How many cups is a typical coffee cup?

When it comes to measuring out coffee or other beverages, most people have some familiarity with using standard coffee cups or mugs. However, if you take a closer look, not all coffee cups actually hold the same amount of liquid. So how many cups is a typical coffee cup? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of coffee cup sizes and capacities.

What is a “cup” of coffee?

In the United States, a “cup” of coffee is generally considered to be 6 ounces or 177 milliliters. This measurement originated back in the early 20th century and has become the standard reference that most American recipes and guidelines for coffee use today.

6 ounces or 177 mL is roughly the capacity of your average coffee mug or smaller coffee cup. So if you fill up a typical mug, you’d have what is defined as “1 cup” of coffee.

Typical coffee cup sizes

However, coffee cups come in many shapes and sizes beyond just a simple 6 oz mug. Here are some of the most common coffee cup capacities you’re likely to encounter:

Small cups

– Espresso cup: 1.5-2 ounces or 44-59 mL

– Demitasse cup: 2-3 ounces or 59-89 mL

Medium cups

– Cappuccino cup: 5-6 ounces or 148-177 mL

– Latte cup: 6-8 ounces or 177-237 mL

– Small mug: 8-12 ounces or 237-355 mL

Large cups

– Large mug: 12-16 ounces or 355-473 mL

– Extra large mug: 16-20 ounces or 473-591 mL

– Bowl-shaped mug: 20+ ounces or 591+ mL

– Travel mug: 12-24 ounces or 355-710 mL

How different cup sizes compare to a 6 oz “cup” of coffee

To visualize how these different coffee cup capacities compare to the standard 6 ounce “cup” of coffee, here is a helpful table:

Cup Type Ounces Milliliters vs 6 oz “Cup”
Espresso cup 1.5-2 44-59 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Demitasse cup 2-3 59-89 1/3 to 1/2 cup
Cappuccino cup 5-6 148-177 Nearly equal
Latte cup 6-8 177-237 1 to 1 1/3 cup
Small mug 8-12 237-355 1 1/3 to 2 cups
Large mug 12-16 355-473 2 to 2 2/3 cups
Extra large mug 16-20 473-591 2 2/3 to 3 1/3 cups
Bowl mug 20+ 591+ Over 3 cups
Travel mug 12-24 355-710 2 to 4 cups

As you can see, the amount of coffee a typical cup holds can vary quite a bit depending on its size and shape. Let’s look at some of the most common coffee cup types in more detail.

Small coffee cups


Espresso cups are tiny, usually holding just 1.5-2 ounces of liquid. That’s only about 1/4 to 1/3 of a standard 6 oz coffee cup.

These petite cups are specially designed for serving concentrated espresso shots. The small size helps prevent the espresso from getting cold too quickly while also providing the perfect portion for sipping the strong brew.


Slightly larger than espresso cups, demitasse cups typically hold 2-3 ounces of coffee. That equates to between 1/3 and 1/2 of a full 6 ounce cup.

The demitasse cup is ideal for serving espresso-based drinks like macchiatos in addition to espresso shots. The small capacity showcases the intense espresso while allowing some room for a dollop of foam or frothed milk.

Medium coffee cups


A cappuccino cup generally holds 5-6 ounces of liquid. This mid-size cup is specially designed for serving the frothy coffee drink made of espresso and steamed milk.

The 5-6 ounce capacity provides room for 1-2 shots of espresso plus hot foamed milk to make the signature cappuccino layered effect in the cup.


At 6-8 ounces, latte cups are slightly larger than cappuccino cups. They provide capacity for the greater amount of steamed milk that makes up a latte.

This cup size highlights the milky appearance of the latte while still allowing the espresso flavor to come through. An 8 ounce latte cup can hold 1 1/3 standard 6 ounce cups of coffee.

Small mug

A small coffee mug usually holds 8-12 ounces of liquid. That translates to about 1 1/3 to 2 standard cups of coffee.

The petite mug size is ideal for serving Americanos, small batches of regular brewed coffee, and other coffee drinks without excess liquid.

Large coffee cups

Large mug

A typical large coffee mug measures 12-16 ounces. So it can hold anywhere from 2 to 2 2/3 cups of coffee in a standard 6 ounce cup measurement.

Large mugs allow you to make coffee drinks with more liquid like a 16 ounce cafe latte. But they also provide plenty of capacity for regular brewed coffee if you want more than 8-12 ounces in your cup.

Extra large mug

Extra large mugs hold an impressive 16-20 ounces of coffee. That equates to 2 2/3 to 3 1/3 standard 6 ounce cups.

These oversized mugs are great for giant coffee drinks like cafe lattes and cappuccinos. They also allow you to load up on a large portion of regular drip coffee or fill up your travel mug before heading out the door.

