As buzz comes out regarding keto diet, more and more establishments are offering keto-friendly options in their menu. Starbucks is no exemption — you can buy a handful of keto Starbucks drinks without undermining your keto goals.
This guide has all the tips and hacks you need to get the best keto-approved Starbucks drinks without feeling the guilt.
There are some drinks that you can order right off the menu that are already keto-friendly. However, you might need to customize some of the drinks to make it ‘ketofied’.
8 Reminders When Ordering Keto Starbucks Drinks
Remember the following important pointers in order to get the best keto drinks from Starbucks:
1. Most beverages contain sugar by default
Starbucks uses simple sugar syrup by default in many of their drinks which add up to 30g of net carbs, depending on the size. Make sure to ask the barista not to put regular sugar syrup (or ‘Classic’) on your drink.
2. Flavored syrups contain a lot of sugar
To make your peppermint mocha, caramel macchiato, or vanilla latte, sugary flavored syrups are added into your beverage along with milk and espresso.
Most of these syrups contain 5g to 7g of net carbs per pump. Each drink may contain between 2 to 5 pumps of syrup depending on the size – totally not good when on a keto diet!
3. Ditch the whipped cream
Whipped creams are made with a lot of sugar and vanilla syrup and they contain a lot of carbs. Skip it on all your drinks.
4. Be careful of sugar-free syrups
They might seem to be a good alternative to sweeten your drinks without consuming carbs. However, these syrups contain an artificial sweetener called sucralose that can mess up your gut bacteria. Sucralose can also be carcinogenic especially when heated (in a hot drink, for instance).
Sugar-free syrups only contain 1g of net carbs per two pumps, so they are technically low-carb. However, keep in mind that they are not the healthiest option.
Sugar-free syrup flavors include:
What if you still want to add flavor to your drink, but don’t want to use their sucralose-based sweetener? Read the next point.
5. Take advantage of the self-service spice bar
You can still add flavor to your coffee without the fake sugars and preservatives by utilizing the spices at the self-serve bar.
The spices usually include:
Pumpkin Spice (seasonal)
A lot of Starbucks branches also have stevia packets, which is a great choice compared to artificial sucralose-based sweeteners. You may also bring a monk fruit packet to sweeten up your drink.
6. Some drinks are already pre-sweetened with sugar
Starbucks has a lot of pre-made mixes that already contains sugar such as:
Green tea / Matcha latte mix
Chai tea latte mix
Avoid these drinks since you can’t lower their already high sugar content regardless of the customization that you do.
7. Skip The Milk, Use Heavy Cream Instead
Starbucks adds 2% milk to espresso and tea lattes by default. This means that your drink will contain 10g to 12g of net carbs due to the sugar content of the milk.
“Skinny” Starbucks drinks which use non-fat milk is worse which contains 9g to 24g of net carbs even though it contains fewer calories.
To reduce carbs, your best bet is the heavy cream – it consists of pure fat without the carbs and it will also make your coffee or tea deliciously rich. You may also ask your barista to do half water and half heavy cream if you want it to be less creamy.
All cream or milk additions less than 4 oz are free.
8. Don’t be shy with your customized drinks
Baristas from Starbucks get custom orders every day so don’t be shy with your off-menu tweaks. You have to remember that you’re doing this to maintain your keto lifestyle.
Here are 14 keto-friendly Starbucks drinks you can order or customize:
1. Fresh Brewed Coffee
Good news for keto dieters – There are zero sugars and zero carbs in hot black coffee of Starbucks. They only contain about 5-10 calories per serving and about 20mg of caffeine.
2. Caffe Misto w/ Cream
The regular caffe misto contains a one to one ratio of steamed milk and brewed coffee.
It tastes like a milder version of latte and has an equal amount of caffeine.
To customize it for keto – substitute the milk with heavy cream. You may also opt to go with 50/50 heavy cream and hot water ratio if you’re concerned with the high-calorie content of the cream.
3. Hot Brewed Tea
Since Teavana and Starbucks are now under the same company, you can now access a wide variety of high-quality tea without sugar or carbs.
We recommend the following tea flavors for keto:
Youthberry White Tea
Teavana Earl Grey Brewed Tea
Royal English Breakfast Tea
Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea
Passion Tango Herbal Tea
Mint Majesty Herbal Tea
Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
Emperors Cloud and Mist Green Tea
4. Hot Tea Lattes
Most hot tea lattes from Starbucks such as the London Fog or the popular Chai Tea Latte use a premade mixture packed with sugar. This makes them a no-go for keto dieters.
However, You can still hack your own keto-friendly tea latte by using tea bags, hot water, heavy cream, and an optional keto-friendly sweetener such as stevia or monk fruit.
