How many cups of coffee from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans?

The answer most baristas will give you is ‘it depends’.

That is not an answer!

Sure, it depends on cup size, coffee strength, and brew method.

But we can come up with a general rule, right?

So, how many cups of coffee can you get from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans? 

You can get 16 cups of coffee from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans. This a based on a 12oz or 355ml cup of coffee, and a coffee to water ratio of between 1:17 and 1:18.

But, as said: the amount of coffee you use, and therefore how many cups you can get from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans, does depend on a few things. It depends on how much coffee you use per serving (i.e., the coffee to water ratio). It also depends on the size of your typical cup of coffee (do you drink from a small cup or a big ol’ mug?). Finally, it depends on the brew method you use to make your coffee.

So, considering these factors, you see it takes a bit more to find out how many cups of coffee you can make from a 12-ounce bag.

Let’s dive in…

How many cups of coffee can you het from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans?

Calculating how many cups of coffee you can get from a 12-ounce bag.

Let’s start with the basic arithmetic. To calculate how many cups of coffee we can get from a 12-ounce bag of coffee, we need to determine how many coffee beans we use for each cup of coffee. Don’t worry, we are not going to count them.

We’ll go by weight.

Weight is far more accurate in determining how many coffee beans you use, compared to volume. A tablespoon of coffee beans is an entirely different amount of coffee than a tablespoon of ground coffee, for instance. 100 grams of coffee beans, on the other hand, is exactly the same as 100 grams of ground coffee.

To calculate how much coffee you use, we also set the coffee to water ratio and the cup size to a specific value. For our first calculation, we use the commonly advised coffee to water ratio of 1:17 and a pretty standard cup size of 12oz or 355ml.

Let’s start crunching the numbers:

355 ml of water is the same as 355 grams of water. 

So if we use 1 unit of coffee for every 17 units of water, we need 355/17=21 grams of coffee. 

21 grams equals 0.74 oz of coffee. 

Therefore, from a 12-ounce bag, you will get 12/0.74=16 cups of coffee.

I’m switching between ounces and grams to keep it understandable for both the imperial and the metric system users. Still, the key takeaway here is you get 16 cups of coffee from a 12-ounce bag.

The coffee to water ratio determines how much coffee you use.

How much ground coffee you use per cup is determined by how strong you like to drink it. How strong a cup of coffee is depends on the amount of ground coffee relative to the amount of water (and the time the coffee is in contact with that water). This is called the coffee to water ratio and depends mostly on your personal preference.

Generally speaking, the coffee to water ratio ranges from 1:15 to 1:18 for most coffee-making methods. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (the SCAA) sets the ‘golden ratio’, or the optimal coffee to water ratio, at 1:18 (source, be aware this a PDF download of the SCAA’s Certified Home Brewer Booklet). But many specialty coffee enthusiasts like to make their coffee a tad stronger and the optimum at 1:17 (source).

SCAA Golden Cup Coffee to Water Ratio
Courtesy of SCAA.org

If you are looking for a way to determine the number of cups of coffee you can make from a 12-ounce bag, relative to the coffee to water ratio you use, take a look at the table below.

To figure out the coffee to water ratio you typically use, just divide the amount of water in milliliters or grams (it’s the same) by the amount of coffee in grams.

For example, when I make a coffee with my Clever Dripper, I use 375 milliliters of water and 25 grams of coffee. So, my coffee to water ratio is 375/25 = 15 or 1 unit of coffee for every 15 units of water.

Table 1: how many cups from a 12-ounce bag of coffee (different coffee to water ratios)

Based on a 12oz or 355 ml cup of coffee. Because some water will get absorbed by the ground coffee during the brewing and a little by the (pre-wetted!) paper filter (if you are one), you will end up with a bit less than 12oz of coffee. Usually, between 5 and 6 percent of the water you use will get absorbed.

For clarity’s sake, we will stick to 12oz of 355ml of water for our calculations. Keep this in mind!

