Starbucks Latte Abuse: Enough Already

By Jim F

Starbucks latte abuseFirst there was espresso – a rich dark caffeine fix full of anti-oxidants – 1 fluid ounce (30mls) and 5 calories.

Then…. comes the latte – add lots of milk to that espresso. (See Caffeine Informer for the caffeine content of an espresso.)

And then…. comes that worldwide favorite Starbucks.

Starbucks have created more coffee abominations than you can throw a stick at. Coupled with their delightfully over-sized portions (and why is the smallest cupsize called Tall?), you have the privilege to imbibe an absurd concoction of sugar and fat.

Somewhere deep down in that cup is the poor humble shot of espresso.

The Village Voice observes some of the recent holiday-flavored Starbucks creations.

The eggnog series, though a cute idea, was offensive in execution. An eggnog latte consists of espresso, a lot of eggnog mix from a supermarket carton, and milk. It is the color of a Caucasian baby’s knees and the smallest size contains 25 grams of fat. Do people think because it is in some abstract sense “coffee,” that it doesn’t count?

Specialty Latte Calories

Other holiday and seasonal specialties include:

  • The Pumpkin Spice Crème – where a medium size (Grande) comes in at 500 calories.
  • The super-sweet Gingerbread Latte.
  • The Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha has 440 calories (16oz).
  • The Mocha Coconut Frappuccino with 410 calories (16oz).

(have a play with the Starbucks nutrition calculator).

Starbucks coffees are also known for their shockingly high caffeine levels.

Shoot me down for being a coffee snob, but this ever-increasing obsession with extravagant taste-titillation and over-blown portions is at the heart of society’s weight problems.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo De Vinci


  1. Cetkat

    The small is called a “Tall” because there’s actually a smaller, unlisted size that’s called a “Short”.

    In reality, there’s: Short, Tall, Grande, Venti

    You can order it, but it’s better to stick to the more basic drinks if you do. It’s guesswork with proportions unless the Barista makes a tall and pours some of it out.

  2. Nea

    There is more than just coffee at Starbucks. There is so much that you have to like something there, unless all you eat is dirt. We don’t serve dirt. I work there, I should know.

  3. Nikki

    In my opinion, as for taste, it really depends on who makes your coffee. I never even knew that Starbucks offered sugar free syrups (funny how they don’t even put it on their menu) so i used to try and stay away from Starbucks because i figured most of their drinks were packed full of sugar and calories. But now i’m gonna give the sugar free stuff a try and hopefully my taste buds will be fooled! I always love some good coffee =D

  4. nova

    Starbucks YUMMMMMMMM! You get the best coffee and great atmosphere. People who KNOW coffee. Sad so may small businesses dont follow the path created.

  5. Coffee Lover, Weight Watcher.

    Like others have stated, get educated. If you are concerned about the calories/sugars/fats, research the low-calorie options. Everyone is allowed to have a cup of coffee without feeling guilty. Not to say, go get the Venti, Whole Milk, with five extra pumps. Moderation, people.

  6. Bob

    They have 4 sugar free syrups. Vanilla, Hazelnut, Cinammon Dolce, and Caramel. That’s one sugar free alternative to each of their most popular syrups. The ones they don’t have sugar free alternatives for are Peppermint, Raspberry, Dark Cherry, and that whatever is seasonal. It just doesn’t make sense to make a sugar free version of those when so few people even order the sugared versions. I hear maybe one Dark Cherry drink every couple days.

    I love how people will complain about how there are too many ridiculous ways to make the drink and then also complain that there are too few options.

  7. Bob

    You must have the biggest tablespoons in the world. Each pump is more than a tablespoon just by itself.

  8. Annie

    Might sound like a silly question but how many calories do the sugar free syrups have? Just asking as you worked there and it isn’t listed on the website. x

  9. Jackie

    Hi – Starbucks nutritional information from their website says that the flavoured syrups have 81 calories for 4 pumps… less calories for less pumps.

  10. Nicole_NZ

    I love any full fat , massive latte – with no sugar though. Maybe a syrup sometimes. I drink them all the time and in skinny. Geuss Im just lucky 🙂 I never swap full fat for low fat haha

  11. Vicky Burns

    I used to work in a Starbucks and it was always tempting to have a Venti Signature Hot Chocolate, or Chai Tea Latte. But it’s pretty obvious that if you want to incorporate a treat into your daily diet, you moderate another element of what you are taking in. So I’m off to Starbucks after work for a Gingerbread Latte and because of that I will have a salad, soup and crackers for lunch. If I choose skimmed (non-fat) milk, no cream (yuck – I hate cream!) and half the syrup (it’s normally too strong anyway), it’s only 160 calories. Which isn’t a big deal.

    And on the days when I don’t want a milky ‘treat’ drink I have a black Americano or an black Iced Americano in the summer. I like it, and that’s all matters. No calories. Simple.

  12. arealbarista

    LONG LIVE CAFFE VITA!!! Just declared by GQ magazine as one of the ten best cups of coffee in the US…I’d like to see Starbucks try to get on that. I just don’t trust a coffee place that uses automatic machines…or doesn’t free pour their drinks. Sorry!

  13. James

    seriously, you’re all such mindless peasants.

  14. Jessi

    Lauren who the hell told you they have 110 calories per pump!? That’s such a lie. I used to work at a Starbucks and I can assure you that the normal syrups have 25 calories per every 2 TABLESPOONS. That’s maybe 4 pumps. 😉

  15. Boulie

    Well said – why is everyone on every forum I go to so quick to put others done & be negative!

  16. Bill

    Fail. I don’t believe you realize that taste is unique to each person (as color can be, theoretically, completely different for each person.) What makes you think just because you think a certain coffee is the real kind and the best tasting, everyone else should believe the same thing? This goes to everyone Stick to your own opinions and stop trying to force people to listen to you.

  17. Freida

    Get a freakin life! No one is forcing to drink Starbucks -or depriving you of the opportunity to either!Some people just aren’t happy unless they are complaining about something. that’s just sad.

  18. rosie

    So, I really like starbucks lattes. They are streets ahead of any others you can buy because (wait for it) I ACTUALLY LIKE MILK IN MY COFFEE! Espresso is fine in summer, but frankly, in the middle of winter in grey Endlandshire, I much rather have a big cup of hot steaming creamy milk, which tastes a bit like coffee, and has a nice frothy top. I have three milk frothing devices of my own, but none is as good as starbucks. So, all you espresso drinking coffee snobs out there, please get a life and realise not everyone shares your agenda. and please, don’t give me that whole ‘you’ve obviously never had good proper coffee before or you’d never drink anything else’ rubbish. I have and it’s nice, but it makes me shake and I’d just rather have it with 60% milk. Plus, until someone actually demonstrates that starbucks is ethically inferior to any other random multinational, I will continue to spend my £1.75 as I see fit.

  19. melise

    While Starbucks has aimed to provide its customers with an alternative to healthier options such as its sugar free flavour shots, its important to point out that its sugar free alternative is made out of sucralose, aspartame which is also used in Nutrasweet, and Equal and diet colas. The problem with these is that it is not a natural form of sugar and various research has shown that it can really mess up the nervous system causing MS, and lupus.

    • Holly

      Yeah, in mice. I think it’s that you have to consume over 2 lbs of aspartame or sucralose every day for 10 years for it to actually mess you up. Don’t forget, they gut load and high dose the mice every single day for weeks, so, of course they will have problems. And, it’s been proven over and over that results in animals have NOT been reproduced in humans. That being said, it you have it in moderation, like everything, you’ll be fine.