Ever wonder how many calories are in a cup of coffee but could care less about doing the research yourself? Well, we did it for you! Here’s how your daily intake stacks up…
Over half of the American population drinks an average of three cups of coffee a day.
“Three cups?!” you may be thinking. “But I only have one a day! The thermos I travel with!” Or for others, “I only drink one! That venti I pick up on my way to work!”
Now, while you may consider that a single cup—as I did for many years before learning the truth—the official standard for a single serving of black coffee is 8 oz.
Don’t believe me?
Well, experts from the National Coffee Association (and a few smarty-pants at Harvard) back me up.
Before you start considering cutting back on coffee because you’re worried of being labeled a caffiend, those smarty-pants at Harvard and the National Coffee Association say the pros of your habit greatly outweigh the cons!!
Cassandra is a self-proclaimed caffiend with countless hours of professional and personal research on coffee and coffee-related topics, regularly pressing her obsession further and further. She takes her coffee iced—depending on the weather—with a splash of whole milk.
“Coffee bean” is a misnomer. The bean is actually a seed from a fruit called a coffee cherry. The seeds are dried, roasted, then ground before being brewed into the drink we know and love. If left unprocessed, coffee beans can be planted and grown into coffee trees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart Disease as some top health concerns plaguing the typical American.
So here’s the good news!
There are countless studies telling us coffee can have some real positive effects on your health that far outnumber the risks:
As if I needed any extra reasons to fuel my coffee habit!
But wait! There’s more:
Coffee has been found to increase productivity in its drinkers! (Any caffiend will verify, but it’s also been on record for centuries.)
According to historical legend, coffee beans were discovered by an Ancient Ethiopian goat farmer named Kaldi sometime around 750 AD. He noticed his goats became so energized from eating the berries off a certain tree they wouldn’t sleep at night. Kaldi brought the berries to a local monastery who made a brew that would keep the monks awake during their evening prayers. The news of the magical fruit quickly spread to other locals and eventually reached the Arabian peninsula in the 15th century.
Is there any real reason to worry then?
Short answer: not really.
Only those looking to get pregnant or are already pregnant need to be concerned. High amounts of caffeine can increase the risk of stillbirth or late-term miscarriage.
So if you’re looking to start a family anytime soon, it’s time to curb your coffee intake. (Caffeinated tea is also a no-go.)
But once your new bundle of joy is in your arms, feel free to hop back on the bandwagon! (You’re probably going to need it.)
Is that all?
So long as your drink of choice is black coffee, then yes. Throw your cares to the wind and drink away!
It’s only after you start adding all the sugars, creams, and syrups that you should begin taking your habits into consideration—and even then, only if you’re concerned about counting calories.
Isn’t that why I’m here?
You’re right. So let’s get to it then!
All of the coffee beans from the Caribbean, South, and Central America can be traced back to a single coffee plant gifted to Louis XIV of France in 1714. Louis ordered it to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris, only for a naval officer to take a seedling from that plant to Martinique. The seedling is credited with fathering over 18 million coffee trees over the following 50 years, eventually making its way to and parenting the plants of the Caribbean, South, and Central America.
We researched the nutritional values of over 30 different coffee drinks and 10 different add-ins from seven different locations that serve coffee.
Now that we’ve established a single serving of coffee is 8 oz, you can figure out how many calories you’re drinking every day.
If you’re not super concerned with numbers, it’s as simple as this: the plainer your coffee, the fewer the calories. (And by fewer, we’re talking as little as 2 calories per serving—that’s virtually nothing!)
The more you add to your coffee—whether that be cream, sugar, simple syrup, whipped cream, different flavors, chocolate syrup, caramel drizzle, etc.—the more calories you’ll consume. (To be transparent: “more” can be anywhere from 10 calories to an additional 104 or more.)
To be fair, that’s true of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you eat or drink.
If you’re looking for the numbers, we studied and compiled all of the information in easy-to-read tables. We compared the numbers of calories in specialty vs. non-specialty drinks, and even different coffee drinks by popular chains.
