5 Ways to a Healthier Coffee Order


Lifestyle Staff Writer | Kayla Blanton | kb408112@ohio.edu

Although a Venti®-sized Café Mocha may seem like the perfect way to start your day, it’s actually quite the opposite. I’m not one to take away anyone’s daily caffeine fix, but there are ways to make sure that fix is as healthy as possible. As a barista myself, I know what goes into a Venti®-sized drink, and it includes, but isn’t limited to, a lot of unnecessary sugar. By making a few minor adjustments, it’s surprisingly easy to cut the calories in half while maintaining the same satisfying and caffeinated flavor of your favorite specialty drink.

Consider a Milk Preference

According to Starbucks, a Venti®-sized Flavored Latte is 320 calories. Source: Dan Lacher

Most cafés make all specialty drinks with 2 percent milk by default unless otherwise requested. Some might have the kindness in their barista hearts to ask for a milk preference, but the pressure is too high for most customers to decide on the spot, so 2 percent reigns for most.

The number of calories in a drink can be decreased greatly just by asking for skim milk rather than 2 percent. Most cafés also offer some type of non-dairy milk like soy or almond, but that can vary by location. Regardless, don’t forget to ask about the milk selection when ordering your next morning brew.

Opt for Sugar-Free Syrup

This step can sometimes tend to limit the options when it comes to flavor, but again, this can vary depending on the coffee shop. Most coffee chains offer at least vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut flavors in the sugar-free variety. Considering its sugar-free attribute, this step in ordering a healthier drink is monumental.

Ask for Half Pumps

If you absolutely can’t part with the beloved mocha sauce, don’t panic; there is still another option. Four to five pumps (think tablespoons) of syrup are dispensed into each medium sized latte. Newsflash: that much isn’t necessary to enjoy a drink’s flavor. Keep in mind, baristas don’t write the recipes, we just follow them.

With that being said, ask your barista to put in half the pumps of syrup, rather than what the recipe calls for, into your drink. Regardless of size, it will take down the calorie amount immensely.

No Whip

Specialty drinks without whipped cream can save you countless calories. Source: Katherine Lim

As difficult as it may sound, find the inner strength to ask for no whipped cream. The fluffy goodness is basically just aerated sugar, and melts after a few minutes of sipping anyway. Also, most drinks that are topped with whipped cream are accompanied by extra drizzles of syrup with a slight chance of cinnamon or salt, depending on your specialty drink of choice. These garnishes are great for drink presentation, but aren’t necessary for one to enjoy a drink.

Order Coffee

The lowest calorie option when it comes to a morning coffee stop is just plain coffee. But because some of us don’t have the soul to drink it black, there are ways to sweeten things up a bit. Add a sugar-free syrup to any coffee roast, so additional sugar isn’t necessary. A medium iced coffee with sugar-free vanilla syrup and skim milk is only 40 calories, tastes amazing and costs less than any latte on the menu. Are you convinced yet?

Try switching up your order each time until you find the combination of healthy choices that will best suit your morning coffee needs. After all, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in working toward a healthy lifestyle.