To hack a chai tea latte, brew 2-3 chai tea bags in hot water then add a pinch of cinnamon and the heavy cream.
Hacking a London Fog is similar – brew 2-3 earl gray tea bags, then add the heavy cream, stevia, and vanilla extract. (just bring some of your own when you go to Starbucks)
You can get creative and experiment on mixing different tea latte combos.
5. Espresso Shots
Each espresso shot contains 5 calories, 1g of net carbs, and 75mg of caffeine. Espresso contains almost 4 times as much caffeine compared to brewed coffee.
You can get a double espresso shot if you want to stay awake for the day on very few carbs. You may also add some keto-friendly sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit if the taste is too much for you.
Espresso + Hot Water = Americano.
A short and tall Americano at Starbucks contains 1 espresso shot while grande and venti (1g net carb, 5 calories) contains 2 espresso shots each (2g net carbs, 10 calories).
As with the Americano, a standard Starbucks latte contains 1 to 2 espresso shots depending on the size, but you’ll have a frothy milk at the top instead of hot water.
To order a keto-friendly latte, request the barista to replace the milk with half heavy cream and half water so you’ll still have the froth without the additional carbs.
8. Low Carb Mocha
A standard mocha from Starbucks also comes with espresso, milk, chocolate syrup packed with carbs and sugar, and whipped cream.
Just a pump of mocha syrup contains 7g of net carbs. So Starbucks has a low-carb alternative called “Reduced Sugar Mocha” syrup aka “Skinny Mocha”.
This skinny version uses sucralose as its sweetener. If consuming sucralose is not an issue for you – then you can replace the milk with half heavy cream, half water, then ask for the skinny mocha syrup and just ditch the whipped cream.
9. Low Carb Caramel Macchiato
A typical caramel macchiato from Starbucks has espresso shot(s), milk, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle. With those ingredients, it’s obvious that the standard version is not keto friendly.
To make this a keto-friendly beverage, you can order an Americano with 3 parts water and 1 part heavy cream, then add sugar-free vanilla.
It’s up to you if you still want to add the caramel since it adds 2g of additional net carbs to your drink.
10. Iced Coffee
Iced coffees from Starbucks can come in regular or decaf. Baristas tend to put sugar syrup on the standard iced coffee mix.
To save yourself from the additional 15g to 30g of net carbs, just request your barista to don’t put any sugar syrup on your drink. You can then sweeten it by yourself with stevia or monk fruit.
11. Teavana Iced Teas
Same with iced coffees, iced teas such as Passion Tango, Green, and Black teas are sweetened by sugar syrup by default. Additionally, lemonade is also added which adds another 5g to 18g of net carbs to your drink.
You may request the barista to skip the sugar syrup and lemonade, then you can just sweeten the tea by adding stevia or monk fruit by yourself.
12. Pink Drink
This gorgeous drink with coconut milk and a sweet strawberry base contains more than 25g of net carbs.
However, you can hack your own keto-friendly Pink Drink by using an unsweetened Passion Tango iced tea, heavy cream, and a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup.
The barista will just need to brew a stronger passion tango tea in hot water, and then put over some ice so you can sweeten it yourself. (Optional: request for a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup if you don’t mind the additional carbs)
13. Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee at Starbucks is made by slow-steeping the coffee in cold water for 20 hours. This coffee does not have any sugar or carbs on its own so it’s an ideal keto choice.
However, there are flavored versions of cold brew coffee which contains a lot of sugar and carbs. Just stick with the plain one and forget that there are other flavors available!
14. Iced Latte / Iced Caramel Macchiato
The same hack still applies for both the hot and cold versions of these coffee classics.
- Replace the milk with heavy cream. You can also go with 50/50 water and heavy cream to lessen the calories
- Use stevia or monk fruit (or sugar-free sucralose syrup) instead of the default sugar syrup.
- Ditch the caramel drizzle and whipped cream.
This milkshake-like drink combines coffee, milk, ice, and a lot of different sugary powders and syrups in a blender, topped with special drizzle and whipped cream. Talk about carb overload!
The smallest sized frappe contains between 20g to 90g carbs because of all the milk, drizzle, cream, and sugar.
So how can we keto hack this carb-loaded drink?
The key hack is not known to many, but you may ask your barista to blend your cold drink Frappucino-style.
So you can order an iced coffee, add a splash of heavy cream, and an optional sweetener like sugar-free syrup or stevia. Then you can have your barista blend it Frappucino style.
It’s important to ask the barista not to add any frappucino base to make it keto-friendly.
Skip the whipped cream and just spice it up with a sprinkle of nutmeg, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and you’ll have a keto-friendly low-carb frappucino treat that you’ll enjoy.
Share these Starbucks hacks with your friends by pinning any of the pinnables below under your Keto Diet board!