Confused at the calories in coffee shop beverages? If so, you’re not alone: most consumers have a go-to coffee order that they rarely veer from.
Most consumers aren’t quite sure what-exactly- the difference between an Americano, macchiato, latte, or cappuccino is. And that’s without delving into the complexities of mochas, chai lattes, flat whites, and the limitless number of other coffeehouse beverages.
If you’re wondering how your order stacks up nutritionally, we’ve weighed in on the calories in coffee beverages that are the most popular, including fat and sugar content. We’ve also included a brief primer on each drink so that you can (kind of, sort of) know what exactly is in your cup.
Espresso is a style of coffee that you’ve probably seen consumed by Europeans and hipsters in film.
Typically served in a small cup, Espresso is produced by forcing hot, pressured water through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is highly concentrated, and thus consumed in very small quantities (remember those tiny cups?).
Espresso contains zero Calories, fat, or sugar. Espresso “shots” serve as the base for many coffee beverages mentioned throughout this piece. Choose this on its own for zero calories in coffee.
An Americano is a basic espresso-based beverage wherein espresso shots are topped with water. Consider this a step up from typical brewed coffee in terms of rich depth of flavor, with zero Calories, fat, or sugar. Drinking calories in your coffee can be avoided with an Americano.
A Cappuccino is where things start to get more complex. Espresso shots are topped with steamed milk and a thick layer of milk foam, creating distinct layers. A grande, 2% Cappuccino contains 120 Calories, 4g fat, and 10g sugar, all of which is from milk. While not traditional, nondairy espresso beverages have become popular, with almond, soy, and coconut milk all popular in their own right.
Nutritional composition for dairy replacements vary, with almond, coconut, and soy cappuccinos containing 100 Calories, 6g fat, and 5g sugar (Almond), 140 Calories, 8g fat, and 12g sugar (Coconut), and 120 Calories, 3.5g fat, and 11g sugar (Soy), respectively. No a bad choice for calories in coffee, but not the best.
Like a Cappuccino, an Espresso Macchiato contains steamed milk and espresso.
However, the amount of milk and espresso are different, with a smaller amount of milk meaning a bolder beverage and fewer Calories than a cappuccino. Also served in small cups, an Espresso Macchiato with 2% milk contains 20 Calories with no sugar and minimal fat. The calories in coffee macchiato are minimal.
Lattes are similar to Cappuccinos in that both contain espresso and steamed milk. However, the layer of foam atop a latte is much thinner than the layer atop a cappuccino, and the layers are less distinct.
Additionally, many lattes contain added sugars and flavorings not employed in the process of making a Cappuccino, making them more Caloric and higher in sugar.
A Vanilla Latte is Starbucks most popular espresso-based beverage. A grande made with 2% milk contains 250 Calories, 6g fat, and 35g sugar: nearly 1.5 day’s worth of added sugar.
Meanwhile, a sugar-free iteration made with sugar-free coffee syrup brings that Calorie total to 190 Calories, 6g fat, and 18g sugar.
Lattes have the potential to contain more Calories than most consumers can warrant “spending” on a beverage. This is especially the case for flavored/sweetened and full fat varieties, as noted with the Vanilla Latte example above. These beverages should be saved for the occasional indulgence.
Not Good: Mocha
Consider a Mocha less a coffee drink and more of a dessert beverage containing coffee: A mocha contains chocolate, steamed milk, espresso, and whipped cream.
A grande, 2% Mocha contains 360 Calories, 15g fat, and 35g sugar.
Nondairy iterations contain 300 Calories, 15g fat, and 26g sugar (Almond), 330 Calories, 16g fat, and 32g sugar (Coconut), and 360 Calories, 14g fat, and 36g sugar (Soy), respectively.
Not Good: Chai Latte
While not technically containing coffee, Chai Lattes have become popular on coffee house menus. A Chai Latte contains chai tea, steamed milk, and highly sweetened chai tea concentrate, making it one of the most Caloric and high sugar options.
A grande 2% Chai Latte contains 240 Calories, 4.5g fat, and 42g sugar- nearly 2 day’s worth of the maximum recommended intake for added sugar.
Meanwhile, nondairy iterations contain 190 Calories, 3.5g fat, and 35g sugar (Almond), 210 Calories, 4.5g fat, and 39g sugar (Coconut), and 240 Calories, 3.5g fat, and 43g sugar (Soy), respectively.