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I want to order a Grande-sized cup of iced latte. Should I order "Iced Grande Latte" or "Grande Iced Latte" ?

I looked up for adjective order. The first result from Google says

  1. Quantity or number
  2. Quality or opinion
  3. Size
  4. Age
  5. Shape
  6. Color
  7. Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
  8. Purpose or qualifier.

So according to the list, "iced grande latte" seems to be the correct one. Somehow I remember that I have heard both of them, although "iced grande latte" comes more often.

EDIT: Now that I am aware of What is the rule for adjective order? (thanks to @TimLymington for giving me the pointer), it is still a bit unclear to me as to which one is the correct answer. Or does it even make sense to ask about the correct ordering here? Because after reading the post, adjective ordering seems like a topic that we have not fully understood yet. Lots of discussions are still ongoing.

The thing is that I always order "grande iced latte". But the barista almost always says "iced grande latte". After I come to think about it more deeply, it may be because with different sizes of cups (tall, grande, venti, etc.) they add different amount of espresso shots (1, 2, 3, etc.) and that ice cubes are the last things they put into the cup.

Then different sizes of cups should generally contain different amount of espresso shots. Because of this the barista then needs to know first which size to prepare (i.e., how many shots to get from the machine). So in general, when ordering coffee from a cafe, it seems to make more sense to say "iced grande latte", doesn't it?

  • Is "iced latte" on the menu, or are only "lattes" available? – SomethingDark Feb 25 '17 at 15:58
  • The menu only says Caffè Latte, which can be served hot or cold. – Petch Puttichai Feb 25 '17 at 16:03
  • Sure to become one of the more important questions on EL&U. ;-) – Mark Hubbard Feb 25 '17 at 16:04
  • I would take adjective order lists as guidelines rather than hard rules. – Andy Feb 25 '17 at 16:07
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    Grande is a Starbucks' term as given in this chart: Short [8 fl. oz.], Tall [12 fl. oz.], Grande [16 fl. oz.], Venti® Hot [20 fl. oz.], Venti® Cold [24 fl. oz.] and Trenta®* Cold [31 fl. oz.]. And iced latte is standard. So grande iced latte or iced latte - grande are right. – Lambie Feb 25 '17 at 16:35
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The list of adjective order applies in the absence of other factors that would dictate the order. In this case, there are a number of factors that would define the order.

  • Is one of the adjectives part of the item's name? If the menu lists "iced latte", that's the product name. Choosing the serving size doesn't change the product name, so it would be "grande iced latte" in that case.

  • If the menu simply lists "latte", does one of the adjectives define an aspect that leads people to perceive it as a different beverage? Size doesn't do that, but "Iced" might refer to a variation that gives it a very different character and drinker experience. In that case, it should be the modifier closest to the word, "grande iced latte".

  • Next on the list would be if one of the adjectives refers to a substantive preparation process and the other doesn't, in which case it should be the closest modifier. Dispensing into cups of different sizes is a trivial difference. "Iced" may involve a non-trivial preparation process (i.e., more that dropping a few ice cubes into the cup of latte right before serving).

  • The last factor, in the absence of anything else, might be the preparation sequence. If iced latte is prepared and then dispensed into a large cup, it would be "grande iced latte". If latte is prepared, dispensed into a large cup, and then ice is added, it would be "iced grande latte".

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"Grande Iced Latte" absolutely sounds better to my ears in this case. You can think of "Grande" as either a quantity (of fluid) or size (of cup), so don't take the adjective order list too literally.

In this case I order the adjectives from least to most significant: most significant is what coffee mixture I want (latte), then the temperature (iced), and lastly how much of it (grande). I can't say for sure if that's the case when ordering other types of products though.

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