Most of us can’t live without our cup of coffee in the morning. Smelling the coffee brewing in the kitchen is the motivation necessary to get us out of bed. The promise of that cup of delicious energy calls to us…
As necessary and wonderful as our cups of joe are––not all created equal, especially when it comes to health.
Many of us know syrups and additives can add calories, but have you ever actually thought about just how many calories or what the nutritional value of your cup of morning coffee is after you doctor it up a bit?
Checking coffee credentials is vital. If you are conscious of your weight, different health concerns, or if you are focused on increasing your overall health, many coffee additives and extras are something you should have a clear breakdown of to make the best decisions for your body.
To give you an idea, one cup of coffee with no sugar or milk contains a 1-2 calorie count. Not bad, right? Coffee on its own is low calorie and can actually be beneficial to your health in different ways. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth (as many of us do) or crave that splash of cream, this calorie count can go way up.
Below we are going to go into some of the favorite coffee additives and their individual calorie counts. The more you know, the better informed you are to make sure your health is a priority––while also leaving room for the occasional sweet, delicious mocha…
What are Calories?
Before we discuss how many calories are in one cup of coffee, let's define calories. Calories are units of energy utilized through physical activities or contained within pieces of food. For instance, consuming a banana means you have consumed almost 100 calories, while walking for 30 minutes helps you burn around 120 calories. Keep in mind, the exact amount of calories your body burns/uses will vary.
Many people approach losing weight through tracking calories. More calories consumed than burned can lead to weight gain, and the opposite can be true for being in a calorie deficit. Your body needs calories, though, to function efficiently. So, making healthy decisions is key…and coffee can be one of those!
How Many Calories are in Black Coffee?
One cup of black coffee with no milk or sugar contains approximately one calorie per 4 oz. These calories come from the dissolved proteins and fats in ground coffee beans.
The amount of caffeine in each cup varies depending on the origin and type of coffee bean. Many health regulations recommend taking less than 400 mg of caffeine daily in standard coffee drinks.
The best way to find how many calories are in one cup of coffee is to approximate caffeine numbers by using an average of 12 calories per brewed fluid ounces.
For convenience though, here is a guide on calories in different common coffee drinks.
Calories in Black Coffee
According to the USDA, a regular cup of brewed black coffee from ground beans has 2 calories per serving. On the other hand, one fluid ounce of black espresso contains 1 calorie.
If your cold brewed coffee is from decaffeinated beans, its calorie count is zero. Extra sweeteners like milk, sugar, vanilla, chocolate syrup, and other sweeteners can yield around 700 calories per serving.
While those 700 calories might seem overwhelming, there are a lot of great reasons to include coffee in your morning routine…you might just want to limit the extras!
Black coffee can be incredibly healthy––when consumed within reason. Caffeine, for example, is a natural stimulant commonly found in dark chocolate, tea, and coffee (of course!) and can help boost your body’s general performance. Caffeine also boosts our bodies' energy levels, making black coffee a great addition to daily intake.
The secret behind it is to avoid high-calorie sweeteners or at least limit them. While this can seem like a big ask, there are options to help enhance the taste of your coffee that might be a bit healthier than your usual go-to. Have you thought about using nut milk? Honey instead of syrups or sugar?
We’ll break down the calories in coffee extras later on, but first let’s talk about the overall health benefits of drinking coffee in general.
Best No-calorie Coffee Drink
While black coffee is the healthiest option, a lot of people end up drowning their coffee with sugars and milks simply because they don’t like the taste of coffee on its own. However, as we mentioned before, not all coffees are created equal.
The problem is you get what you pay for in a grocery store, and this type of coffee is not grown by artisan coffee growers, nor are they fresh.
When purchasing your next coffee beans, try premium lifeboost coffee beans before you write off black coffee for good. The low acidity in our beans only adds to the flavor, and we roast our beans as orders come in––meaning, it will be fresh when it gets to your door!
Coffee Nutritional Value and Facts
When it comes to nutritional value and calorie counts, coffee doesn’t have tons (good or bad). One cup of brewed coffee with no milk or sugar added contains 2.4 calories per serve. These nutrition facts are according to the USDA. The calories are distributed as 0g of carbohydrates, 0.3g of protein, 0g of fat, 118 mg of potassium, 7.2mg magnesium, 4.8mg of sodium, 0 g of sugars, and 0g of fibers.
Black coffee with no added sugar or milk has zero carbs.
One cup of black coffee has minimal amounts of proteins. But any additional sweetener or milk can boost protein.
Black coffee has no fats, but additional milk or saturated fat changes the number of fats in a cup of coffee (increasing the amount of fat…).
Vitamins and Minerals
Plain coffee contains minimal calorie counts. However, a single serving of plain coffee does contain trace amounts of certain vitamins and minerals:
- 4.8 mg of sodium.
- 7.2 mg of magnesium.
- 118 mg of potassium.
- 0.1 mg of manganese.
- 6.2 mg of choline.
- 7.1 mg of phosphorus.
