In 2011, after finding some two-thirds of iced-beverage customers already pony up the stomach capacity for a Venti, Starbucks introduced its Trenta size — a 31-ounce tribute to America’s appetite for 1,000-watt stereos, quadruple burgers and Cowboys Stadium. More than a year later, Trenta is alive and well, leading us to wonder if car cupholders are up to the job of holding it. After all, the mismatch prompted 7-Eleven to downsize its titanic Double Gulp from 64 ounces to 50. Oh, the toil.
But Starbucks has the bigger footprint, with some 11,000 stores in North America compared with 7-Eleven’s 9,375. What’s more, cupholders and Starbucks go together like Korean rappers and YouTube. So we bought two Trenta iced teas and a Venti for comparison (pictured), and we took them to our current crop of press cars: a 2013 Infiniti G37 IPL convertible, 2012 Honda Insight and 2013 Volvo S60, plus our two long-term cars, a 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf.
I’m still working through one of the iced teas. My head hurts a little.
The Trenta comes only as an iced beverage — probably a good thing, as a Trenta-sized portion of Starbucks’ drip coffee would exceed the American Medical Association’s recommended daily allowance of caffeine by 157%. In theory, most cupholders should cradle a Trenta as well as a Venti. Both cups measure about 2.5 inches in diameter at their base. The challenge would be vertical space: While the Venti measures 6.5 inches tall with a 3.8-inch top, the Trenta ascends 7.2 inches toward a 4.1-inch cover. Could these cupholders secure an ungainly size of a Trenta iced coffee — or handle two of them side by side? We’d soon find out.