As word gets out about the keto diet, more places are offering keto menu options. Starbucks is no exception — there are plenty of keto Starbucks drinks you can order without sabotaging your ketosis goals.

If you’re worried about giving up your daily coffee run to go low-carb, don’t despair. This guide has everything you need to order the best keto-friendly Starbucks drinks guilt-free.

While you can order some drinks as-is right off the menu, you’ll need to customize others for your keto diet.
Want a keto snack with your keto coffee? Take the quiz to find the best keto snack for your tastebuds.

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What to Know About Keto Starbucks Drinks

To order the best keto drinks at Starbucks, you have to think about a few different things:

Many Drinks Contain Sugar By Default

Starbucks automatically adds simple sugar syrup to many of their drinks, which can add anywhere from 5 to 30g of net carbs to your beverage, depending on the size. Make sure you ask if there’s sweetener (Starbucks calls it “Classic”), or say “no Classic” when you order.

Flavored Syrups Are Also Packed with Sugar

To make your vanilla latte, caramel macchiato, or peppermint mocha, Starbucks pumps sugary syrups into your drink along with espresso and milk.

Most flavored syrups will set you back 5g of net carbs per pump, and some (like mocha syrup) will dish up 7g of net carbs. Depending on the size you order, drinks can contain between two and five pumps of syrup — no good when you’re trying to cut carbs.

Stay Away From the Whipped Cream

Starbucks whipped cream — and most commercial whipped creams — is made with vanilla syrup or sugar and contains way too many carbs to remain keto-friendly.

Beware of Sugar-Free Syrups

Sugar-free syrup may seem like a good way to sweeten your drink without adding carbs. But these sugar-free (SF) syrups contain sucralose, an artificial sweetener that may disrupt your gut bacteria. Sucralose also forms chloropropanols, which are possible carcinogens, when heated (in a hot drink, for example).

The serving size for sugar-free syrups is about two tablespoons, or two pumps of the syrup bottle, for 1g of net carbs. If you don’t mind artificial sweeteners, they’re technically low-carb. So while a few pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup isn’t exactly the healthiest option, it won’t kick you out of ketosis.

Here are a few flavor choices that usually come with a sugar-free option:

  • Vanilla
  • Caramel
  • Hazelnut
  • Mocha
  • Peppermint (seasonal)

Always approach sugar-free syrups with caution. A skinny cinnamon dolce latte, for example, is made with sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, yet contains 19 grams of carbs — 17 of which are from sugar!

Instead, Take Advantage of the Spice Bar

Skip the preservatives, fake sugars, and flavored syrups and opt to flavor your coffee with any one (or more) of the spice shakers at the self-serve bar. You can usually find a selection of:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Pumpkin spice (seasonal)

Many Starbucks locations have stevia packets, which are a great alternative to artificial sweeteners, as long as there aren’t any added fillers. You can also bring along a packet of monk fruit to sweeten your drink.

Certain Drinks Come Pre-Made With Sugar

Starbucks has many pre-made mixes, concentrates, and powders. These include:

  • Refreshers
  • Lemonade
  • Chai tea latte mix
  • Green tea latte (matcha powder) mix

It doesn’t matter how you customize any of these — there’s already too much sugar in them to fit a keto lifestyle.

Skip the Milk and Watch the Half-and-Half and Heavy Cream

The default milk added to espresso drinks and tea lattes is 2% milk. This tacks on between 10-12g of net carbs thanks to the sugar found in milk. Nonfat milk — which is typically used in “skinny” Starbucks drinks — is no better at 9 to 24g of net carbs per drink, despite being fewer calories. Even whole milk can contain up to 13 grams of carbs, depending on what you order.

To cut the carbs, switch to half-and-half (also known as “breve” at Starbucks). Half-and-half contains about 1g of net carbs per tablespoon, which translates to almost 10g of net carbs per 8 oz. (if you’re ordering a larger drink).

Instead of ordering lattes with whole milk or half-and-half, your best bet is heavy cream. It’s high in calories, so factor that into your diet, but heavy cream is pure fat with no carbs. It’ll also make your drink deliciously rich. If you want it to be slightly less creamy, you can ask your barista to do half heavy cream and half water.

Pro tip: All milk and cream additions under 4 oz. are free, and steaming milk or cream doesn’t cost extra either.

Think Twice Before Choosing a Dairy-Free Milk Alternative

Starbucks offers soy, coconut, and almond milk as dairy-free alternatives. While they don’t have as many carbs or sugar as regular dairy milk, these products still contain carbs. Coconut milk contains 18 grams of carbs in a grande while almond milk contains 11.

Starbucks Baristas Are Happy to Make Your Custom Drink

As long as you ask nicely, of course.

Starbucks baristas get custom orders all the time. There are boxes for customizations on every Starbucks cup to indicate your preferences, and baristas can work with you to customize a drink you can feel good about on your low-carb diet.

With the help of this guide, you’ll know exactly what to ask for to make your favorite Starbucks drinks keto. Below, you’ll find 15 keto Starbucks drinks you can enjoy (and customize) on your journey to better health.

10 Hot Keto Starbucks Drinks

Stick to this list of low-carb drinks and you’ll stay in ketosis even when heading to Starbucks.

#1. Fresh Brewed Coffee

Starbucks was founded on their freshly brewed hot coffee.

Lucky for keto dieters, there are zero carbs and zero sugars in Starbucks hot, black coffee. All roasts have between 5-10 calories per serving (depending on the size) and 20mg of caffeine per 1oz.

#2. Caffe Misto With Cream

A caffe misto is a one-to-one mix of Starbucks fresh brewed coffee and steamed milk, known in some circles as a “cafe au lait.” It tastes a lot like a latte and has about the same amount of caffeine, but might be a little milder on the taste buds if you’re not a huge espresso fan. To make a keto-friendly misto, replace the milk with heavy cream, or a 50/50 mix of cream and hot water, for your perfect blend.

#3. Hot Brewed Tea

Now that Starbucks and Teavana are under the same roof, you have access to a wide assortment of high-quality tea bags without carbs or sugar. Stick to tea bags such as:

  • Emperors Cloud and Mist Green Tea
  • Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
  • Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
  • Passion Tango Herbal Tea
  • Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea
  • Teavana Earl Grey Brewed Tea
  • Youthberry White Tea

If you want to take your tea game up a notch, use those tea bags to create a tea latte.

#4. Hot Tea Lattes

Many hot tea lattes — like the ever-popular chai tea latte and the newer London Fog — use a pre-made mix loaded with sugar. However, you can hack a low-carb tea latte using tea bags, hot water, heavy cream, and (optional) keto-safe sweeteners you can add on your own.

