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Starbucks uses Tampa Bay area to test new large sizes for iced drinks

The new 31-ounce Trenta is a cut above the 24-ounce Venti.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The new 31-ounce Trenta is a cut above the 24-ounce Venti.

Going the way of the Big Gulp, Starbucks is testing its biggest-ever iced caffeinated drinks that pack about a third more volume and jolt. From the chain where baristas used to call a "small" a "tall," say hello to the 31-ounce Trenta.

The Seattle coffee giant quietly launched the test in Tampa and Phoenix more than a month ago. It could become part of the chain's competitive answer to McDonald's 32-ounce iced tea, which sells for $1. After its test run, retail price is expected to be $1.19. Starbucks wants $3.30 for its super-sized iced coffee, $2.60 for the iced tea. Unsweetened, the tea has 5 calories. The sweetened version has up to 200 — unless you add more.

Starbucks HQ is keeping quiet about the test results.

"I've gotten reasonably good feedback from customers," said Alex Dobson, a shift supervisor at Starbucks in St. Petersburg. "I talk to about 600 people a day, and only one said, 'That's ridiculous.' "

Mark Albright, Times staff writer

Starbucks uses Tampa Bay area to test new large sizes for iced drinks 03/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:28pm]
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