Coffee Cup Sizes: The Ultimate Guide

When you’ve found the perfect shop, and the perfect machine, it’s time to start thinking about the coffee you will be serving to your customers. One of the biggest questions to answer is – how big should my coffee cups be?

It’s really important to get this stage of your coffee shop journey right, as the size of the drinks you serve will ultimately determine how good your coffee tastes.

Size matters!

With modern specialty coffee, you can expect that drinks sizes will generally be smaller than traditional coffee shop models. Think less of a ‘bucket’ of coffee, and more of a carefully crafted drink that shows off the coffee within.

For that reason, we’d recommend that your drinks stay at around 10oz or below. This will allow you to get the most out of the coffee you’re making, without masking the flavour of it underneath a mountain of milk or water.

You want the drinks you serve to be memorable, and serving something that is too big and tasteless will likely put off customers from wanting to come back for another visit.

With many drinks, there is a bit of room for personal choice – drinks like americanos, cappuccinos and lattes could happily be served at either 8oz or 10oz, and this will depend on the coffee you are brewing. You might find that a more developed (or darker) coffee will stand up to a bigger cup size, whereas a light or medium roast would be better suited to a smaller sized cup.

Where it all starts – the espresso…

Other drinks, like espresso and flat white, have a more standard size. Your espresso shot will vary based on the recipe for the coffee you are using, but it will typically be around 36ml (or 2oz). For drinks like the flat white, there is just one size available – we suggest 6oz for this. There’s really no such thing as a ‘large flat white’, as this would just become something like a latte!

To conclude, here’s a rundown of the typical espresso-based drinks you will likely be serving, and the sizes we recommend to get the most out of your coffee.

NameDescriptionSize
EspressoA standard shot of coffee – often 36ml of coffee, extracted from 18g of coffee grounds in around 30 seconds.2oz
AmericanoAn espresso diluted with hot water. A smaller Americano is commonly referred to as a long black.8oz/10oz
Flat WhiteAn espresso topped up with very lightly textured milk, with just enough microfoam to hold a pattern. Served in a 6oz cup – there’s no such thing as a ‘large flat white’!6oz
LatteAn espresso topped up with textured microfoamed milk.8oz/10oz
CappuccinoAn espresso topped up with milk that’s been textured with more air than a latte. Aim for milk that can hold a stiff peak when lifted with a spoon.8oz/10oz
MochaChocolate melted into an espresso shot, topped up with milk that is textured somewhere between a latte and a cappuccino. Extras (cream, marshmallows etc) can be added.8oz/10oz

As always, we’re here to help when it comes to all things coffee shop related! If you’re in the process of starting your coffee shop journey, get in touch for a free consultation – we’d love to help!

Catch up on the rest of the series here, and we’ll see you next time for the all-important question of ‘how to price your drinks’?

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