To make chai tea latte, use two or more chai tea bags and brew with hot water, a splash of heavy cream, and a pinch of cinnamon. To mimic a London Fog, brew two or more Earl Grey tea bags with hot water, heavy cream, stevia, and vanilla extract (if you have it on hand). Get creative and try mixing up different tea latte combos.

#5. Shots of Espresso

There’s 1g of net carbs and 5 calories per shot of espresso at Starbucks. Each shot of espresso delivers 75mg of caffeine. Ounce for ounce, espresso packs almost four times as much caffeine as hot brewed coffee.

Though the taste may take some getting used to, ordering a solo espresso (one shot) or a doppio (two shots) is a quick way to caffeinate your day on very few carbs. Feel free to add your favorite ketogenic sugar alternative, spices, and cream at the self-serve bar.

#6. Americano

An Americano is shots of espresso topped with hot water. Add more water and it resembles coffee with a boost of extra caffeine; less water helps you achieve a richer, more robust espresso flavor.

A short and tall Americano will each have one shot (for 5 calories and 1g net carbs) while grande and venti Americanos will have two shots each (and bring up the macros to 10 calories and 2 grams of net carbs).

#7. Latte

A caffe latte is either one or two shots of espresso (depending on the size) and steamed milk. You’ll also notice a light, frothy layer of foam on top. To order a low-carb latte, ask your barista to steam half water and half heavy cream so you’ll still have the frothiness you want without the carbs. For a low-carb vanilla latte, you can sub in SF vanilla syrup, but you’ll add 1-2g of net carbs, plus artificial sweetener.

#8. Low-Carb Mocha

A standard mocha comes with espresso shots, steamed milk, a rich chocolate syrup full of sugar and carbs, and whipped cream. Just one pump of mocha sauce has 7g of net carbs.

Starbucks does offer a reduced sugar mocha sauce (dubbed “skinny mocha sauce”), which has 1g of net carbs per pump. If you’re willing to go for the sucralose it’s sweetened with, you can sub out the milk for half water and half heavy cream, ask for the sugar-free mocha syrup, and skip the whipped cream.

You could also fake a mocha by ordering an Americano with one pump of skinny mocha sauce and adding a splash of heavy cream at the bar. Looking for a seasonal offering? Starbucks offers sugar-free cinnamon syrup and a peppermint mocha with sugar-free peppermint syrup to enjoy as a holiday treat.

A white mocha, on the other hand, is out of the question. Clocking in at 55g of net carbs for a grande (due in large part to the white mocha sauce, which contains sugar and condensed skim milk), a single white mocha equals almost two days’ worth of carbs. Since Starbucks doesn’t carry a sugar-free white mocha syrup, this one’s off the low-carb menu. Same goes for a sugar-free pumpkin spice latte (it doesn’t exist).

#9. Low-Carb Caramel Macchiato

The word macchiato means “marked” in Italian. Unlike a latte, which starts with an espresso shot topped with steamed milk, a macchiato starts out with steamed milk and then the espresso shots are added on top to “mark” the milk.

Starbucks macchiatos are a little different. A standard caramel macchiato has espresso shots, vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and a sweet caramel drizzle. Definitely not keto-friendly. To lower the carbs on this classic, order an Americano with three parts water to one part heavy cream and add sugar-free vanilla. The caramel drizzle adds 2 grams of extra net carbs to your drink. It’s up to you whether you want to include it.

#10. Flat White

A flat white contains an extra ristretto espresso shot, making it bolder than a latte while going down more smoothly than a cappuccino. Unfortunately, a classic will cost you 17 grams of carbs for a grande. Swap out whole milk for almond milk though, and you’ll bring your net carb count down to 7 grams.

5 Cold Keto Starbucks Drinks

Many of these ketogenic hacks also work well for cold Starbucks drink orders. Keep your cool in ketosis with the following low-carb Starbucks menu options and tweaks.

#1. Iced Coffee

Starbucks’ in-house-made iced coffee is unsweetened and comes in regular or decaf.

Despite having zero carbs and sugar to begin with, the default option is to have it sweetened with Classic (simple sugar syrup) when you order an iced coffee. That syrup alone will cost you between 15g and 30g of net carbs. So for a keto iced coffee, just ask for no Classic, or use monk fruit or stevia to sweeten it yourself.

#2. Unsweetened Ice Team or Brewed Tea on Ice

You have two options when it comes to keto iced tea at Starbucks. Standard Teavana shaken iced teas like green, black, and Passion Tango herbal tea are all unsweetened. But by default they’re sweetened with Classic syrup (for 15g-30g of net carbs). The Teavana Shaken Peach Citrus White Tea Infusion, for example, comes with 11 grams of sugar in a grande.

The option to add lemonade to your shaken iced tea bumps the net carbs up by 5g-18g. So when you order an iced tea, make sure you ask for it without Classic and then sweeten it yourself with stevia or monk fruit.

What about the social media favorite Starbucks Pink Drink? This pretty beverage with a sweet strawberry acai base and coconut milk has over 25g of carbs. But you can fake a keto Pink Drink by using unsweetened iced Passion Tango herbal tea, a splash of heavy whipping cream, and a pump of SF vanilla syrup (optional).

Don’t forget you can order any of the zero-carb teas mentioned earlier as a brewed tea on ice. Your barista will brew a stronger tea in hot water and then pour it over ice for you to sweeten yourself (unless you want a pump of SF syrup).

Try making your own version of a Pink Drink by combining a bit of heavy whipping cream and monk fruit with one of these no-carb brewed teas:

  • Emperors Cloud and Mist Green Tea
  • Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
  • Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
  • Passion Tango Herbal Tea
  • Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea
  • Earl Grey Brewed Tea
  • Joy (Seasonal)
  • Organic Chai Tea
  • Youthberry White Tea

#3. Cold Brew Coffee

Unlike hot brewed coffee, the cold brew at Starbucks is slow-steeped in cool water for 20 hours. Cold brew doesn’t have any carbs or sugar on its own, making it a perfect choice for keto dieters. Nitro cold brew is also safe for keto dieters as it’s free of both carbs and sugar.

But any of the flavored cold brew options — such as those with different flavors of cold foams — all add sugar and carbs to your drink, and are not keto-approved.

#4. Keto Ice Latte and Iced Caramel Macchiato

You can use the same rules for hacking a hot low-carb latte and a low-carb caramel macchiato to savor them cold.

All you have to do is:

  • Swap out the milk for heavy cream, or 50/50 heavy cream and water
  • Ditch the sweetener and use stevia or monk fruit, or replace it with SF syrup
  • Opt out of whipped cream and drizzle
  • Ask for it over ice or on ice

#5. Low-Carb Frappuccino

Starbucks Frappuccinos combine milk, coffee, ice, and different sugary syrups and powders in a blender to form milkshake-like drinks. Then they’re topped with whipped cream and a special drizzle. Even the smallest Frappuccino will cost you between 20g and 90g of carbs because of all that sugar and milk.

