Offering different sizes at a new cafe in city where specialty coffee does not yet exist

I am getting ready to open up the first specialty coffee shop in our city. As I am preparing I am trying to do my best to create an atmosphere that is approachable to all people; not just people familiar with the industry. That being said, I am tossing around the idea of offering different sizes. We would do a “small” which would be the normal traditional size and a “big”.

What do you guys think of this idea? If you were me, opening a shop in uncharted territory amidst people with very little if any exposure to specialty coffee, what would you do?

Thank you all.

I work for a roastery/cafe in a similar city (albeit in the UK). We serve a flat white (standard size 6oz) and then regular and large Lattes/Cappuccinos which are 8oz and 12oz respectively. We put a lot of effort into not alienating your traditional coffee drinkers, whilst ensuring that those wanting a speciality experience get one! We do this by serving a 2nd espresso which is more speciality in nature, stocking a good range of seasonal single origin retail packs, offering alternative brewing methods etc.

Essentially, cater to both! Slowly educate your customers in order to cultivate a specialty environment, but don’t alienate them from the beginning by going too third wave.

Finally, competition in your position is good! The more speciality shops in town, the better, as consumers will further understand the value in good coffee.

Any other questions, feel free to ask

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Thanks a lot! Appreciate your feedback. I am sure more questions on this topic will arise as I think through it!


I run a shop in a small town (about 15K) I would highly recommend offering different sizes, but any espresso and milk combo over 8 oz I’d call a latte. For what it’s worth we have 8, 12, and 16 oz sizes (plus the traditional smaller espresso drinks) at our shop. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been asked for anything larger than 16 in 3 years of operations, but we sell almost equal numbers of 12 and 16 oz drinks.

We occasionally get people asking for a large cappuccino and just quietly charge them for the same size latte. Really it all comes down to semantics. 99 times out of 100 it’s not worth even discussing with people. At the end of the day people just want tasty coffee, so clarify when necessary, but don’t over complicate it.