- 4.7 mcg of folate.
Health Benefits of Coffee
As aforementioned, there is not a lot of real nutritional value associated with coffee. However, it has some great health effects due to its caffeine content.
Promotes Weight loss
Caffeine assists in weight loss, and there is scientific proof to back it up. A 2019 meta-analysis and review showed that caffeine intake promotes weight loss and decreases body fat and body mass index (BMI).
From their analysis, a person weighing 150 pounds will need more than two cups of coffee before a workout to have any effect. (Note, this benefit was observed in those who had not exercised previously)
Fights against cancer
2017 studies published in the British Medical Journal found drinking coffee to have hidden health benefits such as containing anti-inflammatory effects and more. For instance, roasted coffee has over 1000 bioactive compounds, many of which are associated with potentially therapeutic antioxidants, anti-cancer effects, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
The findings show that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee lowers cancer incidence by 18%. This includes liver, melanoma, leukemia, endometrial, prostate, and non-melanoma skin cancer. All that just from drinking coffee!
Reduces heart failure risks
According to the American Heart Association, their 2012 review showed that consuming about 4 servings of coffee daily, reduced the risk of heart failure.
Minimizes increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
According to one study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking 4 or more cups of coffee daily reduced the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 30%. The study also shows that daily coffee consumption impacted Type 2 Diabetes. More so, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee had the same effects.
Prevent liver disease
One study published in 2006 found that if you drink coffee, liver health benefits are associated with it. Caffeine protects the liver against liver cirrhosis. But, the protection increases with an intake volume of approximately four or more cups of coffee.
Recent research published in 2021 showed both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee might prevent chronic liver disease.
Not a bad list of health benefits, is it? All of these benefits are from coffee itself, so what happens when we add our favorite caramel syrups and whole milk to that cup?
Let’s break down the extras…
Calories in Coffee with Milk
The exact number of calories in coffee with milk varies depending on the amount used and the kind of milk you add. The three most commonly used milk types include skim, semi-skimmed (low fat), and full-fat. According to the USDA, these are the number of calories in different kinds of milk (about 30 ml).
- Skim milk: Contains 10 calories per ounce
- Semi-skimmed milk: Contains 15 calories per ounce
- Full-fat milk: Has 19 calories per ounce
Calories in Coffee with Sugar
A teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories, but some people prefer using unique flavors with different sugar proportions. According to the USDA, here is a breakdown of how many calories a coffee contains with sugar.
- White sugar: 16 calories per teaspoon
- Raw sugar: 15 calories per teaspoon
- Brown sugar: 17 calories per teaspoon
- Flavored Starbucks syrup: 20 calories/ single pump of ¼ oz
- Agave syrup: 21 calories per teaspoon
- Simple syrup: 52 calories per tablespoon
- Flavor syrups: 45 calories per tablespoon
How Many Calories are in Alcoholic Drinks?
Who doesn’t like to mix up a coffee cocktail on special occasions (such as a Friday…) or on holidays?
An alcoholic coffee, like Kahlua Coffee, will of course contain higher calorie counts than a non-alcoholic drink. Alcoholic coffees can have 7 calories per gram, as the coffee drink itself is usually loaded with sugar to balance the bitterness of alcohol with the acidity of coffee.
Coffee drinks containing pure spirits will have fewer calories from sugar, but calories from alcohol are unfortunately unavoidable.
The Bottom Line
A plain cup of coffee is low in calories. But, various coffee drinks in the coffee industry contain calorie additions like sugar, milk, and cream.
If you have a sweet tooth or lean towards adding milk into your cup, making your morning coffee can cost you 48 calories for each tablespoon of sugar, 9 calories for whole milk, 52 calories for a tablespoon of cream, 20 calories for a tablespoon of half and half, and 5 calories for fat-free milk.
If you visit your favorite coffee shop, you can enjoy coffee drinks and not consume an abundance of calories. Opt for plain brewed coffee with nonfat milk, no flavored syrups, and no sugar and cream is possible.
A non-dairy creamer powder will add 22 calories, whereas a McDonald's coffee Cream has 20 calories. A flavored non-dairy creamer, on the other hand, has around 45 calories.
Bottom line…black coffee can be really beneficial to your health, but you might want to keep track of how many scoops of sugar or how much milk you add!
FAQs About Calories in Coffee Drinks
How many calories does a cup of black coffee have?
Generally, the number of calories varies depending on the type of black coffee you take. On average, a cup of black coffee from brewed black beans contains 2 calories. According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), an 8-ounce cup of black coffee contains 2 calories.
How many calories is a cup of Coffee with Milk and sugar?
A regular cup of coffee with milk and sugar contains 30 calories. The calorie content is broken down to 4% fat, 92% carbohydrates, and 4% protein.
Does coffee make you gain weight?
Coffee does not make you gain weight. It instead promotes weight loss by aiding appetite control and boosting metabolism.
How many calories is a cup of Coffee with Milk?
An 8-ounce coffee containing 1 ounce of skimmed milk contains 12 calories.