Show me the numbers!
Okay, here’s the specifics:
Back to Black
If you’re a part of the 59% of habitual coffee drinkers drinking non-specialty coffees, the following charts are for you:
|Instant Coffee||8 oz||4|
|Brewed Coffee||8 oz||2|
|Brewed Decaf Coffee||8 oz||0|
So even if you’re drinking the national average of three cups a day, so long as your coffee is black, you’re only consuming 24 calories a day at most!
What happens when I start adding other ingredients?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t take your coffee black and will add a little something in your coffee to cut the bitterness.
The more you add to your coffee, the higher the number of calories will rise. And the heavier or more processed the additive, the higher the calories:
Jamocha Swirl Shake
Mocha Joe Iced Coffee
That’s a lot of information…
You’re not wrong. And it can also be a lot of calories. Plenty of these specialty drinks have the same number of calories as a full meal.
What does this mean for you?
It means whatever you want it to mean. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or what you should/shouldn’t drink.
With that being said, specialty coffee drinks aren’t cheap.
And if you’re buying a fancy flavored latte every day, you’re wallet could be hurting.
Lucky for you, we did the research for that too!
Coffee’s popularity in America can be attributed to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Although coffee shops were already growing in popularity, colonists revolting against King George III for taxing imported British tea dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. Coffee became America’s preferred drink soon after.
On average, the American worker spends over $14 on coffee from a coffee shop a week!
When you include coffee brewed from home, the average American worker’s annual coffee budget can come out to over $1,100.
If an annual coffee budget of over $1,100 doesn’t scare you, keep living your best life!
But if you’re anything like me—someone who finds themselves at my Starbucks drive-thru or coffee shop every day—that number can look a little scary.
The most expensive coffee beans in the world, Kopi Luwak, and can cost around $50 for a 1.75 oz bag. The beans are harvested from the feces of an animal native to Asia and Africa called a civet—one of the civet’s closest relatives in a mongoose.
Start brewing your own coffee at home!
It’s going to be hard giving up my daily caramel macchiato with whip and extra drizzle…
Friend! Don’t fret!
I get it. They’re delicious!
And half the fun of getting your coffee from a coffee shop is the adventure and the ambiance.
Our job is to look out for our Number One—YOU—and we already found a bunch of recipes to bring a little bit of that coffee shop vibe into your own home!
Good news for you!
You don’t need to be a professionally-trained barista in order to make your favorite drinks at home!
Here are a few copycat recipes that are easy to make and won’t break the bank:
Caramel Frappuccino (2 servings)
What you’ll need:
Note: You can swap out the caramel sauce for any other flavor (i.e. chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, etc.) to make your favorite frappuccino!
The coffee will need at least 20-25 minutes to chill in a freezer before you can start making your drink. Pouring freshly brewed coffee over ice will melt the ice and water down the flavor.
Caffé Mocha (1 serving)
What you’ll need:
Most people don’t own a milk steamer. Here’s an alternative way to steam your milk at home:
What you’ll need:
Pumpkin Spice Latte (1 serving)
What you’ll need:
Next time your friends say they want a fancy coffee but don’t want to go out, show off your newfound barista skills and surprise the whip out of them!
Now you’re equipped with how many calories are in a cup of coffee and all of the coffee facts you’d ever want or need!
What do I do now?
Well, that’s easy!
You take this information and make the right choices to fit your lifestyle!
Do you want to cut back on your calories? Well now you know what drinks to avoid!
Want spend less on coffee? Get yourself a proper coffee or espresso maker and make it at home!
Desperately want your favorite specialty drink but don’t want to leave the house? You don’t have to—you know how to make them yourself!
Don’t really care about any of that? Well, now you know some interesting facts about coffee to share with your friends!
Did any of these coffee or calorie facts shock you? Make any of those recipes and have some extra tricks to make them better? Have any copycat recipes that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear and see it all!! Share your tips, facts, and pictures in the comments below!