To make a Starbucks Frappuccino keto, you have to know this one secret: You can ask your barista to blend any cold drink you want Frappuccino-style. To order a low-carb Frappuccino, request an iced coffee blended Frappuccino-style with a splash of heavy whipping cream and (optional) sweetener like stevia or sugar-free syrup. Just make sure they don’t add any Frappuccino base or Frappuccino coffee syrup.

DIY Keto Starbucks Drinks You Can Make

Keto coffee is a great daily staple for low-carb eating, but ordering it at Starbucks can get expensive quickly. The good news is that it’s easy to make the best keto coffee recipe at home.

Adding MCT oil and coconut oil or grass-fed butter to make a keto coffee gives you long-lasting, steady energy levels and powerful mental focus, even after the caffeine wears off.

To recreate keto coffee drinks worthy of your local coffee shop, try whipping up one of these easy keto drink recipes:

  • Keto Matcha Latte
  • Iced French Vanilla Keto Latte
  • Rich and Creamy Pumpkin Spice Keto Mocha

And if you’re craving a cold Frappuccino, you’ll scratch that itch with a coffee-inspired smoothie blended up the same way:

  • Cinnamon Dolce Latte Breakfast Smoothie
  • Keto Iced Coffee Smoothie

Don’t have time for all this coffee in the kitchen?

Perfect Keto Instant Keto Coffee has you covered.

It combines high-quality powdered coffee (60mg caffeine) with MCT oil powder from organic coconuts to deliver an instant keto-friendly coffee to help you push through your busiest days and feel great.

All you have to do is add water to the instant coffee and mix it up. It’s a quick, portable, guilt-free treat to energize your body and brain without any sugars, additives, chemicals, or fillers.

Now that you know how to order keto Starbucks drinks, you can still meet up with your friends at your local cafe or escape a hectic workday without sabotaging your keto diet goals.

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We’re on a little fall road trip peeping the leaves right now. Nothing says fall to me more than the windows open to let in the crispy cold air, the seat heaters on full blast, and a cozy cup of warm coffee in my hand. Only thing is, all the best fall drinks are crazy calorie bombs (I’m looking at you pumpkin spice latte) and all I want is a sweet treat that won’t kick me out of keto. I’m not super strict about it, especially while we’re traveling, but I’m stilling trying to keep the carbs and calories down while living that fall coffee life.

Here are 6 keto friendly low carb coffees to order at Starbucks, which happens to be our road trip caffeine fuel of choice!

1. Keto Midnight Cinderella Latte
I’m sure you’ve seen the “Cinderella Latte” all over the internet and instagram. It’s a “secret menu” item that’s supposed to be like a velvety balanced pumpkin drink. It has half pumpkin sauce and half white chocolate but that would be way too crazy for a low carb drink so instead I get a keto Midnight Cinderella Latte. It’s creamy, just the right amount of sweet, and pumpkin-y. Here’s how you order it: tall americano with 1 pump skinny mocha sauce, 1 pump pumpkin sauce, light heavy cream. Light heavy cream in case you’re wondering is heavy cream, about a tablespoon or so. If you’re crazy about tracking your macros, don’t ask for it with the heavy cream – the “light” part differs from barista to barista – and add it in yourself.
Macros: 7 grams net carbs, 5.5 grams fat, 89 calories

2. Keto Great Pumpkin Latte
The other “secret” menu latte that’s been floating around the internets is the great pumpkin latte, in homage to Charlie Brown. It’s a regular latte but with half the pumpkin sauce replaced for toffee nut. Starbucks doesn’t have a sugar free toffee nut so I just invented my own great pumpkin by going with 1 pump of pumpkin sauce and 1 pump of cinnamon dolce in an americano with a splash of cream. It’s extra cinnamon-y with a hint of pumpkin and so, so good. Order it like this: tall americano with 1 pump pumpkin sauce and 1 pump sugar free cinnamon dolce. Add in 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream yourself or ask for light heavy cream.
Macros: 7 grams net carbs, 5.5 grams fat, 89 calories

3. Low Carb Keto Mocha
If you love chocolate and coffee together then obviously you love mochas and have been missing them ever since you decided to do the whole keto thing. Treat yourself and order a keto friendly mocha! Ask for a no whip short mocha with skinny mocha sauce, replace the milk with half heavy whipping cream, half water.
Macros: 2 grams net carbs, 5 grams fat, 55 calories

4. Low Carb Keto Flat White
If you’ve been to Australia, you know that flat white are a super popular milky coffee drink that’s strong and creamy. They’re delicious but because they’re made with milk, they not really keto friendly. But, you can make a quick sub by switching out the milk for heavy whipping cream. Order: short flat white, no milk, half heavy whipping cream, half water, steamed.
Macros: 2 grams net carbs, 5 grams fat, 55 calories

5. Low Carb Keto Chai Tea Latte
I love the warming spices of a chai tea latte – they’re so cozy! Typically chai tea lattes are made with a pre-sweetned chai tea concentrate, but luckily, they have tea bags too. Just order a tall chai tea with 2 tea bags, 1 pump of cinnamon dolce and then add a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream yourself. Sweet and spicy and perfect for fall.
Macros: 0.5 grams net carbs, 5 grams fat, 51 calories

6. Keto London Fog Latte
London fog lattes are my fave! Creamy earl grey tea with round vanilla notes and a splash of sweetness is perfect on a misty fall day. The London fog/earl grey tea lattes at Starbucks are kind of a load of calories, but there’s definitely a way around that. Order a tall earl grey tea with 2 tea bags, 1 pump of sugar free vanilla, and light heavy whipping cream. You can also just add a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream yourself to make sure you only get 1 tablespoon in there.
Macros: 0.5 grams net carbs, 5 grams fat, 51 calories

Of course, the best most keto friendly thing to order is black coffee or tea. But if that’s kind of boring to you, don’t forget about the sugar-free options! The sugar-free syrups are your friends because 0 carbs and 0 calories. Starbucks has SF cinnamon dolce and sugar free vanilla. There’s also skinny mocha sauce which is has 1 gram of carbs and 5 calories per pump. And for all you pumpkin spice lovers out there (I mean me!), the pumpkin sauce has 5 grams of carbs and 33 calories, which isn’t the greatest, but if you watch all your other carbs for the day, you can do it.

