If you’re trying to lose weight or just watch your waistline, it is important to consider the calories in liquid drinks, including coffee. While it is no surprise that a Salted Caramel Frappuccino packs a lot of calories, you might be asking yourself: “Does black coffee have calories too?” The good news is that the calories in a cup of black coffee are negligible but the daily additions like a dash of milk or a small amount of sugar can be the culprit sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Read this article to find out the differences between black coffee calories, our tips on how to add flavor to your cup without compromising your waistline, and the reasons why drinking coffee could actually help you lose weight.
How Many Calories in Black Coffee?
You’ve probably guessed that if you’re watching calories and you want to get a coffee, black coffee is the best choice. But how many calories does black coffee have? Is it really zero calories? If not, how many exactly?
According to USDA, a cup of brewed black coffee contains around 2 calories. So not exactly zero, but too little to sabotage your healthy eating efforts. Calories in black coffee can vary depending on the brewing method. While a shot of espresso contains around 3 calories, an Americano and nitro coffee contain 5 calories and you can expect around 3 calories from a cold brew.
Why Are There Calories in Black Coffee?
Coffee is an organic product and the beans are the seeds that come from a coffee cherry plant. The coffee cherries hold energy, some of which is extracted during the brewing process.
How many calories in a cup of black coffee depends on how long has the water been in contact with the ground coffee beans to extract energy. The only other ingredient in black coffee is hot water, which contains no calories. But black coffee only maintains the low-calorie profile if you drink it without any extras such as milk or sugar.
Black Coffee Extras: How Do They Add Up?
Many people jazz up their black coffee with extra additives, such as sugar, milk, or cream. By doing this, they’re making coffee sweeter and less bitter, but also adding a lot of calories.
Here is the calorie breakdown of the most common coffee additions:
- Sugar - 16 calories per teaspoon
- Creamer - 30 calories per tablespoon
- Heavy cream - 50 calories per tablespoon
- Half and half - 20 calories per tablespoon
- Whipping cream - up to 100 calories per serving
- Dash of milk - 20 calories
- Dash of fat-free milk - 10 calories
Even though 20 calories in a dash of milk doesn’t sound like a lot, many people add a couple of dashes and a teaspoon of sugar, which can equate to around 50 calories per cup. And if you drink two of those per day, you’re consuming 100 calories just in coffee, which is not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.
How Many Calories In Coffee You Order at Your Cafe?
The milk and sugar are responsible for adding the biggest amount of calories. Popular coffee orders such as cappuccino or a latte can contain anywhere from 100 to 200 calories, depending on the cafe and the size of coffee.
The extravagant coffee drinks at Starbucks can have the same amount of calories as a standard meal, for example, the White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino containing an astounding 420 calories!
When ordering takeaway coffee at a cafe, you have little control over what they add to your cup, however, a plain Americano should only contain around 3 calories, no matter where you order it.
But watch out for other black coffee drinks, especially at franchise cafes. The seemingly healthy option, the Salted Caramel Cold Brew at Starbucks, contains around 220 calories per serving.
Bulletproof Coffee Calories
Bulletproof coffee is an example of when black coffee can pack a lot of calories, without even adding milk. The health craze of Bulletproof Coffee, promoted by keto dieters, contains no carbs, sugar, or milk but adds coconut oil, MTC oil, or ghee.
It is renowned for its health benefits and can contain from 200 to 500 calories, depending on the recipe. And while it can curb your morning hunger, it is not the option with the lowest amount of calories.
Does Your Coffee Lack Flavor?
If you want to add flavor to your coffee without adding too many extra calories, try swapping cream for low-fat milk and opt for sugar-free syrups or calorie-free sweeteners, such as stevia. Many people add milk or cream to their coffee because it tastes too bitter. The reason could be that you are brewing dark roast coffee.
This type of coffee takes on a more bitter and smoky flavor from the roasting process, rather than displaying the tasting notes inherent within the bean.
If you think your daily caffeine kick is too bitter, try swapping dark roast to medium or blonde roast. Lighter roasts tend to be brighter and display fruity, floral, or nutty notes, which can make coffee drinking a less bitter experience without the need for milk or sugar.
Is Black Coffee Good for Weight Loss?
If you drink black coffee and are trying to lose weight, we’ve got some good news for you. Drinking black coffee has many benefits, including boosting metabolic rate by 10%, helping you lose more fat. Many athletes drink black coffee to improve their energy levels and boost their performance. Caffeine present in black coffee can give you energy for the gym and help you stay more active during the day.
And if you need more reasons to start drinking black coffee, you’ll be glad to hear that it reduces the risk of chronic diseases, can suppress appetite, and help to fight depression.
The Verdict: Does Coffee Have Calories?
A cup of black coffee can contain around 3 calories released from the beans during the brewing process.
If you regularly add sugar and milk to your coffee, or order flavored black coffee drinks at cafes, the calories can quickly add up.
There are other ways of making your morning cup taste less bitter. Try experimenting with lighter roasts or single origins to discover new coffee flavors.