Buying Disposable Coffee Cups Complete Guide

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There are a wide range of disposable coffee cups on the market. From small cups designed for single servings of fresh espresso to large cups designed to hold large lattes, as well as plastic coffee cups for iced drinks… A variety of sizes, each with its own benefits. To help you navigate all the sizes and styles, we have put together a guide to show you how to pick the most suitable disposable coffee cup for your business. If you run a restaurant, coffee shop or juice bar and are worried about choosing disposable coffee cups, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, Umax Eco will help you run your business more smoothly by providing you with the perfect type of disposable coffee cup.

How do I choose the size of my disposable coffee cup? 

4oz Coffee Cups – 118 ml

The 4oz cup is the smallest disposable coffee cup and is usually used for single or double espresso drinks or espresso based drinks such as espresso macchiato. 4oz cups are not only the right size for espresso, but can also be used as tasting cups to allow your customers to sample new products in your shop or try different flavours of coffee. 

8oz Coffee Cups – 227 ml

Designed for small to medium sized hot coffee beverages. The 8oz coffee cup is ideal for medium sized cups of Americano, latte, cappuccino or other water or milk coffees. It is the standard size for small cups of coffee in the cafe industry. If you offer a choice of small, medium and large cup sizes, then the 8oz can be used as one of the ‘small cup’ options. The Umax Eco disposable coffee cup can safely hold hot drinks and doesn’t soften with heat. 

12oz Coffee Cups – 355ml

The 12oz coffee cup is a good size and is an excellent choice for medium-sized portions. The 12oz cup is suitanle for lattes, cappuccinos and other drinks with a lot of milk froth. 

16oz (473ml) and 20oz (710ml) Coffee Cups  

The 16oz and 20oz disposable coffee cups are ideal for ‘large’ and ‘extra large’ portions. These large disposable cups have more than twice the capacity of a standard 8oz coffee, making them ideal for customers taking their coffee out in the morning. Both cups fit into most car cup holders, making them extremely convenient for drive through customers. 

How to choose the correct wall structure for a disposable coffee cup? 

Single Wall Coffee Cups 

These cups are made from a single layer of cardboard and are best for cold drinks. If you are using these for hot drinks, it is best to pair them with coffee sleeves. The single wall coffee cups are economical and a popular choice for businesses on a budget as well as those who are environmentally conscious. 

Double Wall Coffee Cups 

The double wall coffee cup shape provides maximum insulation, ideal for hot drinks, and it can be more economical as it saves money on the need for cup sleeves. The double layer cup shape with a bespoke design will greatly enhance the quality of the drink and improve brand effectiveness.


Ripple Wall Cups 

This design offers similar advantages to the double-layer mug, keeping coffee hotter for longer than a single-layer mug, while the textured surface not only provides insulation but also gives the mug a more non-slip and comfortable feel. The drawback to this style of wall is the difficulty to cleanly print a clear custom logo for your company. 


How to choose a coating for disposable coffee cups? 

Disposable coffee cups with an inner coating  prevent leaks and spills. The coating of coffee cups can be made of different materials. The application of different coating materials affects the way in which the coffee cups are recycled. 

Returnable disposable coffee cups (polyethylene PE Lining)

These are disposable coffee cups with an outer and inner coating of PE (polyethylene). These cups are suitable for hot and cold drinks and remain sturdy even in cold temperatures. The inner PE coating prevents liquids from penetrating the walls of the cup, while the smooth outer coating prevents condensation from wetting the outside of the cup. To recycle, one drop off at a special collection point.

Compostable disposable coffee cup (PLA Lining) 

These disposable coffee cups are coated internally with PLA (polylactic acid), a compostable and biodegradable material that provides a natural barrier to liquids and is also heat resistant. It is ideal for holding hot drinks. In addition, under the right conditions, PLA can be broken down into organic compounds via a process that takes around three to six months. This is a more environmentally friendly option than PE lining. Compostable primary coffee cups are centrally recycled and processed for industrial composting. 

Home compostable disposable coffee cups (Aqueous Lining) 

The biodegradability of aqueous lining coffee cups comes from using a water-based material as the internal coating. This material ensures that it has the same waterproof and insulating properties as other materials. These cups can be composted in any home compost bin and do not require special industrial facilities; in just a few weeks it can be decomposed as easily as a sheet of newspaper. 

Other Umax Eco Accessories products to accompany your coffee cups.

Sugarcane coffee cup lid 

Made from specially selected sugarcane pulp, our coffee cup lids are naturally eco-friendly and biodegradable. They are specially designed to complement our disposable coffee cups, helping to prevent leaks and spills and allowing risk-free transport for your takeaway drinks. 

Coffee cup sleeve 

If you use a single wall coffee cup, the Umax Eco coffee cup sleeves provide effective insulation to prevent customers from burning their hands from hot drinks. These eco-friendly cup sleeves can also be branded and used in combination with blank paper cups as a promotional item for your shop to enhance your brand image. 

Paper straws 

 Umax Eco paper straws are an environmentally friendly and natural product, ideal for use with drinks such as iced coffee. 

Coffee Stirrers 

The Umax Eco wooden or bamboo coffee stirrers are perfect for customers who want to add sugar or milk to their drinks. 

Cup holder tray 

Umax Eco offers a sturdy coffee cup trays for 2-4 cups in a fully recyclable and compostable material that is particularly useful at festivals or outdoor events. 




Article by Julien

May 8, 2023

Julien is a valuable member of the Umax Eco team, passionate about sustainability and committed to making a positive impact on the environment. With expertise in eco-friendly packaging, Julien works tirelessly to develop innovative solutions that reduce waste and promote a greener future.

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