Happy fall coffee-ing!
pumpkin spice forever and always,
xoxo steph

Nearly anyone who lives by the keto diet will tell you that eating out can be quite a challenge at first — and the same is true for those who can’t live without their daily caffeine fix. While caffeine isn’t totally off-limits for keto dieters, there’s a very good chance that your favorite iced coffee or tea is loaded with ingredients that contain sugars and carbohydrates, especially if Starbucks is your go-to coffee hotspot. Sugar itself has a sneaky way of finding its way into most menu items at the popular coffee chain, and yet it’s totally restricted for those on the keto diet, as it jeopardizes your body’s ketosis state that you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Unless your go-to order in the morning is a simple cup of black coffee, you’ll have to hack your way through Starbucks’ menu to enjoy something sinfully sweet while being completely devoid of sugar. Diehard Starbucks fans have already found many ways to dodge sugar and lots of extra carbs in the same manner, and many have already taken to social platforms to share their favorite keto-friendly Starbucks treat using the #KetoStarbucks hashtag. But if you know you’ll be itching for a daily coffee or tea while attempting the diet, there’s nothing better than being reassured by a professional on which drinks you can safely enjoy without relying on Instagram.

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Enter Brierley Horton, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutritionist — she’s spent quite a bit of time decoding the keto diet and says that understanding which Starbucks add-ons (from milk options to syrups) include added sugars is a must. “When you’re following the keto diet, you need to be consuming less than 20g of carbohydrates — and nearly any of Starbucks’ ingredients, from whole milk to plant-based milk, contain carbs,” Horton shares, adding that you should consult Starbucks’ master nutritional list beforehand. “While you can look at how much sugar each syrup or beverage contains if you’d like, keep in mind that sugars factor into your carbohydrate count, so you don’t need to obsess over sugars as much as you do carbs in this case.”

Horton has a few tips for ordering any beverage at Starbucks that all keto dieters should know; plus, a few drinks that are well-established favorites for all keto lovers.

How to order a keto-friendly drink at Starbucks:

It shouldn’t come as a big shock, but black coffee is your friend at Starbucks, Horton says, and should be the base of every drink you order. You’ll want to ask for the Pike Place Roast, which is free of carbohydrates altogether and is the best option for any keto dieter at the coffee chain. “The boring answer to anyone looking for keto coffee drinks at Starbucks is black coffee, mostly because carb allowance is so limited, you want to be eating carb-rich items that also have a strong source of fiber and other nutrients,” Horton says.

MORE ON KETO

Regardless of whether you choose a mixed drink or black coffee, Horton says it’s best to keep the ratio of dairy in your cup less than (or equal to) coffee or espresso. And while the fat content in whole milk is more substantial than alternative milk, you’ll want to rely on substitutions like coconut milk or soy milk, as these add-ons have less carbohydrates than traditional milk. “A short Café Misto, for example, has 3g of carbs when made with almond milk—that bumps up to 5g when made with whole milk, which is about a 10% difference in your daily allowance when on keto,” she says. And since the keto diet is all about eating as much fat as possible — which is where most of your protein will come from, according to Horton — you should feel free to substitute cream, which contains a significant amount of fat and fewer carbohydrates in any given serving.

Finally, you’ll need to swap your sweeteners and syrups for low-sugar varieties instead, Horton says. Starbucks offers a few sugar-free syrups (including classic vanilla) that do not contain additional carbohydrates and are made with sucralose, which is also known as Splenda. If you’re angling to add a touch of sweetness to any drink without adding actual syrup, reach for stevia, which Starbucks’ offers to customers as a complimentary add-on

What is the Starbucks White Drink?

It’ll be one of the only keto-friendly options your barista may already be familiar with: Known officially as the “White Drink” by keto dieters, it’s actually made from Starbucks’ unsweetened Peach Citrus White Tea, heavy cream, and sugar-free vanilla syrup, according to Delish. While there are some sugar substitutes used in the creation of this white tea drink, Horton says that the drink shouldn’t mess with your body’s ability to maintain ketosis. “In larger amounts, those sugar-free syrups could still be contributing a small amount of carbs towards your daily limits. Be sure to find the lowest threshold of sweetness that you enjoy — no more than two or three pumps — and keep it light as possible. But indulging in these sugar-free varieties won’t immediately risk your ketosis,” Horton shares. “Plus, when you’re eating keto, you’ll notice that you’ve reset your taste buds and are cleaning your palette overall; a drink with six pumps of flavoring will taste very different than it used to, and you’ll be satisfied with less sugar as it is.”

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Per Delish, you’ll need to order an unsweetened peach citrus white tea and ask your barista to add heavy cream, plus a few pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, no water, and light ice in order to maintain the drink’s signature thick consistency.

Other popular keto drinks at Starbucks:

With Hortons’ tips in mind, you can decode many of the pre-made beverages at Starbucks and replace individual ingredients with keto-friendly supplements. One of Horton’s top picks is an iced café mocha made with cream in place of milk alongside a light mocha drizzle (just under 1g of extra carbohydrates). “It’s equal parts coffee and dairy, which is good, and adding whipped cream in place of milk helps reduce overall carb counts while adding around 8g of fat in a tall drink,” she says. But there are a few orders that have become popular with keto dieters, leading them to share these orders online on platforms like Reddit and in under-the-radar Facebook groups.

One Starbucks barista took to Reddit to share their version of a keto-friendly caramel macchiato, which is normally packed with sugar and carbs. If you order an iced version, which uses less milk than a hot beverage, you can ask for a “skinny” macchiato made with almond milk and no caramel drizzle. Be sure to order a grande or tall size, however, as the amount of carbohydrates increases significantly when you upsize to a venti.

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You might already be wondering: What about a classic frappuccino? According to Horton, a classic tall vanilla frappucino contains a whopping 48g of carbohydrates, which would knock anyone out of ketosis. And most “light” blended versions also clock in at over 20g. But if you choose to ditch all dairy products in favor of almond milk and swap in sugar-free syrups and cream, Horton says a tall frappuccino could feasibly contain as few as 15g of carbohydrates.

Other popular options include an iced chai tea latte, which is made with heavy cream (or half-and-half!) and two or three pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup. Anything that has a dark coffee base is largely safe to try, too. An Americano can be enjoyed with heavy cream in place of other add-ons, Horton says, and you can customize your drink with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, as these natural flavorings are free of sugar. “Just remember your smart swaps and to keep the dairy components of your drink to a minimal, and you should sneak in your daily run just fine,” she says.

Zee Krstic Associate Health Editor Zee Krstic is a health editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, where he covers the latest in health and nutrition news, decodes diet and fitness trends, and reviews the best products in the wellness aisle.

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Updated 4/6/2015 (see bottom of post)

I really love the smell of pumpkin (especially in the Fall), but, there is at least one seasonal pumpkin treat that I will never order and that’s the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. With more than 200 million sold to date, these drinks sell like hotcakes this time of year, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said it “still ranks as its most popular seasonal beverage”. But, does anyone know what’s really in it?

I found out, and I’m going to break it all down for you here.

