How Many Ounces Do Standard Coffee Cup Sizes Hold?
Get the coffee cup size wrong and your favorite caffeinated beverage may feel off. In fact, there are different coffee mug sizes for each type of coffee. For example, the Italian Espresso Institute has defined clear requirements for a perfect espresso cup size. Other standards are not that stringent, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know about them.
This article provides a detailed overview of the standard and specialized coffee cup sizes. By the end of it, you’ll be able to make a more educated choice in terms of size for any type of coffee or occasion.
Standard Coffee Cup Size
In general, the standard cup sizes are between 8oz and 10oz, which works great for drip coffee. On the other hand, cups can go all the way up to 15oz or more to accommodate those who really need to fill up on caffeine. As indicated, there is also a cup size for every coffee type. Depending on what type of coffee you like, the cup may be bigger or smaller than the standard.
Some cups fall under the barista standard. This means that they fit perfectly under coffee machine group heads.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss the standard coffee cup size for popular coffee types. The list starts with the smallest of them and also includes a rundown of oversized models.
Espresso cups are usually between 2oz and 3oz, but there are 3.5oz and 4oz models as well. These cups are also known as demitasses and are designed to accentuate the espresso flavor. They feature a wide rim and a narrow base which brings all the aromas closer to your nose and palate. (1)
“Ideal cup for Italian espresso is a white china cup, free of any inside decoration, elliptical in shape, with a capacity of 50-100 milliliters (1.7-3.4oz).” – Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano
These are usually twice the size of an espresso cup and come at 5oz to 6oz. The rim can be quite wide, but the base still remains narrow. Usually, cappuccino cups/mugs come with a saucer plate. See our favorites here.
A latte cup looks more like a bowl than a cup, and it can hold up to 15oz of coffee. Essentially, this cup allows you to add all the extras that make latte special. The wide shape is perfectly designed for pouring steam milk and creating some picture-worthy latte art. (2)
Irvine Quek Siew Lhek from Malaysia is the winner of the 2018 World Latte Art Championship.
Oversized cups may fall into one of the two categories – oversized classic and oversized latte. As for the classic model, it usually holds between 20oz and 25oz of coffee. An oversized latte might be even a bit bigger than that. Due to the ample capacity, oversized latte cups are often used as snack or even soup bowls.
This type of coffee container belongs in a category of its own and you can either choose a tumbler or a classic travel mug (see the best ones here). When it comes to capacity, both tumblers and classic travel mugs hold between 15oz and 20oz of coffee.
A tumbler is designed to fit a car cup holder and it’s an excellent gift for a coffee lover who is always on the go. But if you need additional stability and a handle, classic travel mug would be a better option. The best thing about these is that they come in a variety of colors and styles, plus there are shops that can customize the mug for you.
Starbucks Coffee Cup Sizes
Starbucks uses a cute naming system to indicate different cup sizes. The options you are presented with are tall, short, venti, and grande. Of course, each name signifies a specific quantity. Short is 8oz, tall is 12oz, grande holds 16oz, and venti (Italian for twenty) is the biggest at 20oz.
In addition, there is the trenta cold, which holds 31oz and is available for some cold caffeinated beverages. (3)
Choosing between different coffee mug sizes depends on your lifestyle and coffee preferences. In other words, you wouldn’t put a shot of espresso in an oversized travel mug, but you also wouldn’t put an espresso cup in your car’s cup holder even if it would fit in there. Each type of coffee is best enjoyed from a cup that’s specially designed for it.
And if you are a real connoisseur, why not get a special cup/mug for all your favorite coffee types?
What is the best mug for coffee?
The best mug for coffee is the one that fits your needs and preferences. If you are looking for a travel mug, there is a wide selection of large mugs for busy or outdoorsy people. However, if you love a good cup of espresso, you should make sure the cup doesn’t go over 3.4oz. You can also read our more elaborate take on this topic here.
Are ceramic coffee mugs safe?
Ceramic coffee mugs are safe, provided that the material has been properly baked. Otherwise, certain poisonous substances might seep into the drink. To be on the safe side, always go for more expensive, brand-name ceramic mugs to ensure that the build quality is up to par.
How big is the average coffee mug?
The average coffee mug in the U.S. is between 8oz and 12oz. It means that the average mug is about twice the size of a teacup and it holds 350ml of liquid. This is also what you’d call a classic or standard cup and you probably have a few of those in your kitchen cupboard.
- The Certified Italian Espresso and Cappuccino (2016, December). Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano. Retrieved from http://www.espressoitaliano.org/files/File/istituzionale_inei_hq_en.pdf
- Full Rankings & Scores for the 2018 World Latte Art Championship. (2019, May 07). Retrieved from https://www.worldcoffeeevents.org/full-rankings-scores-for-the-2018-world-latte-art-championship/
- Nelson, B. (2019, April 11). The Real Reason Why Starbucks Coffee Sizes Aren't Small, Medium, and Large. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/food/fun/starbucks-coffee-sizes-explained/