Like it or not, the world is becoming more and more obsessed with self image and this is only getting worse thanks to the rise of the selfie and social media.
This leads us to constantly monitor what we consume and have a constant eye on our weight. While we are all acutely aware of of the effects of the food we eat, very few of us actually consider how many calories are in the coffee we drink.
Depending on your chosen cup of coffee the answer may be quite surprising to you. It could be anything from 2 calories in a black coffee, to over 300 in your favourite coffee shop tipple.
What Exactly Is A Calorie?
There really is no point me rambling on for a whole article about how many calories are in your coffee, if you don’t even know what a calorie is? So lets start there and look at exactly what we are talking about.
First the technical definition : A calorie is the required amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one litre (1kg) of water by 1 degree Celsius.
But we also use it to count the amount of energy in our food and drink, this is referred to as the kilocalorie (Kcal).
Our body metabolises the energy (kilocalories) in our food and drink into energy for us to power our bodies. Any energy we don’t use is stored for later use, it is stored as fat.
This is why anyone looking to lose weight will count the number of calories they consume, so if you’re weight conscious you should know how many are in your coffee drink.
How Does Coffee Effect The Metabolism?
As you learnt above calories and your metabolism all affect your weight. So you may be wondering why some people say drinking coffee can actually help with weight loss, if coffee contains calories.
The science behind this, says that caffeine can actually increase your body’s resting metabolic rate by between 3 – 11%(1). This translated into laymen’s terms : It speeds up the rate at which the body will burn through calories while resting.
So in theory if you consume caffeine, you will burn more calories than you usually would.
Note : Drinking coffee contains calories, in order for this to affect your weight the caffeine needs to make you burn more calories than your coffee provides. Great news for those who like their coffee black (2 calories) and not so great for tall pumpkin Latte (300 calories)
How Many Calories In Coffee Itself?
Coffee itself really doesn’t contain many calories. In fact a cup (300ml) of black coffee straight up, contains a meagre 2 calories, you easily burn more than that making the drink.
What Changes The Calories In Your Coffee
So if coffee has only 2 calories, you maybe wondering what causes coffee drinks to come in at a whopping 300 calories?
Well technically nothing changes the calories in coffee, but you may be consuming other things like milk, sugar and flavourings such as syrups.
Of all the things added to coffee, milk is probably the most common, in fact only 35% people have their coffee black. Which means that the rest are putting some sort of milk or cream into their coffee.
Different milks have different calorie counts and also whether you add a splash or go more than coffee. It really isn’t possible to put a definitive figure on the amount added.
Some examples :
- Skimmed Milk 30ml = 10 Kcal
- Semi-Skimmed Milk 30ml = 15 Kcal
- Full Fat Milk 30 ml = 20 Kcal
- Soy Milk 30 ml = 16 Kcal
I must admit I do love a sweet coffee, and I am not alone, many people enjoy a sugar or two in their cup of coffee.
But some folk don’t even realise they are loading their coffee with sugar. The flavourings in a lot of high street coffee shops comes in the form of flavoured syrups.
But how many calories are is this adding to your coffee drinks?
- White Sugar = 16 calories per teaspoon
- Brown Sugar = 12 calories per teaspoon
- Sweeteners = 2 calories per teaspoon
- Flavoured Sugar Syrup = 30 calories / 10ml (different flavours will differ slightly)
Different Coffees, Different Calories
I am pretty sure you won’t remember all the exact amounts of calories in things and what they add to your coffee?
So rather than making you do the math, here is a handy guide to the different calorie content of different coffee drinks.
How Many Calories Are There in a Latte
Generally a Latte is made from a double espresso and topped up with steamed milk. Traditionally it would be 1/3 espresso, and 2/3 milk. But the majority of coffee shops will add even more milk, especially when you order medium or large options.
Let’s look at the average medium sized Latte of 285ml (10oz) found on the high street
- Whole Milk = 181 Kcal
- Semi-Skim Milk = 143 Kcal
- Skimmed Milk = 102 Kcal
- Soya Milk = 119 Kcal
As you can see as soon as you start to add milk the calorie count rockets up, even when you add skimmed milk.
If you have a sweet tooth then the milk calories will be the least of your worries. Just one sugar will add another 16.
How Many Calories Are There in a Cappuccino
A Cappuccino is less milky than a Latte and as such doesn’t contain quite as many calories. So if you are after a milky drink this is the better of the two for calorie intake.
- Whole Milk = 163 Kcal
- Semi-Skimmed Milk = 129 Kcal
- Skimmed Milk = 93 Kcal
- Soya Milk = 107 Kcal
How Many Calories Are There in a Flat White
Unlike the above you generally do not get an option on size. A Flat White is a fixed recipe that contains double shot of espresso 50ml and 150ml of milk. So 200ml in total.
The below calories are for this standard recipe
- Whole Milk = 108 Kcal
- Semi-Skim Milk = 87 Kcal
- Skimmed Milk = 63 Kcal
- Soya Milk = 73 Kcal
Maybe the lower number of calories is why the Flat White has been one of the most popular drinks, especially among those on a weight loss program.
How Many Calories Are There in a Americano
An Americano coffee, is basically 2 or 3 shots of espresso, topped off with hot water and is usually served black, however you can add milk if desired.
On its own not many calories at all.
- Americano Black = 10 Kcal
- Americano Black with 2 teaspoons of sugar = 42 Kcal
- Americano White with 30ml Semi-Skimmed Milk = 25 Kcal
- Americano White with 2 sugars, 30ml semi-skimmed milk = 57 Kcal
The Final Word
Whether you are on a diet or not, it is a good idea to count the calories you are consuming, and most people do. But what many don’t do or forget about is the number of calories in the coffees they drink.
On average swapping a Latte for a black coffee each day could save 90 calories, add this up over 5 working days a week for a whole year and that could save you a whopping 23,400 calories, that could be the difference between maintaining your weight or gaining a kilo or two.
One of the easiest ways to control you calorie intake from coffee is to make your own, and that doesn’t mean missing out if you have a good quality coffee machine such as a bean to cup, that can make all your coffee shop favs.