But first, I want to mention that I get riled up when restaurants refuse to disclose their ingredients, because we have the right to know what we are eating and drinking. I’ve tried for years to get ingredient information from Starbucks and it’s been a bit frustrating to say the least. If you’ve ever tried emailing their customer service for ingredients you probably know what I’m talking about.

This week, we emailed them asking for the complete list of ingredients in the Pumpkin Spice Latte and this was their response:

“The Pumpkin Spice Latte is of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.

After several more emails back and forth, they were still refusing to share the ingredients:

While we understand that some customers would like to know the nutrition information for their specific customized beverage, unfortunately we are unable to provide this level of detail for every beverage customization request. The beverage information that is available on Starbucks.com reflects the beverage offerings currently on our menu with the most common customization options.

For a company that prides itself in its transparency, it’s unbelievable to me that this is how they respond to customers who ask for information about what’s in their drinks. After really putting the pressure on, I was finally able to get the complete list, but it wasn’t easy. While they list some ingredients on their website, they still do not list the ingredients in their most popular items: their drinks! This includes all of their lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, smoothies, etc. Starbucks doesn’t even publish the ingredients in their “Kid’s Drinks” – keeping parents completely in the dark. If you have a food allergy, their allergen information isn’t available online either.

How’s that for transparency?

Besides trying to get an employee to spill the beans, pretty much the only way to get the ingredients in their drinks is to go into their online store and search for each of the individual components that make up these drinks, but they are not all listed here. Quite frankly, this is a pain. This also requires you to know all of the components that make up the drink that you order. For instance, the Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t just espresso, syrup and milk. If you order it the usual way on the menu, it contains espresso, pumpkin sauce, steamed milk (or soy milk), whipped cream and spice topping – and these each come with their own ingredient list.

Another way to get ingredients is to email and call customer service, or to ask a corporate contact at Starbucks (if you’re lucky enough to know one like me). We used all of these avenues to get the ingredients in this drink, and you know what?

We got different ingredients.

Overall, the ingredients were similar, but there were slight differences. We initially called Starbucks customer service and they said that all of the syrups sold in their online store are the same ones that are used in the restaurant, and that specifically the Pumpkin Sauce is the same. The online version here says Pumpkin Sauce contains high fructose corn syrup. They also divulged the ingredients in the whipped cream, spice topping, and soy milk.

Shortly thereafter, we also received a response to our email inquiry and this is when things became shady.

This time the ingredient list they sent over didn’t have any high fructose corn syrup on it. Rather, it was replaced with “sweetened condensed nonfat milk”. After a couple email exchanges, they seemed to confirm that HFCS is an ingredient:

“Yes the sauce that we sell online at www.starbucks.com is that same sauce that we use in our stores. I understand you concerns about high fructose corn syrup being used in the Sweentened Condensed Nonfat Milk. Please be aware that product information is provided to us by the suppliers who manufacture food and beverage items for Starbucks Coffee Company. Variations may exist due to periodic changes in formulations. While we attempt to provide product information that is as complete as possible, product changes or new product introductions may cause this information to become outdated or incomplete. Products may vary from location to location”.

I wasn’t done yet. I also contacted a PR rep at Starbucks whom I had been in contact with previously and asked her to send me the ingredients. According to her, “The condensed milk is sweetened with sugar (no HFCS)”.

As you can see, this makes for a very confusing customer experience, and I still don’t really know if it contains high fructose corn syrup (or not).

Why won’t they just publish ingredients online and end the confusion?

They obviously know what the ingredients are in each of their drinks, so I see no reason for them to hold back from publishing them (in their entirety) online just like they do for their food items. This would make it easy for their customers to know exactly what they are drinking. I believe the reason that they’re dragging their feet is because they don’t want you to know about the harmful additives in their biggest selling items.

Case In Point: You’ll get 2 doses of Class IV Caramel Coloring in Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte.

You’ve probably heard me talk about caramel coloring before, and that’s because I think it’s one of the most hazardous chemicals being added to our food. Although it sounds harmless, food safety and consumer watch dog groups say it is not.

There are four different types (classes) of caramel coloring and two of those types contain the dangerous substance 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel). Starbucks uses Class IV Caramel Color, considered the most harmful type that contains 4-Mel, in many of their drink syrups and sauces. It’s even in their whipped cream!

Why Starbucks should stop using Class IV Caramel Coloring immediately:

  • It’s created in a laboratory by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperature, which produces the byproduct 4-Mel.
  • A U.S government funded study found that feeding mice caramel coloring IV (which contained 4-Mel) increased their risk of developing lung cancer and leukemia, at every dosage level.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies 4-Mel as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Any food or drink that contains more than 29 micrograms of 4-Mel requires a cancer warning label In California (under Prop 65) that says, “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the FDA to ban caramel coloring in 2011 due to safety concerns and the cancer risk of allowing this ingredient in our food.
  • It has no nutritional benefits and is only used cosmetically to improve the appearance of food and drinks, yet there are safer alternatives available to food manufacturers.
  • It’s sometimes added unnecessarily to food and drinks that are naturally brown or that are not even visible to the consumer (e.g. baby vitamin drops).
  • It’s the most widely used food coloring in the world, which makes it easy to consume excessive amounts.
  • Thankfully, the FDA is currently reviewing its safety and GRAS status, due to a Consumer Reports study that found excessive levels in many popular drinks.

In previous correspondence with Starbucks, they told me they have no plans to remove the ingredient and, “in all instances where the color is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) allowed by California’s Prop 65, regarded as a conservative evaluation system, and safe to consume”. I haven’t seen any testing results that show the exact levels of 4-Mel found in Starbucks drinks, so we just have to take their word for it on this one. Also, even if the level is below what’s allowed, what if someone has a Vente (Starbuck’s largest size) with the double dose of caramel coloring within the syrup and whipcream – what’s the amount of caramel coloring then? Even if the levels are below what’s permitted in California, it’s still not safe. In the opinion of toxicologist Dr. Urvashi Rangan, “There is no ‘safe’ level of 4-MeI, but if you have set a threshold, it should be well below the Prop 65 level (29 micrograms/day) – and more like 3 micrograms/day”. Roasted coffee itself has been shown to contain trace amounts of 4-Mel. Couple that with the fact that this coloring is in just about every processed food you can imagine, so you may be cumulatively eating more of this stuff than you realize – and no amount is safe.

Would you really care if the syrup and sauces that they squirt into your coffee are colored brown? It’s going into brown coffee anyhow…. it’s totally ridiculous to me that caramel coloring is even considered a necessary ingredient and that Starbucks doesn’t ask their suppliers to completely remove it.

Where’s the pumpkin?

