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How Many Ounces In A Coffee Cup? Coffee Cup Sizes Explained

There’s no doubt that knowing the answer to how many ounces in a coffee cup will help you brew a better cup of coffee.

But for such a simple question there isn’t a simple answer – as you may have already discovered!

Here we unravel why it is so hard to work out how many ounces are in a coffee cup and provide some answers so you can brew a great cup of coffee at home.

Three coffee cups of various sizes.

How Many Ounces In A Coffee Cup?

There are 6 ounces of coffee in a standard coffee cup.

Note this is referring to the quantity of brewed coffee and not the total volume of the actual coffee cup, which will be larger (typically 8 ounces) to accommodate milk and cream etc.

That seems like a simple answer, but as you know, this isn’t the measure used across the board.

In fact while the standard measurement for 1 US cup used for liquids and baking equals 8 fluid ounces, this is not the measurement typically used to measure a cup of coffee.

The exact reason for this difference in measurement is unknown, but it is most likely influenced by the National Coffee Association’s “Golden Ratio” for brewing a good cup of coffee.

What Is The Golden Ratio?

The Golden ratio states you need to use one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water in your drip coffee maker.

So it stands to reason that the number of ounces in a normal coffee cup would align with the Golden Ratio.

But, if you are looking at your 12 cup coffee maker and asking “why can’t I brew 72 ounces of coffee with you”, let me explain – it gets even more confused when we talk about coffee pots..

What About Cups Of Coffee?

So when did a cup of coffee become, well, not a cup?

Coffee cups and coffee pots come in all shapes and sizes.

You will likely know already (hopefully not through accident) that a “12 cup coffee maker” doesn’t actually produce 12 standard cups (8 oz or even 6 oz) of coffee.

For reasons lost in history (but most likely due to decisions made by Mr. Coffee in the 1970s), coffee makers use a completely different method to measure cups of coffee.

And while there is no agreed standard about what a cup of coffee is, for most coffee maker brands 1 cup of brewed coffee is 4 ounces. 4 ounces! That is one small cup of coffee.

Just read the reviews for any 4 cup coffee maker and you will see how many people get caught out by just how little coffee they really make!

So to break that down, your 12 cup coffee maker is actually only making 8 cups of standard sized coffee. A 4 cup coffee maker is likely making just over 2 standard cups.

For this reason it is super important to check the liquid capacity of your coffee pot and read the manual to ensure you are brewing the right ratio of coffee to water for your coffee maker.

coffee pot with cup measurements on side

How Many Ounces In A Chemex Coffee Maker?

To make matters even more complicated, the measurement of a single cup can also change depending on how the coffee has been brewed.

For example, while most drip coffee maker manufacturers state that a single cup of coffee contains around 4 fluid ounces, Chemex measure a cup as 5 fluid ounces in their pour over brewers…

So the question to ask is, who is right in this situation? Well, everyone and no one may be the best answer.

The size of an average cup of coffee varies from brewer to brewer and country to country and there is no definitive way to agree on the number of oz in a cup of coffee.

Now you know the different options for how many ounces per cup of coffee, let’s look at the traditional and modern coffee cup sizes.

These have evolved over time according to the brewing method, country and consumer preferences.

How Many Ounces In An Espresso Cup

A standard espresso cup is 2-3 oz. The larger 3 oz cup accommodates a double shot espresso, which is 2 oz (60ml).

Espresso is brewed entirely differently to a regular coffee maker, which results in the need for a much smaller cup size.

Some espresso / demitasse cups can be as large as 4 oz, but should be no larger.

How Many Ounces In A Cappuccino Cup?

A standard cappuccino cup is 6 ounces. There are cups larger than this, but the traditional Italian cappuccino cup size is 5-6 oz.

It is smaller than a latte cup and is a stronger cup of coffee when looking at the coffee to milk ratio compared to a latte.

How Many Ounces In A Latte Cup?

A standard latte cup is 8 ounces. This may come as a surprise as there is much variation in latte cup and glass sizes.

The important thing if choosing a larger latte cup is ensuring the right coffee to milk ratio when making your latte.

How Many Ounces In A Coffee Mug?

The standard coffee mug size is 8 ounces. However, there is a huge range in coffee mug sizes ranging from 8 oz all the way to 20 ounces or more.

The most common coffee mug size that suits a range of coffee types is 12 ounces. Large enough to accommodate a large latte or a regular cup of coffee.

How Many Oz Are Starbucks Cups?

Starbucks has 6 standard cup sizes:

  • Short – 8 fl oz (236 ml)
  • Tall – 12 fl oz (354 ml)
  • Grande – 16 fl oz (473 ml)
  • Venti Hot – 20 fl oz (591 ml)
  • Venti Cold – 24 fl oz (709 ml)
  • Trenta – 30 fl oz (887 ml)
Different Starbucks Cup Sizes.

How Many Ounces Are Dunkin Donuts Cups?

Dunkin Donuts has 4 cup sizes:

  • Small – 10 oz (295 ml)
  • Medium – 14 oz (414 ml)
  • Large – 20 oz (591 ml)
  • Extra Large – 24 oz (709 ml)

Why Do You Need To Know How Many Oz Are In A Coffee Cup?

So why is it important to know how many ounces are in a coffee cup?

As we touched on earlier, to make a truly perfect cup of coffee that tastes great, you need to know the right ratio of coffee to water – and this is determined by the number of ounces you use per cup measure.

If you do not learn how much your ‘cup’ equals, then you could risk adding too much water or too little coffee grounds to your brew, creating a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste great.

Regardless of the coffee maker you own or the brew style you use, once you check your cup measure and know how many ounces it is, you can ensure it aligns with the golden ratio and make a high quality brew.

Basket coffee filter, drip-type coffee maker and coffee beans on the kitchen table, top view.

So to summarize, there is no standard way to determine how many fluid ounces are in a single cup of coffee.

This is because the measurements will often change depending on the brew method, coffee maker and pot or cup you use.

The most essential thing to remember is that a good cup of coffee greatly relies on the correct ratio of water to coffee beans.

Know how many ounces your pot or cup is and you can produce a delicious cup of coffee. 

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About Rachel

Founder of Creators of Coffee, Rachel is a passionate coffee lover, SCA member and former barista, who also loves to research and share practical tips on everything to do with coffee. Favorite way to make coffee: With an Espresso Machine

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