Earlier this month, Starbucks released the Trenta in stores across the country.  The Trenta is a 31-ounce cup of coffee, only for use in their iced drinks.  They’ve been testing it since last January, and apparently it’s doing well enough to implement.  The main objection that most people seem to have, and I do not know where exactly this came from, is that 31 ounces is more than the capacity of a human stomach.  Let’s dive into the sucking quagmire of overblown quasi-journalism that has sprouted up around this thing.

Gizmodo’s Brian Barrett kicks off the Exaggeration Bowl.  “To satisfy the unquenchable gullets of America’s brand-name coffee drinkers,” he snidely remarks, “Starbucks will introduce a 916ml Trenta cup.”  This is true.  That is what they are doing.  Then he keeps talking, which it turns out was a mistake.  “That’s more than the average capacity of the human stomach,” he continues, “and enough caffeine to stand in for a defibrillator.”  Now clearly he means the second part as hyperbole, but the first part people seem to be taking seriously.  They even have this handy dandy graphic to go with.

That clearly shows that the Trenta is bigger than your stomach, does it not?  Here’s the thing: that’s bullshit.

First of all, and I know this is anecdotal evidence, I’ve personally chugged a liter of water in one pull because I wasn’t allowed to bring it through airport security.  Then I did it again later because someone didn’t believe that story.  And here’s a video of more than one person managing to cram two liters of soda into their stomachs.  Don’t tell me the human stomach can’t hold a liter.

Secondly, who cares if it’s more than the human stomach can hold at once?  If you can’t hold that much at one time, don’t chug it.  As you drink, you also metabolize and get rid of it, and as anyone who’s ever hung out in a coffee shop long enough can tell you, you get rid of it like a goddamn racehorse.  Order a Trenta lemonade or iced coffee if you want, then drink it over the course of the next hour or two.  No big deal.

AND THIRD, we already have drinks this big.  Dunkin’ Donuts sells one, for instance.  Hell, the Super Big Gulp from 7-Eleven holds twice this much, and no one whines about them like this.  And guess who else has an opinion on this?

Because of course they do.

Inhabitat, not content to use things like facts and normal human speech, has thrown their undoubtedly organic hemp hats into the ring with this headline:


That’s right, it’s not just a big cup of coffee, it’s scarily big.  Nothing scares me like almost a quart of coffee, that’s for damn sure.  Not because I drink it, don’t be silly.  This body is a temple (for the worship of ramen noodles and hot dogs), and I work to keep it a ten.  But when I’m at the counter at Starbucks to order a small diet water, and I see that empty Trenta cup just sitting up there, smugly demonstrating how big it is for helpful reasons, it terrifies me.  I’ll be honest.  I pee a little.


But it’s not just the size that’s so scary.  I’ll let Brit explain.

There’s one thing about the Trenta that’s quite worrisome – it holds more than the human stomach. Talk about a calorie nightmare!

I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?  How many calories are we talking here?  A thousand?  A billion?  DEAR GOD JUST TELL ME ALREADY, THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

SEE???  I told you there were tons of calories.  What’s that?  I’m sorry, I’m being told that 150 calories is the same as in an eight-ounce glass of orange juice.  So…not that much then.  But a-ha, where do those calories come from?  Sugar, you say?  So what if I didn’t put any sugar in it?  It wouldn’t have any?  Hmm.  Let’s look at the iced tea.

Look familiar?  That’s because it’s the same damned thing.  Brewed tea and coffee, without milk or sugar, don’t have any calories.  None.  And as a matter of fact, the caffeine and cold temperature mean that your metabolism will be slightly sped up by these drinks.  They’re calorie-negative.  “But,” you whine pathetically, “coffee without milk or sugar doesn’t taste good.”  I couldn’t agree more; that’s why I use real sugar and half-and-half, none of that skim milk and Splenda bullshit.  But you can’t whine about the calories in your drink if you put them there.  You can either have tasty coffee or zero-calorie coffee.  The choice is yours.  The only thing that actually has calories in it is the lemonade, which weighs in at 230 for the Trenta size, but still.  That’s like a granola bar.  It’s nothing.

But the one thing that all the arguments I just destroyed fail to address is this: you are not being forced to drink this.  If it’s too big for your stomach, or if it’s too much caffeine, or it’s too many calories, don’t fucking order it.  How hard is that?  Allow me to demonstrate.  Ready?

In the time it took me to write this sentence, I successfully didn’t order the Trenta like a hundred times.  In fact, I suspect almost none of you have ordered a Trenta while reading this.  Pat yourselves on the backs.  This is the kind of thing that keeps coming up every time some restaurant puts out something like the KFC Double Down (which is delicious) or the Denny’s Maple Bacon Sundae (which is even deliciouser).  The public and blogosphere light up with whining about the excesses of America and how this is why we’re so fat and so on.  No.  Wrong.  Fat people aren’t fat because the food is available, they’re fat because they eat it.  You can’t blame other people for your lack of willpower.

So you can have your spineless half-caf skim latte if you want, but I’m going to continue putting heavy cream on my cereal and bacon on my ice cream and oh, did I mention this?

The Trenta holds an entire bottle of wine.

Moderation can go fuck itself.

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