Coffee Nutrition Facts & Labels for your 18 Favorite Brews
The story of the inception of coffee goes that it was used to save a starving exile in a cave, later becoming medicine to heal and rejuvenate. Today, the debate between its health perks and impairments has become marred by poor research and haughty hit pieces.
It’s an understatement to say a majority of that discourse fails to acknowledge that the coffee we drink today is more of a blanket term, made from dozens of different processes and creating thousands of different brews.
If you really want to figure out whether what you’re drinking is bad for you then you’re going to need to be a big bit more specific.
Coffee Bean & Black Coffee Nutrition Facts
What all coffee shares in common is that it is derived from a seed in a Coffea plant, the coffee bean. In its simplest ready-to-drink form, it makes black coffee. The good news is that, though this drink has almost no caloric content (around 2.7 calories per shot), it’s jam-packed with micronutrients.
Among other substances, black coffee contains potassium, one of the most neglected nutrients across the globe.
A study conducted by Connie M Weaver PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Indiana University School of Medicine found that around 98% of Americans had sub-optimal potassium levels.
The study went on to analyse the effects of a low potassium diet, concluding that a diet with sufficient potassium decreases blood pressure, reduces potential kidney stones and greatly improves bone health.
Also see: The Top Ten Types of Filtered Coffee
Not only that, but one shot of coffee can bring you around 220 milligrams of magnesium alone (that’s 2 thirds of your daily recommended intake). That said, there has been a small portion of evidence speculating that caffeine stops the body from properly absorbing both potassium and magnesium.
As well as these two, the coffee bean and subsequent black coffee made from it contains manganese, riboflavin, vitamin B3 and trace amounts of sodium, all of which are vital micronutrients that significantly improve quality of life when consuming the right amount.
Generally, black coffee seems to be a great source of nutrients, whether it’s a more concentrated Red Eye and Long Black or a more subdued Americano. Unfortunately, however, it is important to note that when these coffees are poorly filtered, they have been shown to increase harmful cholesterol levels in the body.
Caffeinated vs Decaf Coffee Nutrition Facts
Coffee beans, depending on the strand, have between 1-4% content of caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive drug on the planet. From a medical perspective, this drug seems both miraculous and disastrous with countless effects, both positive and negative.
The study Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks by Doctor Masood Sadiq Butt from the University of Faisalabad states both that caffeine lowers risks of certain cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease as well as increasing risks for heart disease and bone damage.
Knowing all that, it’s clear to see why people choose decaf, fearing all the health complications of caffeine. And up until the 1990s they were actually putting themselves at an even greater danger.
The original method of decaffeination of coffee included benzene, an extremely toxic chemical with proven carcinogenic properties. Lucky for those that dabble with decaf these days, coffee companies have since switched to safer alternatives that don’t feature any harmful compounds in the final product.
If you do suffer from anxiety, OCD, or any other psychiatric disorder we recommend you ask your doctor about whether you should switch to decaf, as studies show it can worsen pre-existing conditions characterized by heightened stress.
Coffee Creamer Nutrition Facts
Milk might often not cut your craving for a sweeter tasting coffee and that’s where coffee creamer comes in handy. Luckily enough, if you’re taking a teaspoon or two a day, in combination with a healthy diet, Doctor Nikola Djordjevic of Belgrade University says that it really shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
That said, a major component of coffee creamer is hydrogenated oil, favoured for its long shelf-life and curdle curtailing properties, but infamous for its many health risks. Hydrogenated oil is what is known as a trans-fat.
A study investigating the toxicity of trans-fats identified them as an “important cause of cardiovascular disease and the resulting clinical end points such as strokes and heart attacks”. Needless to say, it isn’t something you want to heap too complacently into that mug.
Many news sources will warn you of the countless harmful preservatives and e-numbers it contains that will eat you up from the inside but it should be said that those that are in most coffee creamer brands may not be natural but that doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy.
Brands tend to differ on what sweeteners they use, from French vanilla to Irish cream. Importantly, people with milk allergy should make sure to buy variations of lactose-free creamer without sodium caseinate as larger servings have been known to trigger lactose intolerance symptoms.
