K-cups, also known as coffee pods or capsules, have become an incredibly popular way to quickly and conveniently brew a single cup of coffee. But how much coffee can you actually expect to get out of one K-cup? The amount can vary depending on the size and brand of the K-cup.
Typical K-Cup Sizes
Most standard K-cups contain between 9-12 grams of ground coffee. Here are some of the most common sizes:
- 9 grams – Extra small/mini K-cups
- 10 grams – Small or “short” K-cups
- 12 grams – Regular or standard K-cups
- 14 grams – Large, extra bold, or carafe K-cups
As you can see, the amount of coffee in a K-cup can range quite a bit. Standard K-cups tend to contain 10-12 grams of ground coffee. Mini cups on the lower end provide less coffee, while extra bold cups pack more in.
How Much Brewed Coffee in a Cup?
The number of grams in a K-cup only tells part of the story. The other important factor is the yield – how much brewed coffee comes out of the pod. Brewing yield can vary based on a number of factors:
- K-cup size – Larger K-cups tend to produce a higher coffee yield
- Coffee roast – Darker roasts tend to extract more oils and solubles, increasing yield
- Brewing method – Certain brewers and settings lead to higher coffee extraction
- Water quality – Mineral content and hardness can impact brewed coffee volume
While yields vary, here are some general expectations for how much brewed coffee you can get from one K-cup:
|Brewed Coffee Yield
|9 gram mini K-cup
|About 6-8 oz (177-236 ml)
|10 gram small K-cup
|About 8-10 oz (236-295 ml)
|12 gram standard K-cup
|About 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
|14 gram large K-cup
|About 12-16 oz (354-473 ml)
As you can see from the table, the amount of brewed coffee from a K-cup typically ranges from 6-16 ounces depending on the size. The standard K-cups sold by brands like Starbucks and Keurig will usually yield 10-12 ounces.
K-Cup Coffee Yields by Brand
In addition to size, different coffee brands using standard sized K-cups can produce slightly different yields. Here’s an overview of the brewed coffee amount from popular brands using regular 10-12 gram K-cups:
- Starbucks K-Cup – 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
- Keurig K-Cup – 8-12 oz (236-354 ml)
- Green Mountain K-Cup – 8-10 oz (236-295 ml)
- Peet’s K-Cup – 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
- San Francisco Bay – 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
- Dunkin’ Donuts – 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
- McCafe – 10-12 oz (295-354 ml)
As you can see, even among major coffee brands, the output from a regular sized K-cup is fairly consistent at around 10-12 ounces. However, coffee roast level, water quality, and brewing method can impact the final yield.
Getting the Most from a K-Cup
If you want to maximize the amount of coffee from a single K-cup, here are a few tips:
- Use a large or extra bold K-cup with 14+ grams of coffee
- Select a darker roast coffee, which extracts more oils and solubles
- Use good quality water that is not overly hard
- Make sure your brewer is heating water to the ideal 195-205°F temperature
- Stop the brew when you’ve extracted the desired amount instead of a full mug
Combining these best practices can help coax out the maximum amount of brewed coffee from your K-cups.
How Many Cups of Coffee in a K-Cup?
When considering how many servings or “cups” of coffee you can get from a K-cup, keep in mind that actual coffee cup sizes can range from 4 to 20 ounces. Assuming an average coffee mug size of 12 ounces, here is how many typical mugs you can expect from different K-cup sizes:
|12 oz Cups
|9 gram mini K-cup
|About 0.5 to 0.75 cups
|10 gram small K-cup
|About 0.75 to 1 cup
|12 gram regular K-cup
|About 1 to 1.5 cups
|14 gram large K-cup
|About 1.5 to 2 cups
The typical single serve K-cup provides enough coffee for 1 standard cup. Larger K-cup sizes can provide up to 2 full mugs of coffee depending on the brewing yield. Mini K-cups produce less than a full serving. Keep this rough estimate in mind when preparing coffee for a group.
Other Factors Affecting Brewed Coffee Volume
In addition to K-cup size and brand, there are other factors that can impact how much coffee you get out of a single pod:
Water mineral content and hardness can significantly influence coffee extraction and brewed volume. Soft water tends to extract more coffee, while hard water containing minerals like calcium and magnesium inhibits extraction. Using filtered water can increase extraction efficiency and yield.
Freshly roasted coffee de-gasses CO2 over time after roasting. This carbon dioxide in the beans can increase brewed coffee volume. Older, stale K-cup coffee will degass less CO2 during brewing, lowering yield.
While you can’t adjust the grind size in pre-ground K-cups, companies do optimize their grind for different brewing needs. Finer grinds tend to slow flow rate and extraction, reducing brew volume compared to coarser grinds.