After reading the ingredients in the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I can tell you that there’s absolutely no pumpkin. Instead, you’ll be drinking this:

  • A Huge Dose of Sugar – A lot of it. Order up a non-fat grande and you’ll get served 50 grams of sugar. Is it a pick-me-up from the caffeine, or all that toxic sugar?
  • Monsanto Milk – Even though over a hundred thousand customers are demanding it, Starbucks refuses to serve organic milk (at all locations). Due to consumer pressure, they stopped using milk from cows injected with growth hormones several years ago, but their milk still comes from cows that are fed genetically modified feed all day long – which is really supporting Monsanto and the biotech companies. When cows survive primarily on a cheap grain diet (corn, soy, alfalfa, cotton) it’s bad for the health of the animals, which is contributing to the overuse of antibiotics and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If they made the switch to organic milk, or even offered it for that matter, it would ensure that it didn’t come from cows grazing on GMO grains or injected with antibiotics.
  • Pesticide Residue – Starbucks doesn’t serve organic coffee in most locations. Non-organic coffee is considered one of the heaviest chemically treated crops in the world, especially when it’s imported from developing nations that allow pesticides that are restricted in the U.S. due to health concerns, such as Chlorpyrifos.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors – Since this drink contains absolutely no pumpkin, this is where all that flavor comes from. The problem with both artificial and natural flavors is that their sources are proprietary and you never really know what they are made from.
  • Preservatives and Sulfites – Which may cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks, and is linked with DNA damage.

If you’re vegan, I have a specific warning for you.

Many of you may be shocked to find out that when you order a Pumpkin Spice latte with soy milk, it’s still not vegan. This is because the Pumpkin Sauce contains condensed nonfat milk, and many Starbucks employees don’t realize this and have misinformed customers. This is yet another reason that Starbucks Corporate should be transparent about what’s in their drinks by publishing complete ingredients online.

You’ll also get more than you bargained for if you order up a soy latte, because the Starbucks “proprietary” organic soy milk contains carrageenan – which is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and cancer. It also contains another dose of added sugar, preservatives and natural flavors.

Complete Ingredients in Starbucks “Pumpkin” Spice Latte:

SOY OPTION:

Starbucks Organic Soy Milk (plain): Filtered Water, Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12, Zinc Gluconate.

Starbucks Organic Soy Milk (vanilla): Filtered Water, Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Vanilla Flavors, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12.

Ditch the Starbucks and Drink This Instead!

Mama Natural has a version of a homemade pumpkin spice latte that actually uses real pumpkin! And 100 Days of Real Food has a few quick and easy alternative recipes – see help graphic below.

You can also try a latte with my homemade pistachio milk, which is one of my favorite treats! Also, seek out locally-owned organic fair trade coffee shops in your area. My favorite is Larry’s Beans Organic Fair Trade coffee.

Starbucks: Stop Putting Toxic Chemicals In Your Pumpkin Spice Latte.

  1. Tell Starbucks to remove unnecessary carcinogenic caramel coloring by commenting on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
  2. Call their customer service department at 1-800-782-7282 and ask them to remove these harmful additives and post all of their ingredients online.
  3. Join GMO Inside and sign the petition asking them to serve organic milk at all locations.
  4. Share this blog post with everyone you know. The more people that know the truth, the more Starbucks will be forced to make a change.

Thank you for your activism and spreading the word in advance. Together we can change the food system. Hopefully in the near future, we can have treats like these without worrying about the toxic chemicals in them!

Xo,

Vani

Update 4/6/2015: I received an email from Starbucks representatives that they have started to remove caramel coloring level IV. “we recently transitioned the vanilla syrup in our US and Canada stores to a new formula which is free from caramel coloring. We prioritized vanilla as it is an ingredient in our whipped cream, so with this one change we removed caramel coloring from many beverages. We are actively working on the rest and don’t have a specific timeline to share at this time.” Go Food Babe Army Go!

Homemade Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Is it possible to make a Homemade Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe? Short answer: it is. Long answer: it is possible, it’s rewarding, it’s delicious and it allows you to save money as well.

It’s not a mystery that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is the drink everyone waits for in fall season and for this reason every year the company releases its biggest hit with a tremendous campaign.

How a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe is made?

Well, we can’t say for sure since the recipe is “secret” but we know it contains a good amount of sugar and on the Starbuck’s website is described as: “Our signature espresso and milk are highlighted by flavor notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to create this incredible beverage that’s a fall favorite. Enjoy it topped with whipped cream and real pumpkin pie spices”.

If you check the nutrition facts you’ll be shocked by the crazy amount of sugar this drink contains: our version contains sugar but only contains natural ingredients, probably missing from the industrial version of this beverage.

The differences between the famous version by Starbucks and the homemade version of this latte are simple to identify: genuine ingredients. If the coffee chain uses industrial syrups to flavor its drinks, using homemade and real ingredients make this latte definitely a good beverage.

The main ingredient is the pumpkin and the peculiarity of this beverage is the fact that it has a strong flavor that, thanks to the presence of ginger and cinnamon, is suitable for the fall season.

A Pumpkin Spice Latte is basically made with:

  • Coffee, and specifically Espresso
  • Milk
  • Pumpkin Syrup

The espresso can easily be made at home by using a traditional Italian moka, a more international Nespresso machine or any kind of espresso machine.

The milk has to be frothed because it has to feel thicker and creamier; to do so, you need a milk frother, and you can choose a manual or an electric frother. An immersion blender is the easiest way to achieve the foam at home if you don’t have a milk frother. You can skip the foam by simply not using a frother or a blender: you’ll get a classical latte but in this case whipped cream is a must.

The pumpkin syrup is really easy to make: just combine sugar, spices and pumpkin flesh to create a smooth cream, you’ll use for your pumpkin spice latte.

Now, let’s make the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at home: simple, quick, cheap and… no more coffee shop lines.

Ingredients for 4 mugs

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 600 grams of white sugar
  • 500 ml cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons of pumpkin flesh
  • 600 ml full milk
  • 300 ml coffee
  • Whipped Cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the syrup by mixing the sugar with water and bringing it to low boiling. Once the sugar is melted add the cinnamon sticks, the spices and the pumpkin pulp, continuing to mix on a low flame for 5 minutes;
  2. Remove from heat and pour in a hermetically sealed glass jar, allow to cool and refrigerate or use it immediately;
  3. Heat the milk by bringing it almost to the boiling point;
  4. Pour 2 tablespoons of pumpkin syrup into each large cup;
  5. Pour hot coffee and milk then blend mixture with an immersion blender until frothy;
  6. Add whipped cream and serve.

notes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Homemade Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe: Tips and Advice

  1. Although it is typical of the Halloween and October, this pumpkin-flavored latte can be made throughout the winter perhaps with the addition of other spices such as cloves and pepper;
  2. Once prepared, the syrup stays in the fridge for a month in a sealed jar;
  3. Whole milk works best to get a frothy latte. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you can use a coconut or almond drink to get more or less the same result;
  4. You can skip the foam by simply not using a frother or a blender: you’ll get a classical latte but in this case whipped cream is a must;
  5. This recipe calls quite a lot of sugar but how much you use is up to you and you may also use a sugar substitute.

