I’ve been paying a lot more attention to how much sugar is in my diet lately and it’s pretty astounding how many grams of sugar can be packed in to those tasty coffee drinks. In fact, one coffee drink I occasionally order at Dutch Bros packs in 80g of sugar and the one my husband orders had almost 100g! In one drink!
Considering a piece of cake or cheesecake might pack around 50g of sugar, it’s crazy to think that we are drinking almost double that in one drink. This definitely makes me think about those drinks differently. In my mind now, I tell myself it’s “dessert” instead of just a “coffee”, to trick myself into ordering them sparingly.
But, I’m not trying to discourage you from living your best life. I love a sweet coffee here and a lot of the recipes on this site do not skimp on the sweeteners. However, I do not drink those every day. In fact, I’ve been trying to wean myself off needing things to be quite so sweet. If you are new to trying to reduce your sugar, I recommend taking it in stages or you might find yourself choking on that low sugar Starbucks drink you just ordered.
How To Reduce Your Sugar from Coffee Drinks:
1. Do some research. The first step to reducing our sugar is really looking at what you’re ordering in terms of nutritional facts. Look up your favorite drink online and see how many grams of carbs and sugars you are slurping down.
2. Set a sugar target for the day. If you’re trying to reduce sugars for health reasons, your doctor may have given you a target for the day. But, if this is simply to feel better or aid in your fitness goals, here are some typical sugar goals from the American Heart Association:
- Adult men should aim for less than 36g of sugar per day
- Adult women should aim for less than 30 or 25g of sugar per day
- If you’re looking to lose weight, keep sugars under 25g per day and as low as you can get them.
Then, decide how much of this you want to give to the coffee drink. If you can only have 25g per day, then your coffee drink probably needs to be under 10g. If you’re comfortable with 40g of sugar per day, you may be okay with a drink that is 20g of sugar.
3. Choose a drink target. Find a drink, on this list or elsewhere, that has similar flavors to the one that you are used to and meets the low sugar goal you’ve set. Set that as your eventual goal. You’d like to eventually be able to drink that. But, if you’re used to 80g sugar bombs, please don’t start with it.
4. Scale back slowly. Next time you order your favorite drink, reduce one of the sweeteners by one pump. Or, remove an extra like caramel drizzle on the cup. Each time you order it, continue reducing what’s in your favorite drink and making swaps until you are down to the goal drink. This will slowly adjust your taste buds. If you reach a point where it’s starting to not taste very good. Stop there and keep ordering that one until your taste buds adjust. Then, when it starts to taste good again, start reducing.
5. Consider sugar-free. This is a tough one. I, personally, would rather have less sweeteners, but the real ones, than incorporate sugar-free. However, a lot of people are very happy with sugar-free sweeteners and mix them with regular sweeteners for a nice balance. If this is you, then this is the time to swap out the vanilla sweetener with sugar-free vanilla. This is the only sugar-free sweetener at Starbucks. At Dutch Bros, you can get almost every flavor sugar-free, but some of them are not low carb. Read this post on going sugar-free at Dutch Bros.
Alright, with our low sugar action plan, let’s take a look at some lower sugar drinks at Starbucks that you can set as your goal drink, starting with the lowest sugar.
7 Best Low Sugar Drinks from 0g – 9g of Sugar:
1. Nitro Cold Brew:
With 0g of sugar and only 5 calories, this slow-steeped, super smooth small-batch cold brew is infused with nitrogen, which makes it less acidic and slightly sweeter. The cream, velvety texture might even trick you into thinking theres some cream in it.
2. Iced Caffe Americano:
Another 0g of sugar drink, espresso shots are diluted with cold water, giving it a lovely crema or light froth on top. Serve it over ice and you might not even miss sugar and cream. Maybe. There are other drink options like this one that have just coffee or coffee with a little bit of cream or milk and they’re all going to keep you well under 10g of sugar each, you just won’t have any flavors or sweeteners in there.
3. Cold Brew with Cocoa Almondmilk Foam:
If you’re a fan of the chocolate cream cold brew, have them make the foam with almondmilk and cocoa powder for less sugar. With just 4g of sugar total, this will keep you under your daily sugar limit. The original Chocolate Cream Cold Brew boasts 28g of sugar.
4. Grande Iced Chocolate Americano:
With just 6g of sugar for a grande, this chocolate Americano might be a great substitute for your favorite mocha. Ask for a grande iced americano with one pump of mocha, three pumps of sugar-free vanilla and a splash of sweet cream or half ‘n half.
5. Cold Brew with Cold Foam:
For some, adding cold foam is just what you need to sweeten that coffee and give it the creamy texture you want. If that’s you, you’re in luck. Regular cold foam adds about 7g of sugar. Top your cold brew with this for a sweet treat that’ll keep your sugar in check.
6. Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso:
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The tall size of this drink, made without substitutions, is just 8g of sugar. I really like this one when I want something with vanilla flavor that has less calories, sugar and carbs. Woohoo!
The frothy, shaken espressos are so good and really makes the drink taste and feel so much more decadent. I recently shared a short reel on my Instagram to show you the drink, too:
7. Iced Cinnamon Dolce Cold Brew:
Skip the latte and get a cold brew with 3 pumps of cinnamon dolce latte syrup and a splash of half ‘n half and you’ll get the flavors you love for under 10g of sugar. Each pump has approx. 3g of sugar, so you could even go for a grande version with 4 pumps, you’ll really get that flavor and sweetness and stay around 12g of sugar. Half ‘n half without any additions has almost no sugar, so you can add that to give it that creamy texture.
9 Best Low Sugar Starbucks Coffee Drinks from 10g-20g of Sugar:
1. Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew (10g sugar)
This flavored cold brew is lightly sweetened with honey and topped off with almond milk. The way it’s made, without substitutions has just 10g of sugar.
2. White Chocolate Shaken Espresso:
If you’re a fan of white chocolate and thought you’d have to give it up for good, you may love this alternative that has only 10g of sugar. The inclusion of white chocolate syrup helps to hide the aftertaste of the sugar-free vanilla. You can go for one pump regular vanilla syrup to add in a little bit more calories, but avoid the aftertaste, which is what I do. This one is courtesy of @themacrobarista:
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3. Two Pumps, Any Flavor:
For 10g of sugar, you can add two pumps of any flavor to your coffee. Since a tall has 4 pumps of flavor, you may want to keep the coffee smaller so these two pumps have a stronger flavor. Most of the syrups average around 5g of sugar per pump, with some a little less or more. The sauces generally have more sugar than this, so you want to stick to the syrups. Here are some fun combos:
- Vanilla and caramel
- Cinnamon dolce and caramel
- Vanilla and cinnamon dolce
- Brown sugar and cinnamon dolce
4. Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso:
One of my FAVORITE drinks at Starbucks right now – and thank goodness it’s already low in sugar, too, with a tall just 90 calories and 10g of sugar. The shaken espresso gives it a delicious froth and the brown sugar syrup is warmer and darker than a regular sugar syrup. We love it so much, we made our own brown sugar syrup at home and created a copycat drink that is muy delicioso!
Check out those recipes here:
5. Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte:
If you don’t mind sugar-free vanilla, you can get a tall iced skinny vanilla latte with no substitutions for just 13g of sugar! I used to work with a lady who ordered these everyday while I got my sugar bomb and I asked her how she could drink it with sugar-free and she said that it just took time to adjust. Now, if she orders the regular syrups, she can’t drink them. They taste way too sweet to her. So, don’t get discouraged. Give yourself time.
6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew:
This is one of the best drinks at Starbucks. And, it’ll blow your mind that made as is with no substitutions, the grande is just 90 calories and 14g of sugar! Yup. Totally worth it. If you wanted to make it less calories or sugar, just ask for less sweet cream or substitute for sugar-free vanilla and it’ll be almost no sugar. We love this drink so much, we wrote an entire post on it – check it out here.
To recreate this recipe at home, you can use a Nespresso to make espresso shots or use an espresso machine. Check out that recipe here.
7. Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso:
This is an innovative drink that gives chocolate lovers a lower calorie option that still tastes great with just 11g of sugar in a tall and 16g in a grande. If you’re struggling with giving up your mocha frapp or your iced white mocha (which is around 400 calories), you’ll enjoy this grande drink with 110 calories or a tall with only 80 calories and plenty of chocolately flavor. Delicious!
8. Twix Cold Brew (Secret Menu):
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This is another one of the much better tasting low calorie drinks I’ve seen and tried with just 12g of sugar in a grande! To order, ask for: A grande cold brew with one pump mocha syrup, one pump caramel syrup, a splash of half ‘n half and light caramel drizzle in the cup. To get your calories even lower, skip the drizzle!
I recently tried this one and shared it over on my Instagram. Follow me there to find out about what I’m making and drinking first!
9. Sweetened Iced Coffee with Milk:
This was my go-to drink on my way to work every day, except I added sweetener instead of taking it away. The tall version of this with no substitutions has 3 pumps of classic sweetener and a splash of milk and rings in at 17g of sugar. If you can get 3 pumps in a grande and be happy with it, that’ll give you more caffeine. If you can stand 2 pumps of sweetener, that’ll take it down even more.
If you’re looking to cut calories or carbs instead, here are some more Starbucks drink ideas to inspire you!
- 9 Starbucks drinks under 100 calories
- 12 Starbucks Drinks Under 200 Calories
- The Starbucks Pup Cup: A Puppuccino for your Pet!
- 14 Best Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks
- 18 Delicious Starbucks Drinks for Kids
I hope you found something new to try. If you order and like one of these drinks, tag me on social media @whatthefrothblog.