How Many Calories are in a Cup of Coffee?
That really depends on what and how much you put in it. The amount of coffee powder you pour might raise the caffeine concentration, but the caloric content really depends on the milk, cream and caramel sauce you might want to add.
As previously mentioned, a black coffee like an Americano costs you no more than 3 calories and if you opt for a double shot of espresso, might even set you at 5.4, but all that pales in comparison to the wuthering heights of a half-and-half rich Breve brew.
One of those, depending on how much milk and cream you use, reaches about 240 calories per serving. Not only that, but about 90% of those calories are from fats.
Also, previously mentioned trans-fats feature in this drink. Though there are only small amounts, it’s still enough to raise harmful cholesterol levels in the body significantly.
How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?
Once again, there is no fixed amount of coffee per cup. Going off USDA standards, a single shot of espresso would bring you to 62.8mg of caffeine. Certain brews, like the aptly named Australian red eye, use a double shot of espresso, thus reaching around 125mg of Caffeine instead.
Remember, decaf contains trace amounts of caffeine in it, no matter how thoroughly it is processed, though it isn’t enough to give you that morning wake-me-up fizzle. It may however give you a mild buzz that might necessitate not having it in the later hours of the day.
If you’re more of a Chai Latte type, you’ll only be getting 13.5mg of caffeine per serving, so if you’re finding it hard to put your head on straight in the morning, consider making the switch to a more invigorating brew with a shot of full caffeine espresso.
Research concludes that caffeine, in moderation can be extremely beneficial, so as long as you take no more than the equivalent of 5 espresso shots per day, you should feel confident that you’re not taking unhealthy amounts of the stuff. Although, make sure you don’t add too much other stuff, you may be having coffee but that doesn’t mean the milk comes free.
Coffee Nutrition Labels for your 18 Favorite Brews
What’s the calorie breakdown for your favorite coffee drink? Does it have more or less fat than you thought and what’s the barista’s tricks to make it?
All units for fats, saturates, proteins, carbohydrates, caffeine content and general nutrition below have been developed by a licensed nutritionist, basing all units off general USDA standards. They also assume that the cup contains full cream dairy milk and that the coffee itself is caffeinated.
If you use semi-skimmed milk or a lactose substitute, then take these findings with a pinch of salt and a hint of moral superiority as your drink will probably be a little healthier than the stats suggest.
For the sake of simplicity, we have assumed the same serving size for most brews unless specified otherwise, as being 8oz or 236ml plus a single shot of espresso.
Finally, please be aware that the content below is for educational purposes only, make sure not to take it as medical advice and consult a medical professional for any major dietary changes.
First and foremost is the punch-packing espresso. Usually served as a shot because of its thick, hot honey texture and high caffeine content, you won’t really find the coffee shop serving any more than a triple shot of the stuff.
How do you make it? Well, most likely, your machine does the job for you, espresso machines have been around since the late 19th century and making it manually isn’t exactly the easiest job. Today, all you need to know is where to put the coffee grounds and water.
If you’re watching your calories, a quick shot of espresso is as good as it gets, only setting you back 2.7 calories. Considering the average person needs no more than 2000, you really won’t be making any dents in your dietary budget.
However, it’s important to note that certain espresso machines heat the water they use at very high temperatures causing them not to filter the coffee adequately. Studies made on a large Italian cohort found an increased risk of coronary disease among certain espresso users partially due to this faulty filtration.
Ingredients: Espresso, Hot Water
Second on the list and first in the alphabet comes the Americano. This simple but distinguished cup of Joe is believed to have been made when American World War II troops occupied Italy and, shocked by the punch an Italian espresso packed, diluted it in water.
A simple, bitter, yet much lighter alternative to a pure espresso shot, the Americano works well for those not attuned to the concentrated caffeine content of its counterpart. The Americano, per serving, as it’s mostly water, only contains 2.7 calories.
And though that’s a meagre number, the caffeine it contains, as previously noted, has been involved in countless reviews showing positive effects on and even working as a therapeutic drug for diseases like ALS, hepatitis C and Type II diabetes.
