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What Do the Numbers on a Coffee Pot Mean? Cup Measurement Guide

coffee pot on brown wooden table beside a ceramic cup

Whether you’re new to the world of coffee or have been a fan for as long as you can remember, you may wonder what the numbers on a coffee pot represent. If you have, don’t feel alone. At some point in life, every coffee drinker asks this same question. Does the answer even matter? Yes! We want to make the best cup of coffee possible and to do that, we need to know.

Looking at your coffee maker, you’ll notice the numbers up the side of the pot. We know these numbers are there to tell us how much coffee we are making, but what unit of measurement is being used? Are the numbers on a coffee pot representing cups or ounces? The numbers refer to the number of cups, but there’s a catch. Let’s take a deeper look at what those numbers are all about and what it means to make a great cup of coffee.

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What Constitutes a Cup of Coffee?

Cup sizes vary according to country. In the US our standard cup is 8 ounces, the Canadian cup is 7.6 ounces, and in Japan, a standard cup is equal to 6.7 ounces. When it comes to coffee pots, however, this measurement is slightly different. The measurements on the side of your coffee pot may be in cups, but it isn’t your standard 8-ounce size. Those units are measured at 1 cup is equal to 6 ounces.

coffee in a white cup with coffee beans
Image Credit: Nile, Pixabay

Why All The Different Measurements?

You may be wondering why coffee pots aren’t measured the same as a standard cup. This is due to the amount of ground coffee you’ll be adding when making a pot of coffee. More or less, these numbers stand for serving size, not standard measurement. If you’re making coffee and use the full 8 ounces of water per cup measurement, your coffee will be weaker and not taste all that great. If you’re making 6 cups of coffee, per the 6-cup mark on your pot, you’ll need 6 level scoops of coffee which are equal to 12 tablespoons. This will make a great cup of coffee and avoid struggling with weaker cups or those that are far too strong.

Clean Mr. Coffee

Are Coffee Cups 6 or 8 Ounces?

Now that you know coffee pot measurements are equal to 6 ounces, you may be wondering how big your coffee cups and mugs truly are. The answer to that question is, they vary. If you’re a coffee lover who enjoys a giant mug of coffee, it’s going to measure larger than a standard cup. Luckily, if you properly measure the water you’re putting in your coffee maker and measure your coffee to match, you won’t notice much of a difference. A standard 12 cup coffee pot is going to hold 60 ounces of coffee. If the cup you’re drinking from is a standard 8-ounce cup, a full pot of coffee will give you a little over 7 cups to enjoy.

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In Conclusion

The main thing to remember about the numbers on your coffee pot is that it varies slightly from a standard cup measurement. This is to allow for the additional coffee grounds needed to make an excellent cup of coffee. By keeping the 6-ounce size in mind you’ll be able to properly measure your coffee and make an amazing cup of joe to enjoy whenever the need arises.

Read More: French Drip Coffee Pots: History & Top Picks

Featured Image Credit: Miriam Alonso, Pexels


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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