How Many Cups of Coffee in 12 Ounce Bag

Purchasing a bag of coffee every month is a rite of passage for most people. It is the sustenance for my early mornings and a refuge for the afternoon lull. Therefore, if you have ever wondered how many cups of coffee in a 12 oz bag can you make, you are not alone.

Following I answer the often asked question:

How Many Cups of Coffee in 12 Oz Bag

It is difficult to quote a number since everyone brews their coffee differently. Moreover, the type of roast, coffee ground coarseness, and the level of bitterness are also different from company to company. Therefore, to come to a conclusive answer, I will be using basic calculations along with assumptions about an average coffee drinker.

An image of a 12 oz bag of coffee

Following are the steps to determine the number of cups in 12 ounces bag of coffee:

  1. I begin by opening a bag of coffee and by assuming that everyone makes their coffee using the recommended 1:17 water to coffee ratio and drinks a standard 355 milliliters (12 ounces) cup of coffee.
  2. Before I calculate the amount of coffee used in grams for one cup of coffee, it is important to note that 1 gram is equal to 1 milliliter. Hence, 355 milliliters of liquid can be converted to 355 grams.
  3. Next, to determine the quantity of coffee required to make a balanced brew, I have to divide 355 by 17 (referring to the 1:17 coffee to water ratio)
  4. Thus, I need approximately 21 grams of coffee for a 355 milliliters cup.
  5. Then I have to convert grams to ounces, where 21 grams is equal to around 0.74 ounces.
  6. By dividing 12 ounces with 0.74 ounces, I came to the conclusion that a 12 ounces bag of coffee makes around 16 cups of coffee.

Does a 12 Oz Bag Always Make 16 Cups of Coffee?

No, the answer is not so straightforward. There are a lot of variables involved when determining the number of cups a 12 ounces bag of coffee yields. Thus, it is different from one person to another, depending on various factors that I discuss below in detail.

These variables include the water quantity, brewing methods, size of your go-to coffee cup, and whether you purchase ground coffee or whole beans. In the calculations mentioned above, I used an ideal situation.  This entails that everyone uses the recommended water to coffee ratio, brews the coffee to be medium-strong, and fills up a regular-sized cup.

Following are some of the factors that can change the number of cups yielded from a 12-ounce coffee bag.

Amount of Water Used

Maintaining the optimal coffee to water ratio is one of the most obvious aspects of brewing a good cup of coffee. However, the amount of ground coffee relative to water also depends on your personal preference. This is because changing the quantity of water can drastically alter the strength and taste of your brew.

As I discussed above, the perfect coffee for most people is made with 1 unit of coffee grounds dissolved in 17 units of water. The ratio allows for optimum extraction (the process of dissolving the soluble part of the ground coffee in water) for a divine flavor profile and balanced bitterness and acidity.

The ratio works well for most manual and automatic pour over methods. On the other hand, full immersion methods such as the French press use a 1:15 ratio to achieve a well-balanced flavor. This is because, in full immersion brews, the coffee grounds steep in the water allowing for a longer extraction time.

Thus, you will need more coffee to make up the volume of a standard cup size (I am using 355 milliliters as a standard size for the sake of clarity in this article). As a result, a 1:15 ratio results in fewer cups per 12 ounces bag.

Method of Brewing

Different brewing methods affect the number of cups your 12 ounces bag will yield. This is because apart from having varying recommended coffee to water ratios, each brewing method uses a different grind size as well.

For example, an Aeropress uses a medium-fine ground and a coffee to water ratio of 1:16. Consequently, you will get around 15 to 16 cups of Aeropress coffee, similar to our calculations above. Whereas, an Espresso is made with finer ground and a ratio of 1:2. Thus, you can make approximately 24 one-ounce shots from a 12 ounces bag. If I pour 24 shots in our standard cup size, it will only make up to 2 cups of coffee.

Of course, if you water down your espresso, you will get a lot more cups. For example, an Americano uses a 1:2 ratio for the espresso shot, and then more hot water is added to make up the volume of a cup. Thus, you get a lot more cups of Americano from a 12 oz bag as compared to Espresso.

An image of different cups of coffee

To summarize, if you like a brewing method that provides a stronger cup of joe, you will get fewer cups of coffee from a 12 ounces bag and vice versa. This can help you plan your next coffee order before your current supply runs out!

Size of the Cup

Typically, around 50% of the coffee drinkers in the United States go for the 12 ounces or 355 milliliters cup of coffee. Thus, I have been using this size as a standard for my calculations.

Needless to say, some people like their coffees in bigger mugs while others prefer a smaller vessel. Following is a table that depicts the number of cups you can get from a 12 ounces bag when using different cup sizes. 

(Note: All calculations are made according to 1:17 coffee to water ratio)

Size of the Cup (Oz)Amount of Coffee (g)Number of Cups/12 Oz Bag

The table above can help you determine the number of cups you can make from a 12 ounces bag depending on your daily coffee consumption. It is worth mentioning that I am not taking into account any additives like milk, cream, and sugar. All the calculations are based on black coffees made with coffee grounds and water.

Ground Coffee or Whole Beans

Ground coffee vs. whole beans is an often debated topic amongst coffee lovers. Some people prefer the convenience and practicality of ground coffee. After all, you simply have to spoon out the coffee and start the brewing process. Contrarily, buying whole beans and grinding them at home provides you with unmatched freshness and aroma.

Nonetheless, if you are someone who wants the most cups from your 12-ounce bag, you should buy ground coffee. Here’s why!

When you purchase a 12 ounces bag of coffee, the weight of the coffee will be as it says on the packaging. It does not matter if the bag contains ground coffee or whole beans. However, the amount of coffee that will end up in your cups can change.

The reason is that when you use whole beans, you end up wasting a small percentage of the coffee. It can be due to spilling when you transfer the coffee grounds from the grinder to the cup. Moreover, some of the coffee grounds are left stuck at the bottom of the grinder.

Consequently, the wasted coffee grounds can account for about one to two cups of coffee.

A 12 oz of coffee that can be used to a lot of coffee cups


To summarize, an average coffee drinker, who likes the coffee to be at medium strength and drinks it from a standard cup, can make 16 cups of coffee from a 12 ounces bag. Of course, the number of cups can vary depending on the amount of water used, brewing method, and cup size.