Plus, the previously mentioned micronutrients, manganese, magnesium, potassium and niacin, each featuring within the drink by varying degrees, are all vital parts of hundreds of human processes within the body.
Making sure you drink no more than 5 cups of this in combination with a balanced diet is a sure-fire way of treating your body how it wants you to.
However, since an Americano is essentially a diluted espresso, do make sure that the espresso machine you use filters your grounds efficiently, as certain machines compromise the health of the final product by heating the water too much.
3. Flat White Coffee
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk
The flat white is the first of many on this list to feature a lactose product. As you will notice throughout these brews, milk is the double-edged dairy diet sword we hate to love.
While it is both high in saturated and trans-fats, it is also nutrient rich, with high levels of both protein, calcium and potassium. Furthermore, there has been a significant correlation between milk drinkers and lower incidents of many types of cancer as well as type II diabetes.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re struggling to stay below your calorie threshold, your coffee’s milky, frothy flavour is something you should never get too complacent about. With only a small portion of steamed milk, the flat white contains almost 100 calories per serving and 0.2 grams of saturated fats.
While that may seem to be a very small amount, no amount of trans fat is beneficial for your health. And so, what’s the key to drinking your milk brews burden-free? As with most indulgences, the answer is moderation.
As boring as that sounds, science very clearly shows that a small amount of milk in the diet, though calorie rich, is a safe and favorable drink for those with smoother and less acidic palates.
4. Café Latte
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk
The café latte seems, in almost every way, to be the big European brother to the velvety Australian flat white. With the main difference being a larger volume per serving and a higher proportion of milk, the latte takes you back to the winding streets of Vienna where it was first made.
Given its large amount of milk and larger serving size, you’re setting yourself back about 125 calories with 3.8 grams of which are saturated fats. And yes, though it is true that there are plenty of micronutrients in milk, there is a very high correlation between eating a lot of saturated fats and heart disease.
If you’ve been noticing that you’ve been getting heartburn after drinking your flat white or espresso shot, consider that you might be drinking something a little more intense than your body can handle. Studies show that the acidity of not-so diluted espresso can cause acid reflux and heartburn.
If you do feel something of the sort, drinking a café latte might just be the perfect compromise, something that’ll get you rearing and ready in the morning but also something soothing to the heart.
Ingredients: Espresso, Half-and-half
In the same way that a short black means espresso, breve actually means ‘short’ in Italian. Conversely, though breve is an espresso derivation, it’s rich and calorie dense. In fact, with its half-and-half cream and milk combo, it contains the most calories per serving out of any of these 18 brews.
The creamy taste of breve is achieved through steaming your half-and-half. If you want to make it at home, steaming it be achieved through spinning the cream and milk in a smooth whirlpool until it reaches around 60 degrees Celsius, making sure that it never settles as to ensure that it doesn’t curdle.
If you’re able to create fine lines in the coffee, it’s a good sign that you’ve properly steamed your milk and are ready for a treat! But remember, breve should be treated exactly like suggested, a treat.
Considering about 90% (32% of your daily intake) of the calories you’re getting are from fat alone, taking any more than 1 of these per day could really mark your waistline.
Remember, these stats come from general USDA standards that assume that you are using full fat milk. If you’re using almond milk or a semi-skimmed substitute, the chances are that you’re not drinking the 12.7 grams of saturated fat our research predicts.
6. Blended Iced Latte
Ingredients: Espresso, Full cream milk, Sugar, Whipped Cream, Ice
If you’d rather indulge in an icy sweet tooth treat, then you’ll be happy to know that the blended iced latte isn’t actually as calorific as the Breve above.
Made with full cream milk, a healthy dose of sugar and whipped cream served with ice, if the sun’s beating down on you too hard, this cooling coffee might just wane your warm weather woes.
High in both sugar and caffeine, this latte will be sure to get your jittery side going but might not play too well on your blood pressure. With 15 grams of sugar and a relatively high cholesterol and saturated fat content, you’ll really need to regulate how much you have a day.
Though a doctor’s take on espresso is that 5 shots per day does no harm, the added additives mean you might want to take no more than 1 of these daily.
