How Many Calories in a Cup of Coffee?

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calories in coffee

If you’re like millions of coffee drinkers, you probably haven’t given much thought to the nutritional value of your morning, afternoon, or evening cup of coffee. After all, coffee gives you that extra boost of energy that you need, and you read somewhere online that it’s good for you.

What you probably aren’t aware of is that not all coffee drinks are created equal. Some of them contain massive amounts of sugars and other non-healthy additives. This isn’t good for those people who are looking to lose weight or count calories. You’d be surprised at what’s contained in that Triple Venti Mocha you paid $7 for this morning.

Spoiler: Black coffee (and water) by itself contains anywhere from 1-2 calories. It’s what you put inside the drink that starts the calorie ticking machine.

We’re going to break down several popular coffee related drinks and look at their calorie content including anything else that they might contain besides water and finely ground beans.

What are Calories?

Before we get too deep into this article, we need to define what exactly a “calorie” is. A calorie is a unit of energy that is contained within a piece of food or utilized through physical activities. If you were to eat a banana you would consume around 100 calories, while 30 minutes of walking would make you expend ~120 calories.

Some people find that “counting calories” is a great way to lose weight. While we cannot give specific medical weight loss advice, we can say that if the human body intakes more calories than it expends on a daily basis, weight gain can happen.

Black Coffee/Cappuccino

As stated before, a caffeinated drink made from water poured over ground coffee beans contains 1-2 calories. This is black coffee in its purest essence. Those who drink black coffee derive the greatest health benefits due to the lack of sugars and other additives which can cause health problems over time.

When consuming black coffee there are no sugars or sweeteners to mask the flavor. This is why store-bought coffee can taste very poor unless it’s masked with sugar or other flavors. Black coffee drinkers want to enjoy the taste of the beans and in order to do so, they start out with high quality beans such as Kona coffee grown by artisan coffee growers on the big island of Hawaii. Some say that you can literally taste the fresh tropical air in a cup of Kona coffee.

Filter Coffee with Milk

This drink is usually comprised of one-part milk and four parts coffee. A spoonful of sugar is also added. This will net you around 61.4 calories along with 3.32g of fat. The fat being mostly derived from the milk. The equivalent of this drink is eating one tablespoon of light mayonnaise or a regular teaspoon of cream cheese.

Café Mocha

Café mochas vary in caloric content from brand to brand and coffee store to coffee store. When preparing one, it’s usually one-part espresso, three parts of full-cream milk, two tablespoons of cocoa powder and a tablespoon of whipped cream.

This will net you around 292 calories. If you opt for a Starbucks Café Mocha, that will come out to around 360 calories, 15g of fat, 50mg of cholesterol and 150mg of sodium. It should be noted that a similar amount of fat, cholesterol, and sodium is present in other brands of Café Mocha.

Considering the average caloric recommended daily allowance for a grown adult is anywhere from 1,800-2,200. Just a single café mocha contains almost 20% of your recommended daily caloric intake as an adult. Food for thought if you’re trying to lose weight.

Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha

We’re not specifically picking on Starbucks here, but just for fun let’s have a look at one of the holiday drinks you might be consuming in the coming weeks or months. A peppermint white chocolate mocha is a crowd favorite during the holiday season. Whether you’re shopping at the mall, or trying to stay warm on a cold winter evening, it’s very hard to walk by a Starbucks and forgo one of these delicacies.

Just one Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whole milk and whip cream (size Venti) comes out to a whopping 660 calories! No whip cream will get you down to 580 calories, if that sort of thing matters to you. If you’re like most people, by this point in time you’re probably saying “in for a penny, in for a pound”.

Latte Coffee

Latte is a drink made from espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk. As you’ve probably already guessed, the calorie content of this drink derives entirely from the milk that’s added. A single 12oz latte will come out to around 135 calories assuming all you add is whole milk (the steamed and foam part).

Additives that Increase Calorie Count

By now you probably realize that it’s not the coffee that contains the calories, it’s what you add into it. So instead of listing every caffeinated drink under the sun and then telling you “Surprise! The added milk is the only cause of the increased calorie count”, we’re going to look at the various things that people add into their coffee.

If you’re looking to determine how many calories a caffeinated coffee drink has, start out with “1 calorie” for the hot water that’s poured over the ground coffee beans and is currently sitting in the cup. Then increase the total calorie count based on whatever below that you add to the cup:


Calorie Count per Tablespoon

Whip cream


Cream (half & half)






Fat-Free milk


Whole milk


Corn Syrup



Best No Calorie Coffee Drinks

If you’re counting calories you should keep in mind that your morning coffee can significantly contribute to an increased daily calorie intake. For those on a diet or who are watching their weight, forgoing a super-sugary caffeinated drink every morning can help them achieve their daily caloric goals.

If you cannot go without a cup of coffee on a daily basis, try drinking your coffee black. The reason why most people don’t like black coffee is because the only black coffee that they’ve tried is the stuff from the grocery stores (or McDonalds). This kind of coffee is not fresh, nor is it grown by artisan coffee growers. As such, you get what you pay for.

When it comes time to purchase your next batch of coffee beans, try a bag of premium, high-quality Kona coffee beans from such merchants as Carta Coffee. Brew it as you normally would and then let it cool (or drink it hot). When you take your first sip of Carta Coffee, you’ll instantly realize why many people love to drink their coffee black.

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