Starbucks Coffee
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images News/GettyImages

When you're craving a cup of joe, the menu at Starbucks may seem overwhelming. It doesn't even use the word "regular" to describe any one size or blend. But you can get a simple, basic cup of coffee - equivalent to what your neighborhood shop might call a regular - once you crack Starbucks' terminology.

Originally, Starbucks offered two drink sizes: short and tall. In the years since, the company has dropped the short option from its menus, making tall - somewhat confusingly - the smallest menu option. The company also added larger sizes: grande, venti and trenta.

But while short is no longer printed on in-store menus, you can still order a coffee in this size - Starbucks even lists this size as an option on its website.

  • Short: 8 ounces
  • Tall: 12 ounces
  • Grande: 16 ounces
  • Venti: 20 ounces

For cold drinks, the venti option is 24 ounces, and a trenta is 30 ounces.

Start By Picking What Size Cup You'd Like

It's up to you to determine which Starbucks size is "regular" for you. While 1 cup equals 8 ounces, the industry standard for a single serving of coffee is 6 ounces -- but many folks regularly drink 12 or 16 ounces at a time. When in doubt, order a tall coffee.

Medium Roast Vs. Dark Roast: You Decide

Here's where things get a little complicated. The typical Starbucks has at least two kinds of hot coffee available at any time. Pike Place Roast is their standard coffee option - it's a medium roast that's brewed all day - so it's the Starbucks equivalent to a "regular" flavor of coffee.

Your store may also have a dark roast option. Hot coffee is typically brewed right behind the cash registers, and the machines feature signs displaying the types of coffee that are ready.

You also have the option of decaf Pike. It's not brewed all day at all Starbucks stores, but if your store doesn't have any ready to go, staff will make you some fresh as long as you're willing to wait.

Ask Your Barista For Samples If You're Still Unsure

Ask the employee at the cash register to sample the brewed coffees if you're unfamiliar with them. They are trained to help you ensure you get the best drink possible.

When in Doubt, Try "The Clover"

Your local store may also offer the option of ordering a cup of joe brewed with the Clover. This machine is used to brew single servings of coffee, with the intention of making the best possible cup. You'll have to wait a few minutes to get your drink, and you'll pay more for it than for a cup of Pike. But you'll also have a broader choice of beans to choose from. The barista can help you choose.

So now you know the options and you're ready to order. You can ask for a sample or discuss your Clover options with the barista working the cash register, or simply place an order; for instance, ask for "a short dark roast" or "a tall decaf Pike."

If you want room to add milk or sugar, add "with room" to the end of your order. Look for a station stocked with silver pitchers and sweeteners, add any sugar or milk you want and go on your way.