About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a food and wine travel journalist awarded as Best Food Travel Journalist. Sommelier, in addition to cooking and traveling, she is often called upon to tell his experience during events and seminars.
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Learn how to order low carb Starbucks drinks that fit your keto diet.

See real-life photos of my low carb Starbucks drink orders.

Re-create low carb versions of your favorite Starbucks drinks.

In a hurry? Get my printable list of 15 low carb Starbucks drink ideas for free.

What To Order

I’ve loosely organized my recommendations around the drink categories listed on the Starbucks drive-thru menu. The pictures below are my own and should give you a rough idea of what your drink will look like.

LOW CARB HOT DRINKS

1. Low Carb Flat White

A Flat White typically comes with a highly concentrated shot of espresso and steamed whole milk to create a creamy coffee with a strong buzz. Steamed milk has 8g of sugar so replace it with a mixture of half heavy whipping cream and half water to get the same creaminess without the carbs.

Mrs. SkinnyPants holds my low carb Flat White.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Flat White. Replace the steamed milk with half heavy whipping cream & water steamed.”
  • Macros: 55 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 5g fat.

2. Low Carb Mocha

A typical Caffe Mocha has 20g of net carbs and comes with milk, brewed espresso, mocha sauce, and whipped cream. To cut the carbs, replace the milk with half heavy whipping cream & half water and replace the mocha sauce with skinny mocha sauce.

My low carb Starbucks Mocha casts a large shadow.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Mocha with skinny sugar-free mocha sauce. Replace the milk with half heavy whipping cream and half water.”
  • Macros: 55 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 5g fat.

3. Low Carb Latte

A Caffe Latte typically comes with espresso, steamed milk, and a light layer of foam. To recreate a low carb version, you’ll start from from scratch and order an Americano with a splash of heavy whipping cream. Ask them to add foam if the presentation under the lid is important to you (I forgot).

My Starbucks Low Carb Latte.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Americano, filled with 3/4 water and the rest with heavy cream. Add foam on top please.”
  • Macros: 216 calories, 4g net carbs, 3g protein, 22g fat.

4. Low Carb Fresh Brewed Coffee

Most of the fresh brewed hot coffees Starbucks are naturally keto friendly. I ordered a cup of their most popular brew: the Pike Place roast.

My Starbucks Pike Place Roast. Naturally low carb.

  • Order it low carb: “short Pike Place Roast.”
  • Macros: 5 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat

Starbucks List of Fresh Brewed Coffees:

  • Blonde Roast – 5 calories and 0g net carbs
  • Clover Brewed Coffee – 10 calories and 0g net carbs
  • Decaf Pike Place – 5 calories and 0g net carbs
  • Featured Dark Roast – 5 calories and 0g net carbs
  • Pike Place Roast – 5 calories and 0g net carbs

5. Low Carb Americano

Comes with espresso shots topped with hot water to produce a layer of crema (that dissipates quickly as you can’t really see it in my photo). It’s naturally low carb.

My Starbucks Americano. Naturally low carb.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Americano.”
  • Macros: 5 calories, 1g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat.

6. Low Carb Misto

Comes standard with a one-to-one mix of fresh brewed coffee and steamed milk. If you order it “short,” it only has 5g net carbs. If you want a larger size then replace the steamed milk with steamed half and half to cut the carbs.

My low carb Starbucks Misto.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Misto.”
  • Macros: 50 calories, 5g net carbs, 4g protein, 2g fat.

7. Low Carb Chai Tea Latte

The typical Chai Tea Latte is a foam-topped hot drink made from milk, water, and chai tea concentrate which has added sugar and honey. The added milk, sugar, and honey give the short-sized Chai Tea Latte a whopping 22 net carbs.

To get a low carb Chai Tea Latte, ask your barista to reconstruct the drink using their brewed chai tea bags (no concentrate), heavy whipping cream, and sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup. It’s delicious. This is one of my favorites.

The low carb Chai Tea Latte I ordered for my mom. I also tried it and it’s very good.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Chai Tea Latte using 2 Chai brewed tea bags — not the concentrate — with 2 shots of heavy whipping cream, and 2 pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce.”
  • Macros: 206 calories, 4g net carbs, 1g protein, 22g fat.

8. Low Carb Caramel Macchiato

A typical Caramel Macchiato comes with milk, brewed espresso, vanilla syrup, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. To create a moderately low carb version, you’ll start from scratch and order an Americano with heavy whipping cream, sugar-free vanilla syrup, and an extra light drizzle of caramel.

My low carb Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Americano, filled with 3/4 water and 1/4 heavy whipping cream with 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, shots on top, and extra-light caramel drizzle.”
  • Macros: 123 calories, 7g net carbs, 3g protein, and 11g fat.

Get it “with whip” if you want that pretty whip cream topping under the lid so that the caramel drizzle shows on top. Adds 2-3g of net carbs.

9. Low Carb White Chocolate Mocha

A typical White Chocolate Mocha comes with milk, white chocolate mocha sauce, espresso, and whipped cream. A short cup of White Chocolate Mocha has 28g net carbs. Yikes. Starbucks doesn’t carry a sugar-free substitute for the white chocolate mocha sauce, so you’ll have to ask them to go easy on it and settle for a moderately low carb substitute with diluted flavor.

My moderately low carb Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with whip.

  • Order it moderately low carb: “Short White Chocolate Mocha with whip. Single pump of white chocolate mocha sauce (instead of the normal 2 pumps). Replace the milk with 3/4 water and 1/4 heavy whipping cream.”
  • Macros: 183 calories, 12g net carbs, 1g protein, and 16g fat.

I ordered this drink and drank less than half so that I only consumed about 5g net carbs.

10. Low Carb Vanilla Latte

A typical Vanilla Latte has espresso blended with steamed 2% milk and vanilla syrup. It has 18g net of carbs.

A Skinny Vanilla Latte uses steamed non-fat milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup. The sugar free vanilla syrup helps but the non-fat milk still has 9g net carbs.

To get a truly low carb Vanilla Latte, you’ll need to replace the milk with heavy whipping cream & water and replace the regular vanilla syrup with sugar-free vanilla syrup.

My wife’s low carb Vanilla Latte.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Vanilla Latte, replace the milk with 3/4 water and the rest with heavy cream. Add 2 pumps sugar-free vanilla syrup.”
  • Macros: 216 calories, 6g net carbs, 3g protein, 22g fat.

11. Hot Tea

The following Starbucks brewed teas have 0 calories and 0g net carbs and are perfect for keto dieters.

