Let’s say you’re making a cappuccino.
Aside from great coffee beans, milk, and an espresso machine, you need a cup of the right size.
You might be wondering – does the cup size really matter?
Of course, it does.
Cups come in different sizes, and they’re all suitable for certain types of coffee.
Don’t worry. After thorough research, I’ve gathered all the info you might ever need to create a simple coffee cup sizes chart. This should make your job much easier.
Let’s dive in.
Coffee Mug Sizes Chart
|2 – 3 ounces||Espresso, ristretto, lungo, macchiato|
|5 – 6 ounces||Cappuccino, flat white, filter coffee|
|8 – 15 ounces||Americano, drip coffee, latte, mocha, black eye coffee|
|11 – 15 ounces||Iced coffee, frappuccino|
Standard Coffee Mug Sizes
That’s quite a bunch of numbers, right?
Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it looks. Let’s see what the standard sizes of coffee mugs are.
2 – 3 oz Mugs
A mug of this size is often called an “espresso cup.”
But it actually has a name – demitasse. Demitasse is a French word that means “half a cup.” It holds between 2 and 3 ounces, which is half the amount of a regular coffee cup – hence the name.
This type of cup originated in 1800s France, where it was used for serving coffee after dinner.
You see, strong and high-quality coffee was seen as a luxury at that time. So serving it after the meal was a matter of prestige.
Back in the day, demitasse cups had one-of-a-kind decorations with flowers and other colorful motifs. They were so flamboyant that, when not in use, they were displayed in glass cabinets!
Oh, and let’s not forget that they would have a matching saucer. A saucer not only allows you to carry the cup much easier, but it also prevents coffee drips from staining the tablecloth.
Today, demitasse is usually white in color and made of either ceramic or porcelain. But double glass has also become a popular option in recent years.
This type of cup is used to serve concentrated coffee, such as Turkish coffee and espresso. It has a narrow base and slightly wider brim, which enhances the flavor and body of the drink.
5 – 6 oz Mugs
Next on the list are mugs ranging between 5 and 6 ounces in capacity.
If you own a drip coffee maker at home, then you know that this type of machine considers a cup of coffee to be 5 ounces.
On the other hand, everywhere in the world aside from the US, the standard coffee cup size is 6 ounces.
But let’s be honest – who drinks just 5 or 6 ounces of regular black coffee?
In reality, this mug size is going to be used for a cappuccino or flat white.
The majority of cups this size will have a narrow base and a much wider brim than a demitasse.
To allow the espresso part of the drink to sit at the bottom with steamed milk on top.
If you were to pour a cappuccino into a cup that’s wide and cylindrical, the two layers would completely blend. And what you’d get that way is milk with a tiny bit of coffee flavor.
8 – 15 oz Mugs
Speaking as a fellow coffee lover, this is probably the most common cup size.
Why – you might ask?
Well, because it can accommodate a variety of coffee drinks.
Americano, latte, mocha, drip coffee…you name it.
Mugs that range in capacities between 8 and 15 ounces are generally cylindrical in shape.
Imagine sipping coffee while eating an omelet in a diner back in the 50s. That’s the kind of shape I’m talking about.
The cylindrical shape is the most economical. In other words, it holds the most volume with the lowest surface area.
We all have at least one cylindrical-shaped mug of this size in our kitchen. Many of us also have them personalized, often received as a gift.
You know, that one mug no one in your household dares to use because, well, it’s your mug.
11 – 15 oz Mugs
The largest of the standard mugs, these are perfect for large drinks, like a latte or regular black coffee (if you like to drink gallons of it).
Generally, they’re either bowl-shaped cups or cylindrical like diner mugs. But larger, of course.
If you were to order a latte at a cafe, you’d probably get a large bowl-shaped mug that widens at the brim. This gives plenty of room on the top for cute latte art.
Large Americano, on the other hand, would be served in a diner-style mug.
Of course, both types of mugs would also be great for serving tea and even soup.
Like your coffee in a double-digit capacity? Can’t blame you. I’m guilty of the same thing.
Here are different types of oversized mugs.
Oversized Classic Mugs (20 – 25 oz)
This type of mug is exactly what the name says it is – an oversized version of the classic diner-style mug.
Pulling an all-nighter?
This mug is your best friend.
This type of mug can hold about a 300-milligrams-of-caffeine worth of black coffee. That’s a little less than your recommended daily intake.
Now, you probably don’t drink that amount of coffee at one go very often. But on those days that you do, having such a large mug comes in handy.
Oversized Latte Mugs (20 – 25 oz)
Interestingly enough, latte mugs in this capacity aren’t usually bowl-shaped.
You can definitely find models in that shape, but they’re more commonly used for teas and soups.
Because they’re so wide at the brim, making latte art harder to make.
Instead, they’re tall and slightly wider at the brim than at the base. But in this size, there’s still enough room for making cool latte art.
