Standards for espresso, cappuccino, latte ratios and volume and correct cup sizes for each?

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

#1: Post by l2oBiN »

I am dying to determine the correct volume ratios and thus size for an espresso, a latte and a cappuccino.

The issue I am having is defining what the correct espresso looks like.

For example, if only a single shot of espresso is used for say a cappuccino, and that espresso is based on the standard 7g coffee brewed at 1:1 (w/w) coffee to water the total weight of the single shot would be 14g. While I have not directly measured the volume, I am going on the presumption that the total volume of that single shot of espresso would be about 14mL.


... if a cappuccino is 1 part espresso to 2 parts frothed milk volume the total espresso size would be 14 + 14 + 14 = 42mL .

These small volumes just do not not make sense. I never had a ~40ml cappuccino and cappuccino cups are usually around 160mL from what I gather.

If a standard cappuccino cup is 160mL then going off the same 1 part espresso to 2 parts frothed milk, the espresso should be ~53mL (1/3) to ~106mL (2/3) frothed milk.

So if this is the case, the espresso shot should be prepared with 21.5g coffee to yield 53mL total volume brewed at 1:1 (w/w coffee to water)

This is then is a triple the dose of the standard 7g espresso!

So if the 1:2 (v/v) cappuccino formula is to be followed, the cup volume plays a major role is determining what ground coffee weight is needed to achieve the cup volume and correct ratio of espresso volume to milk volume unless the cups are under filled.

So my question is, what is the correct cup volume and the corresponding correct espresso and milk volume (and ratio) for an espresso, a cappuccino, a latte? Are there any standards? Which cups follow the standards for these drinks?

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#2: Post by Jeff »

Welcome to H-B!

The "Italian standard" is a bit twisted (volume and weight mixed) and almost certainly marketing fluff ... _hq_en.pdf

Here, many people talk about "ratio" or grams into the basket to grams in the cup. Depending on machine and basket, doses run from 7 g through over 20 g. So many variables, but I'd guess that 14-18 g is "typical". Ratios run from 1:1 for some classic "ristretto", 1:2 being somewhat normal for medium-dark roasts, and light roasts (often intended for "drip" coffee) headed up into 1:3 or more.

For me and my light-roasted coffees, my espresso weight is usually between 35 and 55 g. These are "long" ratios compared to classic blend/roast practice. If I were to guess, "typical" practice with an 18 g dose is around 36 g in the cup.

I pull my light-roast espressos into a 90 mL cup. I have some that are closer to 75 mL that work well for for more classic roasts.

My cappuccino cups are about 175 mL.

My wife's latte glass is 450 mL.

Unless you're in some barista competition, the right amount of milk is what tastes good to you with your coffees and gear.


#3: Post by BaristaMcBob »

There are no standards or "correct" proportions. Also, you have to think about the cultural context. Italy, France, UK, Australia, and USA are all different. For example, Starbucks sells a large latte ("Venti"). Some people would call a large latte a "cappuccino" and a small latte a "flat white". In other traditions, the difference between a latte and a cappuccino is the amount of air in the milk whereas in other traditions, the milk is steamed exactly the same way for both.

You can find a "correct" proportion if you want, but you'll just end up with people arguing with you. This is why I make espresso at home.

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#4: Post by Nunas »

These days, with modern machines, it would be considered highly unusual to base coffee drinks on solo (7-g) shots. Nearly everything I do, and I suspect most of us here, are based on doppio (double) shots. Even there, a doppio these days is often overdose to around 15-18 grams.

Although I experiment, mostly I use the same 1:2 shot (18 grams in 36 out) regardless of whether it will be used to make a cappuccino, flat white, latte or whatever. Only when I make straight shots do I vary the ratio to make ristrettos or lungos. I bet most of us here do the same.

As for volumes, I make my cappuccinos in 6-ounce cups and my lattes in 10-ounce bowls. As others have said, there's no such thing as a standard.

l2oBiN (original poster)

#5: Post by l2oBiN (original poster) »

Thank you everyone for your comments. So how do you do a small, medium, large size? Would you break it down into single, double, triple shot?

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#6: Post by Jeff »

Pulling a shot with around 7 g with current, home machines is a challenge. It usually requires a special basket, tamper, and funnel. One recent thread in the subject is 7 gram single shot?? Mission impossible! With a classic, home lever, like a La Pavoni or vintage Arrarex Caravel, it's a little easier, as their "normal" dose is smaller to begin with.

At least for me, a "single" is most enjoyable as a straight shot or a "macchiato", where that is just a "marking" of a bit of milk foam.

Since there aren't any "standards", at least in the US, I never know what I'll get in a cafe if I order a "cappuccino", so I ask to see the cup. When I have guests that want a "latte", I'll ask them which cup or glass they're expecting.

If they're looking for something around 150-175 mL, I'll either use a full, 17-18 g dose or occasionally stir and split it. Some people use dual-spouted PF handles for this. I'm a big fan of bottomless PF, so that's not an option for me. They're also one more thing to clean. I'll give them half (stir is key, even if not splitting) and enjoy the other half.

For larger drinks, in the 250 mL ("cup") to 450 mL ("glass") sizes, I will typically use a 17-18 g shot. Occasionally I have a guest that wants it "big and strong" and will use two shots. In the past, I found that much more than 20 g for a shot was harder to get a good balance of flavors, so I seldom dose that high any more.

Edit: Sticking with one dose and grind is a practical thing. Change one and you often have to change the other to keep the flavor balance similar.


#7: Post by BaristaMcBob »

There are two dimensions to this sizing problem:

First, the overall size of the beverage. You can have small, medium, and large. You decide how many ounces of total liquid these should be (e.g. 5oz, 9oz, and 12oz). The choice is simply based on how thirsty you are or how much room you have after a meal, etc.

Second, the strength of the espresso taste. Some people like it very mild and milky. Other people like it less milky with more coffee flavor. This second dimension determines the dose size (i.e. 7g, 14g, or 21g)

For me, personally, I have a nice wide 8oz cup. I dose 15g into a 21g basket and pull a 30g shot. For me, that's the perfect ratio of milk/espresso and the right size without leaving me too 'full'. My brother likes it more milky. So for him, I pour the same 30g shot into a 10oz cup. I call the 8oz drink a "latte" and the 10oz one a "cappuccino".

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#8: Post by RapidCoffee »

l2oBiN wrote:For example, if only a single shot of espresso is used for say a cappuccino, and that espresso is based on the standard 7g coffee brewed at 1:1 (w/w) coffee to water the total weight of the single shot would be 14g. While I have not directly measured the volume, I am going on the presumption that the total volume of that single shot of espresso would be about 14mL.
No, that is incorrect. Correctly prepared espresso should pour as frothy crema, not pure liquid. Although 1ml of water weighs 1g, crema is considerably less dense, and weighs much less (as little as half as much, although this varies with the crema:liquid amount in the cup).

Read Andy Schechter's classic post on brew ratios:
Brewing ratios for espresso beverages

Bottom line: go by beverage weight, not volume.

l2oBiN (original poster)

#9: Post by l2oBiN (original poster) »

Thank you for all the replies! Plenty of good for thought!