oz. of Coca-Cola Classic would contain about 88 mg of caffeine. Put another way, you’d have to drink 69 oz. of Coca-Cola Classic in order to equal the amount of caffeine in one trenta-sized iced coffee with milk. Numbers! (Disclaimer: I have an English degree, not a math degree. If my math is wrong, leave a comment, K?)

Some quick analysis: If you’re caffeine sensitive, you still shouldn’t do it. Even if you normally enjoy at least a few cups of coffee in a day, think carefully about your sleeping plans before deciding to grab a trenta at 8 p.m. But if you’re up for a cold iced beverage, it’s hard to deny the allure of the trenta. Just be prepared to make several pit-stops afterward.

RATINGS AND DETAILS

Cost: About half a buck more than a venti size of the same drink.

Value for cash money: Not bad for the extra 7 oz. (207 ml).

Availability: Limited parts of U.S.A. — a handful of states at launch, followed by a broader rollout. Media reports say Starbucks plans to have it available nationwide by early May.

Nutrition?: Depends on how much sugar and/or milk you add.

The verdict: If you need a whole lot of iced tea or coffee refreshment in a single cup, it does the job. Just make sure you cut a corresponding quantity of other caffeine sources out of your day’s diet if you opt for one.

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