Did you know that the size of your coffee cup can affect how your coffee tastes?
If you get the cup size for your coffee wrong, your favorite coffee may taste off because the cup size dictates how much coffee you need to make your favorite brew.
If you use not enough coffee grounds you might end up with a weak coffee and more milk than you wanted.
Luckily the Italian Espresso Institute made a start on defining clear requirements for a perfect espresso cup size. There are many other mug sizes for different coffees, although they are not as stringent.
Make the right choice of cup size for any coffee or occasion with the following standards for coffee cup sizes, from your average cappuccino to special brews.
Standard Coffee Cup Size
Most standard cup sizes are between 8oz and 10oz. These work best for drip coffee. However, some coffee cups can go all the way up to 15oz and more for hardened coffee lovers.
Some coffee cups also fall under the barista standard, which means they neatly fit under the standard coffee machine heads. These are used by most coffee chains, like Starbucks.
There is also a cup size and style for every coffee type. These depend on what type of coffee you prefer, as such the mug may be smaller or bigger than the standard.
One thing to mention here is that standards for coffee cups are not international, so the USA is nearly the only country that used the imperial measurement system, which means that 8oz isn’t accepted everywhere.
Here is an overview of most of the standard coffee cup sizes:
|Type of coffee||Size (oz)||Size (ml)|
Espresso Cup Size
We start off with the smallest coffee cups, which are used for espresso. They are between 2oz and 3oz, but there are also slightly larger 3.5oz and 4oz versions available.
These espresso cups are also known as demitasses and they are designed to increase the flavor of espresso.
Espresso cups have a wide rim with a narrow base that brings all the delicious aromas of the coffee closer to your nose. The smaller cup size also helps to retain heat and keeps the crema thick.
The Italian Espresso Institute has defined espresso cups to be “a white China cup, free of any inside decoration, elliptical in shape, with a capacity of 50-100 milliliters (1.7-3.4oz)”.
Cappuccino Cup Size
Cappuccinos are essentially strong espresso shots with foamed milk. The size of the espresso shot is standard, so only the amount of milk in the cappuccino varies.
At 5oz to 6oz cappuccino cups are usually twice the size of espresso cups. Their rim can be quite wide, still with a narrow base. Most cappuccino cups also come with a saucer plate.
Latte Cup Size
The standard latte cup resembles more a bowl than a mug because it can hold up to 15oz of coffee. This large size allows you to add more frothy milk that creates a beautiful and tasty brew.
Oversized Coffee Cup Sizes
There are two categories of oversized coffee cup sizes: oversized latte and oversized classic. The oversized classic can hold between 20oz and 25oz of coffee, where the oversized latte might be even bigger.
With their larger size, some of these cups might also be alternatively used as soup or snack bowls.
Travel Coffee Mug Sizes
Most available travel mugs are relatively large, ranging from 15oz to 20oz. You can get a tumbler without a handle or a classic travel mug.
The tumblers are designed to fit a car cup holder, but if you need a handle and more stability, you are better off with a classic travel mug. As they are insulated, they are ideal if you need a big shot of coffee on the go.
Great for all commuters, these mugs have become more and more popular in recent years. You can find them in a variety of colors and styles.
Starbucks Coffee Cup Sizes
As one of the most popular coffee chains, Starbucks uses its own naming system to indicate coffee cup sizes.
Instead of the standard number name for the cup size, Starbucks uses short (8oz), tall (12oz), grande (16oz), and venti (20oz). They also offer a trenta (31oz) which is available for some of their caffeinated cold beverages.
Starbucks’ naming convention means that any customer can walk into a Starbucks anywhere around the world and order their favorite size coffee, without a language barrier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Coffee Cup Is Best For My Average Morning Coffee?
The right cup size depends on the type of your favorite coffee. The typical coffee mug sold holds roughly 3oz, which is quite small compared to the average size mug with 8oz.
True coffee lovers might not like the idea of a standard mug but for your daily coffee fix, a mug works perfectly fine.
Some coffee drinkers also have large mugs at home. A cappuccino tastes just as good in a mug as your standard drip coffee.
Mugs come in all shapes and sizes, as well as different designs. They can be made from stoneware, bone china or earthenware. Usually, mugs are thicker than a standard coffee cup and they can be used in informal settings.
In brief, coffee mugs are great for your everyday coffee fix. They are convenient and save you the washing up of a saucer.
What’s The Right Material For A Coffee Cup?
Choosing the right cup for your favorite coffee does not only depend on size. The material of the coffee cup also determines the taste of your brew.
Ceramic mugs don’t absorb the aroma or flavor of the coffee giving you a neutral taste experience. Ceramic cups and mugs are also more durable and longer-lasting if you don’t drop them.
Stainless steel mugs are usually insulated to keep your beverage warm for longer. Mostly used for travel mugs, stainless steel doesn’t affect the flavor of the coffee.
Plastic cups or mugs should be your last resort.
They often absorb flavors with your coffee will start to taste different after a while. Some research found that it takes only 15 minutes for the plastic layer to dissolve and release a large number of harmful micro-particles into your drink.
On top of the taste and health issues that this could cause, plastic is not eco-friendly.
Paper cups might sound like an environmentally friendly option but paper on its own can’t hold liquid so baristas use coffee cups lined with polyethylene (a plastic that acts as a moisture barrier).
Some coffee companies already announced that they will completely eliminate polystyrene and cups containing plastics within the next years. Instead, they are looking to use double-walled paper cups which are compostable and recyclable.
However, the best way to avoid any mug issues is to use your own mug. Some coffee shops even give you a small discount if you bring your own cup.
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