How a "tall" became a small
It is a question that has vexed many a Starbucks customer -- why the hell is a small called a "tall"? After all, no one is calling a guy "a tall drink of water" unless he's as tall as a Hemsworth brother. The answer comes down to space on the menu board, according to Melody Overton, who obsessively chronicles the coffee chain on her blog Starbucks Melody.
The menu boards at Starbucks, for many, many years in the '90s, only had three sizes listed: short, tall, and grande, Overon noted. "So a short was considered to be a small, tall was medium, and grande was large."
And then venti came in and changed the damn size game. "When venti was added, short dropped off the menu boards," Overton says. "Starbucks decided that there wasn't room for four sizes." So short got the boot and tall became the new short, or small."