True Story Tuesday: Your Starbucks Order Explained

This time of year brings lots of excitement to coffee lovers. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Gingerbread Lattes, Peppermint Mochas – they’re all delicious – but when ordering your favourite Starbucks drink, do you ever think about what’s in it? This week’s True Story Tuesday explains some of the most popular Starbucks drinks, and how you can get your coffee fix without the extras that slow you down.
Let’s start with our favourite fall treat – the Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you order a tall straight up without any personalization, this is what you’ll get:
Calories: 300
Fat: 11g (7g saturated)
Sugar: 38g
Protein: 11g
Caffeine: 75mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: Calcium at 40% of daily value
Let’s make it a Skinny and cut the whipped cream:
Calories: 200
Fat: 0g
Sugar: 37g
Protein: 11g
Caffeine: 75mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: Calcium at 40%
Now, let’s move on to my personal year-round favourite – the Tazo Chai Tea Latte. How does this compare to the Pumpkin Spice?
Calories: 190
Fat: 3.5g
Sugar: 32g
Protein: 6g
Caffeine: 70mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: Calcium at 20%
If we make it a nonfat, we cut 30 calories and all the fat, making this treat not too shabby.
If it’s early and you’d rather cut the yum for some energy, you’d probably go with a simple Pike Place Roast (comparale to Caffe Americano):
Calories: 5
Fat: 0g (before milk/sugar)
Sugar: 0g (unless added by you)
Protein: 0g (before milk)
Caffeine: 250mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: none (before milk)
Maybe you’re not a crazy caffeine addict, but just need a mid-afternoon boost. You might order the Caffe Latte. Looks like you might be better off with the Americano.
Calories: 150
Fat: 6g (3.5g saturated)
Sugar: 13g
Protein: 10g
Caffeine: 75mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: Calcium at 35%
If we make it a Skinny, we cut 50 calories and all the fat.
Is the Vanilla Latte your thing? Here’s how it compared with the Caffe Latte:
Calories: 200
Fat: 5g
Sugar: 27g
Protein: 9g
Caffeine: 75mg
Highest Vitamin/Mineral: Calcium at 30%
So, let’s run down our findings. What drink should you be ordering and what should you avoid?
Highest Calories: Pumpkin Spice Latte
*Tip* Order it nonfat to cut 100 calories!
Highest Fat: Pumpkin Spice Latte
*Tip* Order it nonfat to make it 0g
Highest Sugar: Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Chai Tea Latte in a close 2nd.
Highest Protein: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Chai Tea Latte, and Caffe Latte
*Tip* If you’re going to order these, order them as part of a meal, as they’ll fill you up more than others.
Highest Caffeine: Pike Place Roast/Caffe Americano
*Tip* Consuming these drinks in the afternoon might keep you up at night and disturb your sleep patterns. Drink them before noon!
What do you learn from these findings? Don’t ever drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Wrong! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a great way to treat yourself during the wet and cold weather this fall, but they act more like a piece of cake than a source of energy. You wouldn’t eat cake every morning, so don’t get in the habit of making these $5 drinks part of your routine – they’ll end of slowing you down and emptying your bank account.
Stay tuned next week for more knowledge bombs from True Story Tuesday.
*all nutritional info is based on a tall size (12oz) and gathered from

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