Maximum Taste From Minimum Calories: Calories in Coffee, Your Essential Need To Know Guide

by | Sep 30, 2019

Anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows the important role coffee can play. And who hasn’t dieted at some point, or simply monitored their calorie consumption? The great thing is that coffee has very few calories.

The recommended daily calorie intake is around 1,800 to 2,000 calories for a moderately active woman. It’s 2,500 calories for a man.

How many calories in coffee, then? And does black coffee have calories? Well, basic brewed coffee drinks have none. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Although this applies to black coffee with nothing added. Once you add ingredients, the picture changes when it comes to calories from coffee.

Coffee Is Almost Zero Calories

If you’re interested in coffee nutrition, the drink has some nutrients. Calories in a coffee mainly come from the fat and protein in the beans. The sugar content of coffee beans themselves is relatively high. During roasting, the sugars mainly denature in the Maillard reaction.

How many calories in a cup of coffee, then? In a typical serving of coffee, the count is around 0 to 2 calories, 5 at most. Arabica beans usually contain around twice as much sugar as Robusta.


The number of calories in coffee varies. A serving of coffee beans, around a tablespoon, has about 18 calories. Oh, and we wouldn’t recommend eating green raw beans; they’re quite bitter and woody-tasting. Roasted coffee beans taste milder.

And some coffee shops sell chocolate-coated beans. We know from personal experience they can help keep you awake on long monotonous journeys where scenery doesn’t change much.


It’s The Milk And Sugar

What’s the average amount of calories in a cup of coffee? They mount up as you add that lovely whole milk or cream, and sugar or syrups to your cup of Joe. Add a spoonful of sugar and the calorie count increases by 16; an ounce of half-and-half adds about 37 calories. Heavy whipping cream adds a whopping 101; you get an extra 10 even from an ounce of fat-free milk or skim milk.

You might think plant-based milk would have a lower calorie count, but even unsweetened soy milk has 10 calories in an ounce, the same as fat-free cow’s milk. Unsweetened almond milk is around 5 calories; coconut milk has just under 6 calories.

An ounce of oat milk has about 16 calories and unsweetened rice milk around 15 calories. A 10 oz serving of butter coffee, meanwhile, has over 500 calories.

Then there are the syrups. We’re very partial to a dash of caramel syrup, say, but we know this adds around 90 calories per ounce (or tablespoon). Depending on how well you tolerate saccharine or other sweeteners, low sugar or sugar-free options or alternatives such as honey may be a better choice. They’re closer to 5 to 20 calories. And if you’re wondering if the coffee has carbs – fear not; simple black brewed coffee contains no carbs.


Black Coffee Has Virtually No Calories

Does coffee have calories, then, if it’s black? If you’re wondering about how many calories are in black coffee, typically it’s somewhere between zero and a negligible 5 per serving. That’s assuming a 10-ounce regular coffee serving or a 1-ounce espresso. Unsweetened espresso usually also comes in at zero.

Now you know the coffee’s not the problem, but cream, sugar, and syrups raise the calorie count. You could swap to plant-based milk or change your sweetener. To maintain sweetness without the calorie intake, give stevia a try – calorie count is zero. Or add a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, or even chili for a little extra flavor.


The Reasons For No Calories in Coffee

Given that coffee beans themselves, however, do have a calorie count, how does black coffee have no calories, as a drink? Well, it depends on how you make it.

When we drink coffee, we’re ingesting liquid poured over the beans, percolated through them, or in which beans have been soaked. The calories come from the beans. Since we don’t usually ingest the beans themselves, the coffee calories remain negligible.


Should I Give Up Coffee?

Only you can decide to give up coffee, but why would you unless you had to? Coffee, especially in moderation, can help various health conditions. Plus it tastes great, it’s readily available, and relatively affordable luxury.

If, however, you’re contemplating giving up cream, sugar, and syrup, that’s another question. The answer might change depending on your health priorities.

black coffee sugar

You might try swapping cream for rice-based milk or soy once a week to keep the calorie count low. Or you could add stevia instead of syrup. It goes without saying that calories in a latte or cappuccino calories are higher than many other coffee drinks due to the milk.

If you enjoy a handful of coffee beans as a snack, one bean typically has around 8 calories. A one-ounce serving is around 151; most of the calories of coffee come from the fat and protein content. This assumes the beans are covered in chocolate.


Coffee: Minimum Calories, Maximum Taste

There aren’t many foods or drinks out there that are so low in calories and this flavorsome. Maybe a few fruits, but not many feel indulgent in the way that coffee does. So, what would we suggest?

Don’t deprive yourself of such a simple, easily available pleasure, whether you drink coffee steaming hot, iced, or lukewarm. If you decide to scale back the extras to help with weight loss, but you love cream and sugar, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Start with a couple of cups a week, and cut down from there. Alternatively, accept that those lovely extras mean you might need to think seriously about how many calories are in a cup of coffee and cut your intake accordingly.

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