Friday, December 22, 2006


I know what a cup is. Measured from a standard US measuring cup, it is 8 liquid ounces. These are US measurements.

When I pour a cup of coffee in the morning, I use a coffee cup that holds 6 ounces. Like most of us, I have an eclectic mix of coffee mugs in the cupboard, but they all hold about six ounces. There ain't no demitasse cups in my cupboard.

I have a 12 cup coffee maker. I make a full pot every morning. My particular coffee maker is a Proctor-Silex, but I've noticed that all the brands have about the same weird-assed markings on the carafes. Normally, I get about 6 or seven cups of coffee from a 12 cup coffee maker, depending on the mug I use to drink my brew.

I just took the carafe off the coffee maker, filled it to the 8 cup line, then measured the water in the carafe with a measuring cup. My coffee maker, at the 8 cup line, holds just exactly four measured cups of water.

SO, the cup markings my US coffee maker are just exactly half a cup. What sort of dumb-ass marked the cup measures on the pot?

Note to coffee-maker manufacturers: Use standard measures, or mark it at 6 ounces and call it a nine-mug coffee maker.

Not that I expect anything from the manufacturers. I'm sure that the engineers who design these things know that they're lying to us. I'm used to being victimized by engineers, who in my experience are no better than lawyers, and I hold lawyers in complete and utter contempt. We need engineers and lawyers like we need septic systems, but it isn't something that a civilized person wants to be familiar with.


Anonymous said...

I work with engineers on a daily basis and I'm here to tell you that none of them considers 4 oz. a "cup" of coffee.
I'll bet if you look on the bottom of your coffee maker you'll see that it is probably made in some metric using, commie country.

Flintlock Tom

Anonymous said...

I concur with Flintlock Tom. But, another thing to consider is that Engineering doesn't usually decide what the finished product is going to look like. They decide what an optimal, superior product would be in terms of engineering and available materials.

Then they're told to scale it back, mutilate it, and god knows what by market research and accounting until it's half the product it could've been for roughly the same cost in manufacturing and materials, but isn't because of half-assed business logic requirements.

While I'm not an engineer, I'm a software guy, and let me tell you: the '6' on my coffee machine is only one 'mug' of coffee for me; granted, I use a 12 ounce mug and fill it twice, but what the hell, right? At least I figured out that little irritation eventually...

It used to be that I'd get out of bed when the alarm went off, hit the coffee machine on, and climbed back into bed for another hour or so, got up and showered, and then probably close to 2 hours after the alarm initially went off I'm pouring my first cup. I figured it was just evaporating some of the water due to an overly-hot hotplate, and hadn't bothered to measure my mug. I partially blame the fact that I'm groggy for the first couple hours of waking, but damn... it took me long enough to figure it out. :)

Anonymous said...

The person who designed the size markings on coffee carafes also designed the sizing system for women's clothing, i.e., a size 6 over here is a size 8 over there and a size 4 over yonder.

Rivrdog said...

You can blame this one on either the French or the Italians, I'm not sure which. To them, "tasse" or cup, means a measure that is about 4 ounces. A "demi-tasse" is one of those silly little cups that they drink espresso out of over there and think that they are cultured by doing so.

My mother had an English Wedgewood ($$$$$) china set that had both sizes, the "tasse" and the regular American Cup of 8 oz.

I wonder what the Frogs or Eyeties think of a Grande, triple shot coffee like we have here.

Probably get busted by the coffee police in Rome for one of those.

Matt G said...

Procter Silex is likely going to be "Made In China."

All of your house cups are 6 oz? Mine are mostly 8 oz, but with several 10, 12, 16, and larger cups. I have large hands and a large appetite for coffee-- I like large cups.

I've never understood why a coffee cup is expected to be 6 oz. When a coffee pot shows that it holds 12 cups, it should be 12 8 oz cups, or 96 ounces. Well, that would be too big. So let's make it 8 eight-ounce cups, for a nice 64 ounces of coffee, with no punches pulled.

You know, it's stuff like this that actually just makes me want to go all the way to the metric system, like they told me that they would when I was in grade school. Just tell me that it serves 8 300 mililiter servings, with no interpretation of what the hell a "cup" is.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, this is why one should drink tea... :)

Anonymous said...

But being the lazy Americans that we are, if we utilized the metric system like the rest of the world we would be good to go... I have the grip with vehicles, appliances, and everything else that can be made better than the US....