As a sidenote, if you’re brewing from home, consider making your own whipped cream from scratch, as ready-made alternatives contain high volumes of aforementioned hydrogenated fats and nitrous oxide. The latter is used to give the cream volume but has been proven to cause short term nausea and headaches.
7. Café au Lait
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk
Café au lait, or quite simply coffee with milk in English, is a staple of any coffee house countertop. Depending on how generous your servings are, a mug of this contains 21 calories. Containing espresso and steamed full cream milk.
It’s important to note, that when you are drinking steamed milk, it doesn’t have the exact same nutritional value as its room temperature counterpart since, at high heat, the proteins in the milk denature and so for a large amount of milk, this drink only has about a gram of protein per serving.
If you’re the type to have one or two of these a day, then I’d recommend you feel satisfied with the fact you’re consuming your coffee in a light way and in the right way. However, if you order or prepare it with a double espresso shot, be mindful that you are nearing the daily recommended caffeine allowance of 400 milligrams per day.
If you ever take a trip down to Louisiana make sure you don’t skip on the New Orleans-style café au lait, made with scalded, not steamed, milk, a rougher and rarer taste than you might expect, but coffee curdling-ly good!
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk, Foam
Any top coffee drinker’s list would be incomplete without the iconic cappuccino, warming the home of artisan coffee houses across the globe. It’s a simple recipe espresso, steamed milk and foam, coming from the Latin Caputium, quite literally meaning little hood.
This comes from the colour and look of the hoods of Capuchin monks, those of whom this coffee is accredited to.
If your cappuccino comes with a milk cloud shaped like a leaf with fine wisps, send your compliments to the barista as this means your milk has been expertly steamed. Though they do contain a generous portion of milk they are relatively healthy alternative to the luxury of a breve.
Coming in at 5 grams of fat and almost no trans fats, at 97 calories per serving, one could comfortably down a couple of these without the guilt that comes with not fitting in that dress you really thought you could.
Plus, you’ve got an extra 10% of your daily intake (4.7 grams) of protein and a significant amount of vitamin D from the milk.
As with all brews on the list, consume it in moderation and ask your doctor if you think it’s impeding on your health.
9. Caramel Macchiatos
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk, Vanilla Syrup, Caramel Sauce
Espresso, steamed full cream milk, vanilla syrup, caramel sauce; sugar, sugar and yet more sugar, you wouldn’t blink twice if I told you the caramel macchiato wasn’t diet appropriate.
Though, admittedly a small mug of the stuff only makes up 64 calories, that’s forgetting 12 grams of added sugar and, other than the mineral dense espresso extract, there’s really not that much nutrition you’re getting from the caramel macchiato.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying it, despite its drawbacks, the caramel sweetness and the espresso’s bitter tang make a wicked palate pleaser for those of us with 32 sweet teeth. Having a healthy diet’s only worthwhile once the cheat day comes round, and this is the perfect concoction for the job.
Interestingly enough the vanilla syrup within this brew has shown, in studies, to having a soothing effect and reduce expressions of distress as well as increasing orbitofrontal (an area of the brain) blood flow.
Though this research is experimental and has made no concrete conclusions, the vanilla in this cuppa might just have stopped an argument you’ve now never had!
10. Cold Brew Coffee
Ingredients: Espresso, Water
A cold coffee for a hot day, this brew can most simply be summarized as a chilly Americano. Like the other black coffees on this list, all you need is a shot of espresso and water, simple yet aptly rejuvenating.
Going through the only two ingredients, it’s easy to see why health professionals like the look of this drink. Espresso, rich in riboflavin, vitamin B3 and potassium, combines with water, which, need I say, is pretty healthy in its own right to make a bit of bitter brilliance.
A few small-scale studies do cite that there are minor health risks to drinking cold water, such as a higher frequency of headaches and decreased hydration but, that said, if you don’t suffer from frequent migraines or headaches, the chances are you need not worry about fine print such as this.
It is in fact a myth that consuming cold substances when sick is unhealthy, and it goes without saying that a couple dozen degrees of temperature won’t do anything to sully your diet.