How many cups of coffee from a 12-ounce bag - common coffee to water ratios   
Coffee to water ratioOz of coffee per cupGrams of coffee per cup# cups per 12-ounce bag
1:121.042911
1:130.962712
1:140.892513
1:150.832314
1:160.782215
1:170.732116
1:180.692017
1:190.651918
1:200.621819

Note: All calculations are based on using 12oz or 355ml of water. The number of cups in the column ‘number of cups per 12-ounce bag’ are all rounded down. This means you end up with enough coffee left for a quarter to half 12oz cup of coffee. Call it an emergency supply. 😉

The size of your coffee mug determines how much coffee you use.

How many cups of coffee you can make with a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans depends on the size of your cup. The larger the cup, the more coffee beans you need. That’s obvious, right? So, to answer the question (how many cups of coffee can you make from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans), we need to determine how bit a typical cup is.

Fortunately, the internet can answer almost every question, and therefore we have reliable sources telling us that for about 50% of coffee drinkers in the United States, a 12oz cup is typical (source). That is 355 milliliters.

To relate this to a real-life example. A 12oz cup of coffee is the same as a ‘tall’ cup (smallest size) at Starbucks. I personally like a big cup of filter coffee in the morning, and, as said, my go in the morning is the Clever Dripper, for which I use 375 milliliters of water. Because some of that is absorbed by the ground coffee and the paper filter, a 355-milliliter cup sounds about right.

To determine how big your morning coffee is, you can make it and pour it in a measuring cup before drinking it. You could also put your mug on a kitchen scale and ‘tare’ it before pouring in your coffee. Because milliliters = grams, you can take the number on the scale as you typical cup size.

When making 12oz cups of coffee, you can get about 16 cups from a 12-ounce bag of coffee beans.

To help you out, I have made the table below. It shows how much coffee you use for cup sizes ranging from 3oz (espresso size) to 20oz(largest Starbucks size).

Table 2: how many cups from a 12-ounce bag of coffee (different cup sizes)

How many cups of coffee from a 12-ounce bag - different cup sizes   
Cup sizeOz of coffee per cupGrams of coffee per cup# cups per 12-ounce bag
3oz or 89ml0.18564
6oz or 177ml0.361032
8oz or 237ml0.491424
9oz or 266ml0.551521
10oz or 296ml0.611719
12oz or 355ml0.732016
14oz or 414ml0.852413
16oz or 473ml0.982812
18oz or 532ml1.103110
20oz or 591ml1.23359

Note: All calculations are based on a coffee to water ratio of 1:17. Meaning, for every unit of coffee, we use 17 units of water.

How many cups of coffee from an 8oz/20oz/32oz/1lbs/2lbs bag?

Now that we have thoroughly analyzed how many cups of coffee, you can get from a 12oz bag of coffee beans, another question arises. What if the bag of beans I want to buy is smaller or larger than the 12-ounce bag?

Many coffee bean roasters use a smaller sized bag. And just as many sell much larger bags of coffee beans. At my favorite online coffee roaster, Koa Coffee (click here to check out their online store), you can get 8oz, 1lb, and 2lb bags of coffee beans.

And Starbucks sells their coffee beans on Amazon in 20oz bags (click here to check out Starbucks’ coffee beans on Amazon).

To help you out, I put together the table below. For every common bag size, I have calculated how many cups of coffee you can get from it. Again, based on a coffee to water ratio of 1:17 and a standard 12oz or 355ml cup size.

Table 3: how many cups from a bag of coffee beans (common bag sizes)

How many cups of coffee from a bag of coffee beans - common bag sizes 
Bag size# cups per 12-ounce bag
8oz10
12oz16
16oz / 1 lb21
20oz27
32oz / 2lbs43

Note: All calculations are based on a coffee to water ratio of 1:17. Meaning, for every unit of coffee, we use 17 units of water. Also, all calculations are based on a standard coffee cup size of 12oz or 355ml.

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