How Many Coffee Beans In Your Cup Of Coffee? (Counted!)

I remember as a kid our school sometimes had Jelly Bean counting contests. It was a jar full of jelly beans and whoever guessed the correct number won a prize. Today we are doing something similar with coffee beans except  – sorry there’s no prize.

Coffee beans are quite small but they produce several cups of caffeinated liquid daily throughout the world. Some may ask  “How many coffee beans are in my cup of coffee?”. I took some time to do a little digging to find out the magic number to make a perfect cup of coffee.

How Many Coffee Beans Are In My Cup Of Coffee?

coffee beans and cup

There is no simple answer to the number of beans that are in one cup of coffee. The number of beans can vary depending on the brewing method, size of the coffee grind, the type of coffee you are using, and of course – your serving size. In some places, it is customary to serve a cup as small as 4 oz, while other places like their coffee in a gigantic mug. I must admit I am a mug person.

Roast Level

Coffee beans are put through extreme levels of heat during the roasting process. The heat can get as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat has the same effect on coffee beans as it does on anything else –  it can make them shrink dramatically. As much as 15 to 20% of the original weight of the bean gets lost during this process. 

Size of The Bean

While it may not be obvious to the human eye, coffee beans can actually vary dramatically in size.  The average weight of a coffee bean is .1 to .15 grams. However, some beans can weigh as much as .4 grams each. A coffee bean is at its largest size while it is still green.

Grinding Size

After roasting, coffee beans lose additional weight during the grinding process. Moisture is lost due to exposure from circulating air as well as heat in a kitchen.

In other words, your coffee beans experience weight loss due to evaporation as much as two times before you begin to brew them.

Each coffee grind takes up space based on the size of the grind. A coarsely ground coffee bean will take up more space than a finely ground one. 

To break this down even further, let’s compare a light roast coarsely ground bean to a finely ground dark roast one. Due to the roast and size, a light roast bean will take up more space.

A green coffee bean would take up more space than either of those beans. Why? because a green bean has not gone through the roasting process yet. 

Method of Brew

Let’s compare a typical drip coffee machine to an espresso machine. When you use a drip coffee machine, you loosely put coarsely ground beans into the filter. On the other hand, an espresso machine packs in extremely finely ground dark roast beans.  Since the beans are so fine, espresso machines can fit more of them into the same size cup than a drip coffee machine.

Espresso machines use way more coffee beans than any other typical coffee machine. This compression may explain why a single shot of espresso is way more intense and bold than a typical cup of coffee. For further comparison, an average cup of coffee is 6 to 8 oz while an espresso shot is 1 to 2 oz.

Another reason why it is hard to determine the exact number of coffee beans in your cup is because coffee is normally bought by weight. We weigh coffee by the pound, the ounce, or the tablespoon. People usually don’t count out each individual bean.

Due to so many variables, the only way to determine how many coffee beans are in a cup of coffee would be to count out each bean yourself, grind them yourself, and then brew them.

According to Mozart

You may ask what classical music has to do with the number of beans in a coffee cup? Well, the famed composer would count out 60 coffee beans for his cup of coffee each day. Apparently, it made the perfect cup of coffee for him.

Is There a General Bean Count?

coffee beans and cup

In general, there are 7 to 10 grams of coffee grounds in a cup of coffee. According to a recent scale test conducted by Buy Coffee Canada, 76 beans weighed 10 grams. The company used its gold espresso blend on the scale

Lucas Zanatto took the time away from his art duties to brew coffee from a single bean. The artist made the world’s smallest cup of coffee into an art form itself. He started by grinding a single coffee bean with a nail file. His tea light was used to brew the hot water, which he poured into a tiny pour-over apparatus. I don’t know if he was able to add cream and sugar. 

How Much is a Realistic Cup of Coffee?

I am as curious as any other coffee lover about the number of coffee beans in my cup. The next question is “What do we mean when we say a cup?”. Cup sizes can vary drastically, especially in Westernized countries like the United States.  Sure, an espresso cup is a standard size 2 oz. However, a coffee cup can range from 8 to 12 oz of liquid. 

Then you must figure out going to places like Starbucks that have enormous size espresso drinks. The largest size is the Venti, which can hold about 20 oz of hot liquid. Needless to say,  figuring out what a standard coffee cup size is now can be rather complex. A 12 oz mug of Joe is absolutely perfect for me.