What size reusable coffee cup should I use? Small, Large or Giant?

Reusable coffee cups come in 2 main sizes, small and large. As they have grown more popular, you can find sizes from a 4oz all the way up to a 16 oz for a large cappuccino or very long black. Here is a table that outlines the major coffee sizes in both ounces and milliliters (mls) and the reusable cup that matches.

Coffee CupReusable Cup (KeepCup)Ouncesml
Espresso sizeExtra Small4oz118ml
Small latte or cappuccino3/4 Cup6oz177ml
Regular mocha or latteSmall8oz227ml
Medium Cap/mocha/latteMedium10-12oz340ml
Large latte/cap/long blackLarge16oz454ml

Let’s explore the different sized cups on offer so you can choose which is right for you.

Color range of reusable coffee cups

What size is a regular coffee cup?

The cups in the picture below (from my cupboard) range from 200-300ml or 6-10oz depending on how full they are.

3 coffee cups from my cupboard ranging from 6-10oz

The most popular sizes for takeaway cups at cafes are 8oz and 12oz.  A study was done in Australia in 2011 by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand measuring the size of coffee cups from 38 different cafes.  This data showed that the average small coffee was 281ml from independent stores, and 286ml from chain stores. Large coffee sizes ranged from 490ml to 520ml.

Size of a Coffee

A small latte from a local cafe in Australia

As you can see in the table above there are many types of resuable cups in varying sizes available, the main sizes are listed below.

4oz expresso size

6oz small latte or cappuccino

8oz regular mocha or latte

12oz one of the most popular takeaway sizes

16oz a very large coffee, wich is over half a litre

What size do reusable coffee cups come in?

There are 2 main sizes offered throwaway take away cups, they are generally 8oz (230ml) or 12 oz (340ml). Large coffee cups are 450mls or 16 oz. Of the main brands that supply reusable cups, below are listed the sizes available.  You can see that some companies are offering a wider range than others.  You will notice the Frank Green for example offer an extra size of 10oz in between the 8oz and 12oz range.

SizeKeep CupJocoFrank GreenSoL
Extra Small4oz (118ml)4oz
SiX6oz (177ml)6oz
Small8oz (227ml)8oz8oz (230ml)8oz
Medium10-12oz (340ml)12oz10oz (295ml)12oz
Large16oz (454ml)16oz12oz (340ml)16oz

Why use a reusable coffee cup?

If you are looking for an easy way to incorporate a change into your life that helps the environment then choosing a reusable coffee cup is a great one.  Disposable coffee cups are fast becoming one of our most wasteful items. They are plastic lined so most cannot be recycled. They end up in landfill and add to our growing waste problem.

Using a reusable coffee cup when you visit a cafe is a great step we can all make towards a cleaner world.  

What is the best material to use for coffee cups?

A great question is what is the best material for you?  Reusable coffee cups are made from a wide variety of materials from hardened glass, hard plastic, stainless steel, clay and ceramic.  They vary in weight, durability and colour. Most cups although they are made from these materials will usually come with a plastic or rubber lid.  Sometimes the cups can taste like rubber or plastic because of this. I have noticed that after a few washes however the taste tends to disappear. I often used my reusable cup without the lid.  It just means you need to walk slowly so you don’t spill coffee everywhere.

You can make the decision for yourself as to what material you prefer to use.  I know many people want to avoid plastic altogether so prefer an alternative. I have used a Joco, KeepCup and SoL reusable cups and all have been great.  I am up for a new one so will be looking into a clay or ceramic cup for another option.

Check out my previous article on the environmental impact of disposable cups.

How many coffee cups are thrown away each year?

A regular SoL coffee cup compared to a large takeaway cup

As I have discussed in a previous article around 50 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away in the USA each year.  In the UK, 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year. Many of us may think we are doing the right thing and put our paper coffee cups in the recycling but in most cases they can’t be recycled.  What we end up doing instead is contaminating our recyclables. Unless it is specifically stated on the bin, most recycling facilities cannot process takeaway coffee cups because they are plastic lined and therefore difficult to recycle.  

In Australia which has a growing coffee culture, we are throwing away 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year.  That is 2,700,000 coffee cups each day. The best thing that is happening is that cafes are starting to come onboard with the idea of using reusable cups.  So many cafes I visit now offer a discount for bringing your reusable cup so it is making it even more worthwhile. Disposable coffee cups are a big problem and we definitely need to use an alternative.

Where do I get a reusable coffee cup?

I like shopping online because you can get a huge range of color options. If you want to pick one up from a store, I have found that they are often sold in Homeware stores.  They are increasing in their range so I have found more and more when I’m out and about. Most cafes are starting to stock their own version of a reusable cup, often with their own branding.

Can I get a personalised reusable coffee cup?

A great gift (or gift for yourself) you can now get personalised coffee cups. If you run an eco friendly business this could also be a great option. Get your business name on the cup and show your customers that you care about the environment and are part of the solution to the waste problem.  I found that KeepCups and SoL are making personalised coffee cups.  You can also find heaps of options on etsy or printing companies who independently source their cups.

How do I choose  reusable coffee cup?

When choosing a cup remember that size is one factor to consider.  Also do your own investigation on what the cup is made out of, is it BPA free? Is it a hard plastic or glass? and what is your preference.  A reusable coffee cup is a very personal choice so take the time and decide what is important to you.