Bowl-shaped mug

Bowl mugs provide tons of liquid capacity at 20+ ounce sizes. You could fit over 3 standard cups worth of coffee in these extra roomy mugs.

The huge bowl-shaped design allows you to make giant-sized cafe drinks at home. You can also use it when you want to maximize your regular brewed coffee intake first thing in the morning.

Travel mugs

Travel mugs typically range from 12-24 ounces in capacity. That covers anywhere from 2 to 4 standard coffee cups.

The larger size allows you to take a generous portion of coffee on the go. And the sealed, insulated design keeps it hot for hours while preventing spills.

Travel mugs are great for taking large coffeehouse drinks like 20 oz cafe lattes out of the cafe. But they also allow you to easily take a 16-24 ounce portion of brewed coffee with you for sustainable refills throughout the morning.

Factors that affect coffee cup size

As we’ve seen, coffee cups can vary greatly in how many ounces or cups of coffee they actually hold. Here are some of the key factors that affect coffee cup capacities:

Intended drink style

Espresso cups are small because they need to hold concentrated espresso shots. Cappuccino cups are mid-sized to suit the proportions of espresso, steamed milk, and foam that make up the drink. And bowl mugs allow for giant-sized specialty drinks.

Country of origin

Coffee cup sizes can vary around the world based on cultural coffee drinking habits. For example, Italian espresso cups are typically smaller than American versions.


Heavy, thick ceramics like stoneware retain heat better but lower capacity. Thin porcelain lets you design larger cups more suitable for big coffee drinks.

Insulation needs

Insulated travel mugs tend to be larger to allow for adequate insulation and to make up for the extra space this takes up.

Tips for identifying coffee cup capacity

Since cup sizes can vary so widely, here are some tips for identifying just how much coffee your coffee cups or travel mugs can hold:

Look for volume markings – Some cups will have ounce or mL indicators right on the container so you can see the capacity.

Use a measuring cup – Fill up the coffee cup with water from a liquid measuring cup to determine the exact capacity.

Read product details – Check the product description and specs if buying cups online to see the listed capacity.

Weigh on a kitchen scale – Weigh the empty cup, then weigh again filled with water. The difference in grams is the capacity in mL.

Compare to standard sizes – Line up cups next to a standard 6 oz mug or 8 oz measuring cup to visually compare capacities.

Standard coffee measurements

Understanding how much liquid coffee cups hold is also helpful for preparing the right coffee drink proportions and yields. Here are some typical coffee measurements for reference:


– Single shot: 0.85-1.5 ounces or 25-45 mL

– Double shot: 1.7-3 ounces or 50-90 mL


– Single: 5-7 ounces or 150-200 mL

– Double: 7-10 ounces or 200-300 mL

Cafe latte

– Small/single: 8 ounces or 240 mL

– Medium/double: 12 ounces or 350 mL

– Large: 16 ounces or 470 mL

Brewed coffee

– Cup: 6 ounces or 180 mL

– Mug: 8-12 ounces or 240-350 mL

– Travel mug: 16-20 ounces or 470-600 mL

– Small carafe: 32 ounces or 950 mL

– Large carafe: 64 ounces or 1.9 L

So if you want to make a 12 oz cafe latte, you’d need at least a 10-12 ounce coffee cup or mug to allow for the steamed milk and foam. Or you could make a full pot of brewed coffee and pour it into 20 ounce travel mugs to bring with you on your commute.

Choosing the right coffee cup size

As you can see, coffee cups can range dramatically in capacity from just an ounce or two up to over 20 ounces. So which size is right for you? Here are some tips:

– Choose smaller 2-3 oz cups for espresso drinks or Turkish coffee.

– Opt for 5-6 oz cups to make cappuccinos and flat whites.

– Pick 8-12 oz mugs for Americanos, drip coffee, and smaller café drinks.

– Go for 16-24 oz travel mugs to take large portions of coffee on the go.

– Use 20+ oz oversized mugs when you want to make extra large café beverages.

The typical 6-8 ounce coffee cup size is a happy medium that suits most everyday coffee drinking needs. But don’t be afraid to go smaller to keep espresso from getting cold or larger when you need a huge morning joe!


While a “cup” of coffee is classically defined as 6 ounces, typical coffee cup sizes can range from just an ounce up to over 20 ounces depending on the intended drink style and your own preferences. Smaller cups showcase espresso and espresso-based drinks while larger mugs and travel cups provide capacity for big portions of brewed coffee and giant cafe beverages.

Knowing the full range of coffee cup sizes and capacities allows you to pick the perfect cup for everything from your morning espresso to an extra large latte to take on the go. So don’t just default to a 6 ounce mug. Experiment with different coffee cup sizes to find your ideal vessel for enjoying java just the way you like it.

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