What A 'Picco' Size Means At Starbucks In India

Is "grande" bigger than "venti"? Is "tall" actually a small size? If you are one of the countless coffee drinkers around the world who can never remember which size is which when you visit a Starbucks, then you are going to be even more confused if you ever plan on visiting India and getting your morning pick-me-up at one of the chain's stores.

After introducing it in a pilot program last July, the world's largest coffee chain is rolling out a new size to all of its Indian stores in order to appeal more broadly to the local market as it continues to expand within the country.

The new, smaller "picco" size will be 6 ounces, putting it squarely between the 3-ounce "demi" or "quad" size (which is used exclusively for espresso shots) and the 8-ounce "short" (which is only available for hot beverages). Similar to the short, the picco cups will only be available for select hot beverages including cappuccino, latte, filter coffee, masala chai, elaichi chai, and hot chocolate.

Catering to local tastes

With the 8-ounce short coffees already available in hot drinks, some customers may wonder why the coffee giant is bothering to further confuse the small end of its already convoluted size scale. The answer has a lot to do with the nuances of the Indian coffee market.

While Starbucks has expanded rapidly to 340 stores in 24 cities in its first 10 years in the country, the high-end coffee market and café culture Starbucks brings with it are still catching on, Mint reports. Starbucks coffee is expensive compared to what you can get at small, roadside stands in India, so the smaller size is less expensive and seen as more accessible.

Like it did when it first entered the Chinese market, Starbucks is aiming to make itself feel familiar and appealing to young consumers in India. In China, Starbucks opened its cafés with a strong focus on tea, which was more popular in the country, as a way to introduce the audience to its products. In India, the focus has been on creating bright, welcoming stores and finding products that appeal to local tastes.

The new small size and the line of drinks that are being offered, like the chai options and the filter coffee, are popular in the Indian market. Additionally, the smaller coffees and bite-size snacks have tested better in pilot stores across India than Starbucks' traditional sizes, which some customers criticized for being too big.