Overall, this is definitely one of the healthier choices, in part due to its simplicity, but also due to the riveting breadth of positives brought to the table by the contents of a coffee bean.
11. Iced Coffee
Ingredients: Espresso, Full cream milk, Sugar
Often mistaken for the former in this list, iced coffee is to cold brew as an Americano is to a cappuccino. Shot of espresso, full cream milk and sugar, a delicacy for those sweet toothed in Summer.
Unfortunately, it’s yet another high calorie, high fat, coffee, as is the curse with all milk-based brews on this list. You’ll be noticing a trend by now that pretty much all of the coffee with dairy on this list comes out on top in both calories and fat.
The grim reality of it is that the only way you’re going to lower the fat content of those sorts of drinks is by either lowering the amount you add or using alternatives with less fat. In both cases, it’s a compromise between text and creamy texture.
That isn’t to say that almond milk isn’t a great healthy and delicious solution. If you like a nutty taste to complement the bitter, sweet and creamy dynamic of an iced coffee, it’ll almost definitely dip below the current estimate of 3.8 grams of saturated fat and 141 calories per serving.
12. Chai Latte
Ingredients: Chai Latte Mix (sweetened), Steamed Full Cream Milk
From cool-me-down coffee to something for the Winter months, the chai latte isn’t technically a coffee at all. Made using black tea, a myriad of spices, steamed full cream, and optional sugar, it’s been an Indian staple since antiquity in the form of medicine.
The black tea in this drink accounts for all of the caffeine in it, adding up to only about 13.5 milligrams of caffeine per serving. This is only about a fifth of the espresso derivative alternatives in this list so might not do the job of a knock-your-socks off red-eye but still contains enough for you to notice it.
Among its many pluses, black tea possesses qualities that lower cholesterol, help against inflammation and work against certain cancers. Though there are a few minor risks associated with tea drinking, the general scientific consensus is that tea is a healthy, therapeutic drink with no major health drawbacks.
The components of the chai blend spice you’ll need to make your latte include cinnamon, ginger and cardamom among many others. These are all generally healthy and, due to their low doses, give no additional nutritional value to your chai.
However, like all of the other blends here that use milk, it has a high fat content of 7.5 grams with a lot of added sugars, amounting to about 181 calories. So, if you want to make this treat a big part of your life, maybe consider switching to semi-skimmed.
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk
The cortado is the only Spanish brew on this list, consisting quite simply of espresso and an equal part of warm milk. The word means to cut in Spanish in the sense that it has been diluted. The cortado, just like the Americano, is yet another attempt to dilute the Italian tradition of drinking espresso shots raw.
With one cup of the stuff only being as big as 2 shots, there isn’t really any negative impact of taking 2 or 3 of these a day, with one serving containing no more than 39 calories and only trace amounts of trans fats.
Not only that, but the cortado does also contain the vitamin D, calcium and potassium that a small serving of milk provides. All of these are vital micronutrients that, when taking enough of them make for strong and healthy bones.
If you’ve been finding the rich, acid taste of a pure espresso a little overbearing, then this might just be drink for you, one so simple you’ve probably unknowingly made it at home before.
And, if you’d like to take a trip all the way to Cuba, try the cortado condensada that uses condensed milk for a thicker and sweeter flavor.
14. Long Black
Ingredients: Espresso, Hot Water
This Ozzie and Kiwi delicacy may share its ingredients with both the Americano and Red eye but it’s an independent brew with its own independent flavor profile.
If you are to make one of these, it is important to pour the hot water into the cup first, as this is said to give the long black its iconic bitter, thicker taste.
In terms of the nutritional contents, it’s a great look, with the same low calorie and high micronutrient properties as its American counterpart. Also, a long black brew tends to be made with a higher espresso concentration than the Americano.
This higher espresso to water ratio brings out the acidity in the drink leaving a much more bitter aftertaste that can really divide an audience between the light and rich coffee lovers.
Importantly, certain coffee shops may brew this coffee with a double-shot of espresso, so make sure you know how much caffeine you’re really drinking before making any decisions on a second or third cup.