This type of mug is also great for frappuccinos, frappes, and iced coffee.
Travel Mugs (15 – 20 oz)
If you want to sip on your coffee throughout the day but have to run errands, then a travel mug is the way to go.
Travel mugs are narrow at the bottom to fit into your car’s drink holder. They can also be closed so that you don’t spill the drink. This allows you to put it into your backpack’s pocket and carry it with you.
Travel mugs come in different styles and materials. I love that because you can really find the one most suitable for your needs.
Want an affordable and lightweight option? Choose a plastic one.
Need something that keeps your coffee hot for hours? Metal is your choice.
A good-looking mug that doesn’t retain flavor? Go with ceramic.
Then, you can choose accessories like a handle or a spill-proof lid.
Travel Tumbler (15 – 20 oz)
A tumbler is pretty similar to a travel mug. It’s designed for enjoying your drink on the go and is similar in shape.
The main difference between the two is that a tumbler usually comes with a straw. Because of that, you can’t just flip it upside down without spilling. But it’s still great for carrying your coffee with you when you’re strolling down the mall.
Plus, they’re especially great for iced drinks. The addition of a straw makes it easier to enjoy a cool beverage while you’re on the move.
Espresso Drinks Cup Sizes
As you can see, coffee cups come in quite a few sizes. But when it comes to espresso-based drinks, each of them uses a specific type of cup.
Standard espresso is served in a demitasse cup, which is between 2 and 3 ounces.
Such a small amount of coffee means it cools down rather fast. To slow that down, we typically use a thick ceramic cup. Nowadays, double-walled glass is also a common choice. Both of these materials are great at retaining heat.
As for the shape, an espresso cup is slightly narrow at the bottom and wide at the brim. In a way, it’s shaped like an egg.
In a way, the cup hugs the espresso shot, allowing a layer of crema to float on top. That allows you to enjoy the aroma even before you take the first sip.
A latte is made of:
- ⅓ espresso
- ⅔ steamed milk
- A layer of foam
Each of these ingredients is perfectly layered in a specific order.
The best cup for serving this drink is a bowl-shaped ceramic cup.
This type of cup makes it easy for you to add steamed milk. Plus, it also provides ample surface for creating latte art.
However, some cafes prefer to serve a latte in a tall glass cup. While this type of cup isn’t ideal for latte art, it’s a great way to show off the beauty of latte layers.
The standard size for serving a latte is an 8 oz cup. But generally, latte cups can be anywhere between 8 and 15 ounces.
A cappuccino is served in a bowl-shaped mug, just like a latte. However, it’s slightly smaller in size – 5 ounces. Depending on the cafe, you might also see it served as a 6-ounce drink.
A cappuccino has three distinct layers:
- Steamed milk
- Foamed milk
Sounds similar to a latte, right?
Well, cappuccino has a much thicker layer of foam on top.
Because of that, you don’t really want to serve it in a tall mug. That way, you’ll have to tilt the cup just to get through the foam layer.
Instead, you want it served in a bowl-shaped cup. The narrow bottom and wider brim allow you to easily layer each ingredient.
Starbucks Cup Sizes
You’ve probably noticed that Starbucks has its own cup sizes.
And I know what you’re thinking – their names sound so weird!
But they’re actually more straightforward than you might think.
Here’s what they mean:
- Demi – this is the smallest option, which is 3 ounces. It’s used to serve a shot of espresso or ristretto.
- Short – this is an 8-ounce cup. This is typically the smallest cup size for most hot drinks.
- Tall – order a tall, and you’ll get a 12-ounce cup. This is the smallest option for most cold drinks.
- Grande – Italian for “big,” grande is a 16-ounce cup.
- Venti – this word means “20” in Italian, although the cup has 24 ounces. This is the largest size for most hot coffee drinks.
- Trenta – the largest option, this cup has 30 ounces. Cold brew, iced coffee, and refreshers are the only drinks that come in this size.
Why Does Cup Size Matter?
As you can see, certain drinks are only served in specific cup sizes.
But why does it matter?
Well, what’s clear is that you can’t pour a large drink into a small cup. There’s no rocket science behind that.
But what about using a larger cup or a smaller amount of coffee?
That’s actually not advisable either, especially when you’re not using a preheated cup.
Let’s say you pour a shot of espresso into your large diner mug. Only the bottom part of the mug will be in contact with hot liquid.
What will happen is espresso will cool down fast through heat being lost to the surroundings. In this case, it’s the surface of the mug not in direct contact with a hot coffee drink.
To Sum Things Up
There are many different cup sizes available, and not all of them are suitable for each coffee beverage.
For that reason, ordering coffee at a cafe can seem tricky. But our cup chart and explanation of each size should make your job a bit easier.
Wondering how to choose the right Keurig cup size? Check out our guide on different sizes of cups that you can use with your Keurig machine.
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