  • Emperors Cloud and Mist Green Tea
  • Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
  • Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
  • Passion Tango Herbal Tea
  • Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea
  • Teavana Earl Grey Brewed Tea
  • Teavana Joy (Seasonal)
  • Teavana Organic Chai Tea
  • Youthberry White Tea

You can add flavor and texture to your tea by using heavy whipping cream or sugar-free syrups. For example, I recently ordered a low carb London Fog hot tea and it was delicious.

My low carb Starbucks London Fog Hot Tea. One of my favorites.

  • Order it low carb: “Short Earl Grey tea made with 2 tea bags, 2 shots of steamed heavy whipping cream, and 1 pump of sugar free vanilla syrup.”
  • Macros: 206 calories, 3g net carbs, 1g protein, 22g fat.

LOW CARB ICED DRINKS

1. Low Carb Frappuccino

A typical Starbucks Frappuccino is a blend of coffee, milk, and ice, flavored with sugary syrups or sauces, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with decorative sweet toppings. The average “tall” Frappuccino has at least 40g net carbs.

To make a low carb Frappucino, start with a tall iced coffee, and ask them to blend it frappuccino-style with heavy whipping cream, sugar free syrup, and then optionally top it with whip cream and a low carb spice like nutmeg or cinnamon.

The possibilities are endless.

Here is an example of a Keto Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino without whip cream that I ordered for my mom.

The Keto Frappucino I ordered for my mom.

  • Order it low carb: “Tall unsweetened iced coffee with extra ice, 2 pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup, and 2 shots of heavy whipping cream, blended frappuccino-style but with no frappuccino base & no frap syrups.”
  • Macros: 211 calories, 4g net carbs, 1g protein, 22g fat.

2. Low Carb Iced Tea

The iced teas at Starbucks are sweetened and have at least 8g of sugar in a tall-sized beverage. To create your own low carb Iced Tea, order one of these brewed teas on ice:

  • Emperors Cloud and Mist Green Tea
  • Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
  • Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
  • Passion Tango Herbal Tea
  • Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea
  • Teavana Earl Grey Brewed Tea
  • Teavana Joy (Seasonal)
  • Teavana Organic Chai Tea
  • Youthberry White Tea

Then you can use Starbucks’ in-store Stevia for sweetener or leave it unsweetened. Here’s an unsweetened Passion Tango Herbal Tea on ice that my wife ordered for my son.

My son’s low carb Starbucks Passion Tango Herbal Tea on Ice

  • Order it low carb: “Tall Passion Tango Herbal Tea on Ice, unsweetened.”
  • Macros: 0 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat.

3. Low Carb Refreshers

The typical Starbucks Refreshers come with a high carb fruit juice base mixed with water and served over ice. Some also have milk added for flavor. To recreate a low carb Refresher beverage, order a brewed tea on ice then add flavor, color, & texture via 2 shots of heavy whipping cream and/or two shots of one of these sugar-free syrups:

  • Vanilla (Maltodextrin) – 1g net carbs per pump
  • Cinnamon Dolce (Sucralose) – 1g net carbs per pump
  • Mocha Sauce (Sucralose) – 1g net carbs per pump

Perhaps the most famous Refresher beverage is the Starbucks Pink Drink which has about 20g net carbs.

To create a low carb Pink Drink, you’ll be using unsweetened Passion Tango Herbal Tea, heavy whipping cream, and sugar-free vanilla syrup.

My low carb Starbucks Pink Drink. Loved this.

  • Order it low carb: “Tall Passion Tango Herbal Tea on ice, no classic syrup, 2 shots heavy whipping cream, 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup.”
  • Macros: 206 calories, 4g net carbs, 1g protein, 22g fat.

4. Low Carb Iced Caramel Macchiato

This one is featured prominently on the menu so I figured lots of people order it. A typical Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato has 26g net carbs and comes with milk, espresso, and vanilla syrup served over ice then topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle. Making it strict low carb is difficult. Here is a moderately low carb version:

My moderately low carb Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato

  • Order it low carb: “Tall Americano on ice, add 2 shots of heavy whipping cream, 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup (shots on top). Add whipped cream on top with an extra-light drizzle of caramel.”
  • Macros: 274 calories, 9g net carbs, 3g protein, and 28g fat.

You can save 2 net carbs if you forego the whipped cream on top or just don’t eat it all.

5. Low Carb Iced Coffee

You can get any of the Starbucks coffees served over ice and it’ll be low carb if you tell your barista to leave it unsweetened. For my research, I tried the Narino 70 Cold Brew on ice because it’s featured prominently on the menu so I figured Starbucks was proud of it.

My low carb Starbucks Narina 70 Cold Brew on Ice. Naturally low carb.

  • Order it low carb: “Tall Narina 70 Cold Brew on ice, unsweetened.”
  • Macros: 0 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat.

How To Improvise

Here’s a few tips to help you create your own low carb Starbucks drinks.

  1. Write your drink order on a piece of scrap paper. Often times, the barista will reference it to make sure they get your drink right.
  2. Order the smallest size possible. Moderation means lower carb. For hot drinks, the smallest size is “short” (8 ounces) and for iced drinks the smallest size is “tall” (12 ounces). If you forget, just ask the barista for “smallest size possible.”
  3. Replace milk with a mix of 3/4 water & 1/4 heavy whipping cream. This will save you about 5 net carbs per drink.
  4. Request sugar-free syrup. 2 pumps, max. Here are your options:
    1. vanilla
    2. caramel
    3. cinnamon dolce
    4. hazelnut
    5. mocha
    6. peppermint (seasonal)
  5. Replace sugar-y toppings with decorative low carb spices:
    1. Nutmeg
    2. Cinnamon
    3. Sea Salt
    4. Pumpkin Spice

The Research

Thank you to Shannon at Keto Connect for her insider’s guide to Keto Starbucks. I leaned heavily on her post for drink ideas.

I also referenced the Peace Love and Low Carb Starbucks guide many times.

Most nutrition stats and macros were taken directly from the Starbucks website. I used Google ingredient searches to fill in gaps. I also sent an as-of-yet unanswered email to Starbucks HQ to try and confirm that all my macro estimates are accurate.

What’s Next

My next low carb fast food guide should be out soon. I’m visiting all the top 30 fast food chains and doing reviews of all their low carb options. Subscribe here to get it for free:

Follow My Low Carb Fast Food Challenge

Get my specific recommendations on what to order every time you’re in a Top 30 fast food chain like McDonald’s, Subway, or Chick Fil A, etc.

I’ll report back with final results for how this fast food experiment affects my health, well-being, and bank account. And you’ll get some simple low carb recipes and other tips from me for all the times you’re not eating in a fast food joint :).

Cheers,
Ryan
aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”

Low carb at Starbucks

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