The hotter the brewing water temperature, the more coffee solubles will be extracted from the grounds, increasing brewed coffee volume. Always brew K-cup coffee at 195°F to 205°F.
Certain Keurig brewer models like the K-Duo and K-Duo Plus have features that affect water flow rate and contact time, changing extraction. Newer brewers may produce higher yields.
K-Cup Coffee Concentration
In addition to considering volume, you may be wondering how concentrated the brewed coffee from a K-cup is compared to other coffee preparation methods like drip machines or pour over. Here is an overview:
- K-Cup coffee – 1.2% to 1.4% dissolved coffee solubles
- Drip coffee maker – 1.15% to 1.35% dissolved coffee solubles
- Pour over – 1.3% to 1.5% dissolved coffee solubles
- French Press – 1.5% to 1.7% dissolved coffee solubles
- Cold brew concentrate – 2% to 4% dissolved coffee solubles
- Espresso – 6% to 8% dissolved coffee solubles
As you can see, K-cups produce coffee concentration and strength that is similar to auto-drip coffee makers. The concentration is lower than manual pour over and much lower than espresso-based drinks. This average strength is factored into the overall brewed coffee yield from a pod.
Do All K-Cups Produce the Same Amount?
All K-cups are not created equal when it comes to brewed coffee output. Here are some scenarios where you may get more or less coffee from your K-cups:
More Coffee from K-Cups
- Using larger 14+ gram “extra bold” K-cups
- Selecting a darker, oilier roasted coffee
- Brewing with perfectly heated 200°F water
- Using spring water or filtered water
- Keurig model with higher flow rate
- Fresher coffee roasted 2 weeks ago
- Coarser grind size in the K-cup
Less Coffee from K-Cups
- Using 9 gram “mini” K-cups
- Choosing a lighter roasted coffee
- Brewing with low 180°F temperature
- Using hard tap water
- Older Keurig model with low flow
- Stale pre-ground coffee from months ago
- Super fine grind in the K-cup
While standard 10-12 gram K-cups under normal conditions will yield about 10-12 oz, deviating from the norm in either direction can significantly impact your final brewed coffee volume. Choose your pod and brewing factors wisely!
Key Takeaways on K-Cup Coffee Yield
Here are some key takeaways on how much brewed coffee you can expect from K-cups:
- Standard K-cups contain 10-12 grams of ground coffee
- Regular K-cups produce about 10-12 oz of brewed coffee
- Large K-cups yield up to 16 oz of brewed coffee
- Mini K-cups only yield about 6-8 oz
- Darker roasts produce more coffee than lighter roasts
- Newer brewers may extract more than older models
- Ideal water, grind, and brewing methods maximize yield
- You can typically get 1-2 servings per K-cup
While amounts can vary, you can expect the standard single-use K-cups sold by brands like Keurig and Starbucks to provide approximately 10-12 ounces or 1-1.5 average mugs of brewed coffee. Adjusting brewing factors, water quality, and the beans themselves can influence the final yield and volume produced by a K-cup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some K-cups produce more coffee than others?
There are a few key reasons why coffee yield can vary between K-cups:
- Size of K-cup – Larger K-cups contain more ground coffee
- Coffee roast level – Darker roasts extract more solubles and oils
- Coffee freshness – Degassing CO2 increases extraction efficiency
- Grind size – Coarser grinds lead to higher yields
Do K-cups make strong coffee?
K-cups produce a medium strength brew that is comparable to drip coffee. The 1.2%-1.4% coffee solubles concentration is lower than espresso and on par with batch brewing methods. K-cups provide convenience, but not necessarily strong coffee.
Can you reuse a K-cup?
It is not recommended to reuse K-cups. The pods are designed for single use. Reusing old wet grounds can lead to reduced extraction, clogging, and off flavors in the brewed coffee. Fresh grounds are ideal for each use.
How many ounces of coffee come from a 12 gram K-cup?
A standard 12 gram K-cup will produce about 10-12 ounces or 295-354 ml of brewed coffee. However, factors like grind, roast, water quality, and brewing method can slightly increase or decrease the final yield.
Why does my Keurig not brew a full cup?
If your Keurig brews less than the expected 8-12 oz from a K-cup, check that the water temperature is in the ideal 195°F-205°F range. Also descale the machine to prevent mineral buildup from restricting water flow. Use filtered water if your tap water is hard.
The Bottom Line
K-cups offer speed and convenience, brewing customizable single serving cups of coffee. While amounts can vary, a standard 10-12 gram K-cup will produce around 10-12 ounces or 1-1.5 average mugs of coffee. Larger K-cup sizes, darker roasts, and optimal brewing conditions can maximize the amount of delicious, freshly brewed coffee from your K-cups.