Although we aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of Starbucks here at Caffin8 (We have some opinions on what makes a great coffee), we are actually pretty big fans of the very decadent caramel macchiato.
We started wondering what the calorie content is in our occasional coffee treat, and funnily enough it’s not as much as some of Starbucks top offenders. The top 3 most calorific choices at your local Starbucks (Based on a large size - “Venti”) are; White Chocolate Mocha (620 calories), Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino (590 calories) and the Java Frappuchino (580 calories).
So now you won’t feel so bad when we tell you that the caramel macchiato has the following calories:
Now we know the last one is a little strange. How can the iced version add calories? Well we believe they’re adding a little extra sugar to counter the reduction in milk. If you’re a Starbucks aficionado why not comment bellow?
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What is making up the calories and exploring milk options
We have outlined above how the calories in a caramel macchiato differ significantly depending on the milk that is used.
I am sure you are thinking there is no way the milk is the ‘problem-child’ from a calorie standpoint in this tasty drink. However as calories of a caramel sauce or vanilla syrup can differ so drastically based on which brand a coffee shop or you decide to use, we thought best to focus on a change you can make that is a little more consistent.
We understand that the choice of milk you like in your coffee feels surprisingly personal but making a swap to a less calorific option can be a smart choice.
I am sure it’s no surprise to anyone that the milk/macchiato combo that brings the highest calories is the full fat milk version.
However, what was surprising to us was that the almond milk version actually carries the least calories, and is actually just under 100 calories less than the full fat option.
Side Note: That would mean you can sneak 2 cheeky Maryland cookies, with your almond milk caramel macchiato, for only 6 calories more than a single full fat version. Now that feels good!
How to make a caramel macchiato at home
Despite sounding complicated and looking fancy when the barista calls your name incorrectly a caramel macchiato is a surprisingly simple beverage to make at home. In its simplest form it has 4 key ingredients (Milk, vanilla syrup, caramel sauce to drizzle - and in our opinion the most important - coffee).
We like to keep it simple here at Caffin8 so below is a nice simple way to make the infamous Starbucks caramel macchiato at home for less calories without fancy equipment:
You will need the following ingredients -
- 415ml skimmed milk (1% milk) (154 calories)
- 2 tbsp of skinny vanilla syrup (0 calories) - (Available here)
- 2 large tbsp of our Daily Drinker Coffee - Espresso Grind (Available here) (we find this blends super well with the sauce given its natural caramel notes) (4 calories)
- Skinny food co’s Caramel sauce to drizzle (0 calories) - (Available here)
Note: This will make a large Venti Cup (20oz)
- Firstly fill half of the bottom of the stovetop with water
- Add the 2 large tbsp of coffee to the filter section of a stovetop
- Put this on the stove on a high heat until it has boiled
- Whilst the coffee brews we suggest measuring the milk in a microwavable jug
- After the coffee has brewed for two minutes then put the milk in the microwave on high for between 1-1½ minutes until the milk in hot but not boiling
- Add Vanilla syrup to the milk and froth the milk using a milk frothing wand, read more on how to froth milk at the following article
- Pour the milk into your cup leaving about 2 fingers of space at the top
- Pour the coffee over the top of the milk
- Drizzle with caramel sauce to taste and design desire
We estimate that using the above method you can make a caramel macchiato for around 160 calories, which is about 50% less than your Starbucks favourite. Making this the ideal ‘cheap’ calorie alternative.
What is a real macchiato (...and why Starbucks happens to call their version a macchiato)
If your a big fan of a Starbucks caramel macchiato, we can almost guarantee you’re not going to like a Costa caramel macchiato. Aside from the fact Costa don’t sell a caramel macchiato; if you could get them to make you one it would be terrible.
Starbucks has been known to coin their own terms in the name of “great” marketing. Since they were founded back in 1971 they’ve made up a whole bunch of different expressions such as the “frappuccino” and of course their wonderful sizing convention; Tall, Grande, Venti. They did the same for the macchiato.
Side Note: The direct translation of the Italian word ‘macchiato,’ into english is “spotted”. Though the intention of the phrase is slightly different, when spoken in Italian, the meaning is ‘coffee stained [spotted] with milk’.
Actually this is why Starbucks use the word macchiato for their version; as they “stain” or “spot” the top of the drink by pouring the coffee on top of the freshly steamed late style milk.
A real macchiato is actually a very small drink. It’s an espresso shot with a scoop of cappuccino foam on top.
Below is a picture comparison of what you going to be served with, if you ask for a macchiato in any coffee shop other than Starbucks:
If you’re still insistent on going off-piste in your local coffee house; then you’ll need to order yourself a caramel latte with extra syrup to get anything close to the Starbucks offering.
Now you’re armed with the knowledge that a Starbucks caramel macchiato isn’t actually the worst on their menu from a calorie perspective, you can smirk at your friend ordering the Mokka.
If you want to skip the queues, and the price, you could always make it at home with just 4 ingredients at only 160 calories.
Now we are by no-means coffee snobs. Infact our entire brand aims to take the snobbery out of coffee; but we definitely think Starbucks should leave the Italian dictionary alone.
Have you found anything tastier than the Starbucks caramel macchiato? We’re always open to suggestions. Let us know in the comments below.