Ingredients: Espresso, Foam
It may not entice you to hear that macchiato means stained in Italian but its name really doesn’t do it any justice. The macchiato’s high espresso to foam ratio gives it a texture like hot honey and a bitter acidity that lingers on the tongue.
So it’s good for the soul, but is it good for the body? Quite simply, yes. With only 6.9 calories per serving according to USDA standards, that’s a fraction of your daily recommended intake no matter how small you are.
Though it is true to say that this lacks the same calcium and potassium content as one of the milkier brews, that also means it’s calorie-free too, meaning that you can have plenty of other things to quench your need for those and other minerals.
If you’ve just recently begun drinking coffee, this might be a little too challenging, as it is reputed to have the highest espresso to milk ratio of anything made with those ingredients. So if you’re in a mood for finding new brews, I’d recommend the lavish and light breve.
Ingredients: Espresso, Steamed Full Cream Milk, Hot Chocolate Mix
Have you ever had one of these when sick? Whether it be as a pick-me-up or keep-me-up, I’ve personally never enjoyed better. Steamed milk, hot chocolate mix and espresso might seem a little overindulgent and that may be exactly what it is.
However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Though the milk makes for a high fat content of 6.7 grams per serving of which 3.9 are saturates, it also means the drink is high in both vitamin D and calcium, nutrients that, among many other processes, strengthen your bones.
As for whether the hot chocolate mix is healthy, the verdict seems to still be out. Though there have been numerous studies showing a mild correlation between cocoa consumption and positive effects such as helping against inflammation, this hasn’t yet been proven.
Plus, hot chocolate mix does contain corn syrup an artificial sweetener that has been shown to enhance tumors in subjects of tests. Though the correlation between cancers and the high fructose corn syrup wasn’t high, it was still present, and so it is important to take not of its health risks before willingly consuming it.
17. Red Eye Coffee
The aptly named redeye is the only coffee on this list that has been assumed to require a double shot of espresso. Containing a whopping 125 milligrams of caffeine in just one serving, this drink gets its name for being used to stay up on a flight from the West Coast to New York and getting awake-all-night red eyes.
The ingredients are simple and seen before but not to be underestimated. The high caffeine content in one cup of these means you should indulge in no more than 2 of these a day, and when exceeding that, might be prone to nervousness and nausea symptoms.
Not only that, but variations of this drink exist such as dead eye and black eye that are known to have an even higher concentration of caffeine. Remember, any more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is the ceiling for responsible consumption.
Other than the unusually high caffeine levels, there isn’t much else to say about its health risks or benefits. It is true, however that the high-volume espresso means double the volume of micronutrients from it as the Americano, thus being a better source for potassium, manganese and niacin.
18. Turkish Coffee
Ingredients: Espresso, Sugar
Turkish coffee, identifiable by the iconic copper jug from which it is poured, is the last to feature and a brew with both a flavorful and colorful history.
Being called Greek coffee in Greece and Bosnian coffee in Bosnia, this drink, may have a simple recipe, but the political tensions that hold it together are tangled and bitter. Only needing sugar and an espresso shot, this drink is, for the most part, entirely healthy.
2 cubes of sugar will only really set you to 4 grams of added sugar, which, when combined with the health benefits of the noble coffee bean, makes for a concoction that breathes rejuvenation into the soul.
That is not to say however, that, if the coffee bean is poorly treated, that it won’t still be a little unhealthy. Unfortunately, the traditional method of making Turkish coffee, which is still used today does involve properly filtering the grounds in the powder to give it a rougher-around-the-edges taste. Unfiltered coffee has been known to raise harmful cholesterol in adults by up to 10% which increases the risk of heart complications and blood clots. However, if you’re careful with the artisanal coffee shops your frequent then you certainly have nothing to worry about.
So that’s the top 18, a flurry of flavors from a myriad of exciting ingredients that we hope contained all your top picks for planet earth’s waker-upper water. With any of these, if it’s only two things you take away, it’s to take everything in moderation and a pinch of (virtual) salt.
The numbers on this list aren’t final or definite in every scenario you drink them in. Though it goes without saying that some of the items on this list are much healthier than others, the trick to healthy habits is enjoying your coffee guilt free. Coffee fans and fanatics, have at it!