Today’s Chicago Tribune reported on Intelligentia‘s plans to phase out the 20-ounce, venti-sized coffee beverage: Small. Medium. Gone. — “Drinking our coffee is not like drinking jug wine,” the article quotes Intelligentsia founder and CEO, Doug Zell. Mr. Zell also goes on to compare the venti experience to “a watered-down, Big Gulpish version.”

We’ve been using the Super Big Gulp® metaphor at for years now. We can see the counterpoint made by Metropolis founder and co-owner, Tony Dreyfuss, that there’s a place for the 20-ounce coffee. But when a business, such as Intelligentsia, invests so much care and energy into making their brew, there are limits to “the customer is always right.” (Curiously enough, this slogan was first popularized in the U.S. by Chicago’s own Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s, department stores.)

Afterall, the road to Starbucks was paved with good customer intentions.

UPDATE: July 30, 2008
Today’s Chicago Sun-Times published a follow-up story, with an interview of Intelligentsia founder Doug Zell, as the bonfire approaches: Coffee chain decides less is really more :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Food.

The article interestingly asked, “What about those of us who like to linger over a pot of coffee and a few newspapers at home on Sundays?” We were reminded of the moka pot size preferences of Italians vs. Americans in our old post on moka pots.