Popup Towers has nothing against Starbucks. In fact, as a language training company, we admire the way they've found success getting otherwise sensible people to use made-up words like venti and trenta in normal conversation. Nonetheless, as occasional coffee drinkers ourselves, we also hope that someone at Starbucks listens to this lesson if only so that corporate headquarters gets a wake-up call about how insanely frustrating it is ordering a medium coffee anywhere in the Middle Kingdom.

Incidentally, if you're already used to learning Chinese with us you'll find this Chinese lesson a bit different than its predecessors. And that's because we don't really teach standard mandarin so much as the bizarre subset of it needed by anyone growing weary of repeating themselves about seventy or eighty times to make sure they get the right-sized drink, or going through the physical pantomime we call the "Starbucks dance", a highly repetitive ritual between you and your barista that involves rhythmic turn-based pointing at the cup rack.
 said on
May 3, 2014
Used to keep my office in various Beijing starbucks for about one year, so I've got loads of experience on this one. They used to have short cup which was the smallest one, but then at one point they just quietly removed it from menu (around -08 I think) and 中杯 became the smallest size. You can still get short cup today if you insist. This is how it usually works for me:

A: 请给我一杯热咖啡,小杯。

B: 一个中杯咖啡!

A: 我不要中杯,我要最小杯

B: 中杯是最小的

A: 我不要中杯,我要最小的,short杯,十二块的那个

B: 好。热的还是冰的?

Sometimes some fresh baristas might make the mistake to claim that no such size exist, but if you just stay firm you will get it once they've checked it up with their store manager. Knowing this secret saved me something like 365 x 3 x 3rmb back then
 said on
May 18, 2014
Just so you know, venti and trenta are not made-up words, they are Italian for twenty and thirty (presumably because the sizes are 20 fl oz and 31 fl oz).
 said on
September 24, 2014
I listened to this dialogue a long time before I came to China. I seriously thought that they were joking about how confused Chinese people get about the three cup sizes at starbucks. EVEN with this in mind, when I went to my first Starbucks in Beijing, the girl I was with ordered first, (note I said nothing to her about starbucks) and an ALMOST IDENTICAL conversation followed about the rediculous mixup in cup sizes. I literally laughed for about 3 minutes out loud.
 said on
July 5, 2015
Can someone explain why the answer to quiz question #5 is what it is? Is it because the answer 一般活 doesn't have a measure word for 活? Or does 一般 somehow not apply?