How Many Ounces in a Cup of Coffee

How Many Ounces in a Cup of Coffee

Every day I wake up itching for a warm cup of coffee. One time, I ran out of coffee beans. Luckily, I had a stash of instant coffee in my cupboard. I poured the instant coffee into my mug, but I think I poured too much hot water that it tasted awful. And then, it hit me, “how many ounces in a cup of coffee is there?” With a half day’s worth of research, here’s what I found:

How Big is A Standard Coffee Cup?

How Many Ounces in a Cup of Coffee

Generally speaking, the standard size for a coffee cup can contain between 150ml and 300ml of coffee or roughly around 5 to 10oz, which is perfect, especially for brewed or drip coffee. However, some coffee cups can reach up to 15oz, incredibly useful for those who crave to be awake. Depending on the barista, the type of coffee, or the coffee maker, your standard coffee cup will vary. There is a right cup for the right moment, but we’ll get into that in a little while.

The Imperial System vs. The Metric System

Inches and centimeters, kilograms and pounds, milliliters and ounces. We’ve seen all these words almost every day in our lives, and we’re sure that it’s for measuring, well, stuff. But why the difference in measurements? First, let’s define these measurement systems.

There are two systems of measurement commonly used in the world: the Metric and the Imperial systems.

The French implemented the Metric system back in 1975. The system uses a series of decimals multiplied by 10 (for example, 1 kilogram is 1 gram multiplied by 1000, and so on.) Scientists based this measurement on the Earth’s circumference, from the equator and north-pole, which runs on Paris, France. The Metric system’s units are grams, meters, ampere, moles, etc.

On the other hand, the Imperial System was used officially by the United Kingdom from the 1800s until the Metric System’s arrival. The system uses units such as pounds or feet, but these measures had different meanings, depending on the location. The United States still uses the Imperial System. Still, the one they are using is the version before implementing the 1824 Weights and Measurements act of the United Kingdom.

With that said, what’s the difference between the two systems of measurement? Well, not that much. The main difference between the two is that the British initially used the Imperial System to measure items or distances used for trading. This makes it relatable and easy to understand both for common people and traders alike.

Since the measurements vary per location, the United Kingdom implemented a standardized version in 1824, but the Metric System is simpler and easier to measure. That’s why it replaced the Imperial System later on. It is now widely accepted worldwide. Here are tables for quick conversions between the two systems.

How Many Ounces is A Standard Coffee Mug?

As mentioned earlier, you can fill a standard coffee mug with 5oz of coffee with a maximum amount of 10oz. However, the coffee mug varies, depending on the type of coffee you or your barista will be making.

Will you make an espresso shot? A cup of creamy latte? Or a cappuccino for that coffee on the go? Here’s a breakdown of some of the standard coffee cup sizes for some of the different types of coffee:


Macchiato, Mocha, and Americano. These coffee types have one thing in common. That’s right; these coffee types use espresso as their base. Espresso is highly concentrated, meaning it uses only a tiny amount to give a massive amount of flavor to your standard cup of coffee.

An espresso cup, also known as a demitasse cup, typically looks like the mugs seen in movies: a wide mouth with a narrow base. These cups are designed for the concentration of the espresso itself. A demitasse cup usually holds around two to three ounces of Espresso.


Cappuccino is made with a shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk and topped with creamy foam. A cappuccino cup looks like a demitasse cup but bigger and is usually paired with a saucer that matches the cup’s design. It has a narrow base and wide rim and can be filled with around five to six ounces of espresso.


A latte is similar to a cappuccino in the sense that it’s made from espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, but the amount of milk foam is greater than steamed milk compared to cappuccino. A latte mug is relatively wider than the previous mugs mentioned, containing around 11 to 15 ounces of latte per mug. This design allows baristas to make the famous “latte art” seen on various social media platforms lately.

Oversized Cups

Of course, oversized coffee cups exist to fill the caffeine void that exists in true coffee addicts. A large coffee cup can accommodate around 20 to 25 ounces of coffee per serving. What’s good about this oversized cup is that it not only acts as a coffee mug. It also has various uses such as a modified soup bowl, a snack container, or even a small pot for those small indoor plants like cacti or succulents.

Starbucks Coffee Cup Sizes

Almost everyone now has been to Starbucks at some point in their lives. There are days when we are lazy to brew our coffee or are craving THAT Starbucks coffee. As someone who’s been to Starbucks, have you ever wondered why the coffee cups have a weird name in Starbucks?

As mentioned, a large coffee cup can carry around 15 to 16 ounces of coffee. Starbucks permanently changed its naming convention from the numbered ones (or the small, medium, large) into names: short for 8 ounces, tall for 12 ounces, grande for 16, and venti for 20. They made it so that people won’t be confused with how precisely an 8 or 12 ounce looks like and instead, be more familiar and customer friendly.

This naming convention is also a part of their marketing strategy, making people order a tall coffee or the bigger ones instead of short since they only display the tall, grande, and venti cups. Pretty sneaky if I do say so myself.

The American Cup Measurement

In the United States, a standard cup of coffee is around 5oz or 150ml. But if we’re talking about “cups,” its definition could vary. A cup is often a measure used for cooking and baking—a standard US cup measures around 8oz or 250ml. When using cups, it would be best to convert the cup first into Metric or Imperial before proceeding with your task.


Coffee mugs come in different forms and sizes. The size of these mugs also varies depending on the country of origin. When choosing the type of mug, it would be best to consider your preferences and the kind of coffee that you’ll be making. Don’t use an espresso mug if you’ll be making a latte since the flavor won’t be optimal. The same is true for the opposite.

Now that you’re better informed and educated, you can now decide on the right cup that is better suited for you. Go out there and brew a cup of coffee. You deserve it!

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