Understanding Coffee Maker Cup Size

Understanding Coffee Maker Cup Size

Why dont I get twelve cups of coffee from my 12-cup brewer?

Its the holidays and the extended family is staying at your place. You brew a complete pot in your brand new 12-cup Cuisinart. Relatives jockey for their morning joe, but only the first five in line get their fill. The pot is empty. Urgh! You knew youd have a houseful — thats why you bought the large brewer. What went wrong?

A Cup of Coffee Does Not average 8 Ounces

Coffee maker cup sizes are not uniform. The number of ounces that make up a cup varies by manufacturer. The same company can already have models that differ amongst themselves.

For example, in a Bodum 3-cup French press, a cup measures 4 oz. But if you are using the 8-cup Bodum French press, a cup comes in at 4.25 oz. But wait! Bodum also makes vacuum brewers and a cup in one of those is around 5.7 oz. Confused in addition?

Experts already disagree when trying to name the most commonly used cup measurement. Votes are divided between 4 oz., 5 oz., and 6 oz.

One thing is for sure: a cup of coffee does not fill up the typical 12 oz. coffee mug found in most American homes.

Ounces per Cup in Popular Coffee Maker Brands

Bunn: 5 oz Bodum (French Press): 4 oz to 4.25 oz Bodum (Vacuum): 5.7 oz Capresso: 5 oz Cona: 5.5 oz to 5.7 oz Cuisinart: 5 oz Krups: 5 oz Proctor Silex: 4.5 oz Technivorm: 4.2 oz Zojirushi: 5.1 oz

To complicate things already further, coffee brewing instructions frequently tell you how much ground coffee to add for every 6 ounces of water. Youll see this metric on the back of a can of Maxwell House in addition as published by coffee authorities such as the National Coffee Association of U.S.A., Inc. Further proof of the without of standardization.
Metric Conversion

So whats up with the folks at Zojirushi? Did they sit down and decide that a cup of coffee should be 5.1 oz (5.0721, to be exact)?

Coffee brewers designed and marketed outside of the US frequently start out with metric measurements. The brewer capacity will be in liters, and the corresponding number of cups will be a nice round figure in milliliters.

When these brewers are sold in the U.S., the cup capacity remains the same, but the milliliters are converted to ounces – and frequently end up as fractional ounces. Which look weird.

Zojirushi is a Japanese housewares company. Their 10-cup Fresh Brew thermal coffee maker has a capacity of 1.5 liters. That comes to 150 ml per cup. But when we transform the Fresh Brew to ounces, the 1.5 liters becomes a total capacity of 50.721 ounces – or 5.721 ounces per cup. nevertheless weird — but understandable.
Supersize It

Another thing to consider when realizing that your 12-cup brewer serves less than six people, is the inclination of Americans to supersize. We love our SUVs and our Big Gulps. Coffee is no exception, as evidenced by the recently introduced Trenta size at Starbucks. The Trenta holds a whopping 31 oz, a complete 11 oz more than Starbucks already-huge Venti size.

Bigger is a trend in our society, and it skews our expectations. Instinctively, we want a cup of coffee to fill up our favorite ceramic mug or our insulated travel mug. And those everyday items are BIG.

Our household coffee makers have not modificated to these expectations. Cup quantity is more in line with historically smaller serving sizes and in line with a global perspective. (You wont find a Trenta-sized anything in a traditional European coffee house.)

Divide to Conquer

That the number of mugs you can fill from one pot of brewed coffee differs so much from the number advertised on the box is truly a shared source of consumer dissatisfaction with a coffee maker buy.

But a little bit of division is all that is necessary to manage expectations when it comes to coffee maker cup size.

When shopping for a coffee maker, I recommend completely ignoring the advertised number of cups.

Instead, pay attention to the maximum number of ounces that the water tank holds. Then, measure the capacity in ounces of the coffee mug or cup you typically use. Divide the tank capacity by the mug capacity. This tells you how many times you can fill your favorite mug – or how many real-life servings to expect.


A brewers advertised number of cups refers to a serving size, and not a unit of measure Coffee maker serving sizes are much smaller than weve come to expect

When you need to satisfy a crowd or fill travel mugs for a long commute, keep these things in mind and everyone will get their fill.

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