Going Keto brings a lot of changes into your life. Thankfully you can still get your caffeine fix, with a few modifications.
Here are the base beverages you CAN have at Starbucks:
- Drip coffee
- Hot or iced americano
- Unsweetened iced coffee (You must request unsweetened.)
- Cold brew (unsweetened by default)
- Unsweetened iced teas (passion, green, white, or black. You must request unsweetened.)
- Unsweetened iced tea infusions (More details below.)
- Hot teas from teabags (Some do have candied sugar, more details below.)
- Unsweetened tea steamer with heavy cream (chai is my favorite, you must request unsweetened)
Details about Modifying Beverages
- You can order all the above beverages with or without a splash of heavy cream (the liquid) cold or steamed
- The "coconut milk" (see image) and "almond milk" have added sugar, so they are not keto friendly. However, if you MUST have a splash of one, the almond milk is much lower in sugar (3g for 8oz), which is actually lower carb than Heavy Cream. The difference is the added sugar vs naturally occurring lactose. I do not recommend cane sugar at all, but you need to make the choice for yourself.
- Folks seem to love the keto version of the "pink drink", which is unsweetened iced passion tea with heavy cream.
- If you are dairy free, I suggest carrying your own creamer:
Unsweetened Califia Almond Milk Creamer
Unsweetened Califia Better Half
Nutpods Dairy-free Creamer
Starbucks Coconut Milk
Sugar-Free (SF) Syrups
I personally don't use their "sugar free" syrups because the Starbucks brand SF Vanilla and Hazelnut have maltodextrin, so technically they aren’t sugar free.
- Though I do not personally consume them or recommend them, if you are going to consume sugar-free syrups, estimate 1-2g carb per serving. They are not zero carb.
- Their SF cinnamon dolce and skinny mocha sauce have only sucralose, ok for some, but stalls me. The SF mocha has carbs from the cocoa as well, so track that.
- Some Starbucks locations use Torani brand which contain Acesulfame Potassium or AceK. This is known to spike insulin, and thus is a hard "no" for me.
I also do not recommend using any of their sweetener packets. Several contain actual sugar marketed as a sugar substitute.
One possible exception are the Whole Earth sweetener packets. In the old formula, the 2nd ingredient was fructose even though they are marketed as Stevia and Monk Fruit. This is not a great option. However, the NEW formula has removed the fructose. Check the packets before using!
If I want sweetener or flavor, I recommend keeping one of the following in your bag/purse, at your desk, or in your car for constant availability:
- Liquid stevia from NOW or Sweet Leaf
- Liquid monk fruit from Lakanto
- Packets of monk fruit/erythritol from Lakanto
- Truvia packets
Starbucks Sugar Free Vanilla
Making a Fatty Coffee
- Starbucks carries Kerrygold butter pats (salted) that you can froth into your beverage with a milk frother. They are free, just ask.
- Carry your own Omega Power Creamer in plain, vanilla, or chocolate.
- Carry your own emulsified MCT from Onnit or Sports Research
- MCT oil powder also works from Perfect KETO or AMRAP
Lattes and other Milk Based Beverages
I do not recommend latte, mocha, flat white, or hot chocolate on a regular basis. Here’s why:
- These beverages are milk based with a little coffee and flavoring.
- Even if you order heavy whipping cream as your milk, all heavy cream has apx 0.8g carb per ounce (even if the label says zero “per serving”, dairy has lactose).
- If you have the extra carbs and really want one, go ahead, but count the carbs per ounce.
- A little 8oz (short) will have nearly 6g carb. A 20oz (venti) will have roughly 15g carb, before any "sugar free" syrups are added.
- You can ask for half HWC and half hot water to cut the carbs in half.
Hard NO Beverages
- Starbucks matcha powder is loaded with sugar, not pure tea leaves, don't get it.
- The Chai syrup used in Chai Latte is loaded with sugar, don’t get it.
- You can have your iced drinks blended, but NO Frappuccinos. Those are made with a sugary base. (Yes, even the Lite version.)
- Anything with lemonade is out.
- Whipped Cream (fluffy topping) has added sugar. DO NOT GET THIS.
More about Tea Infusuions
Normally I’m strict on excluding all added sugar. The below teas technically have a little sugar from a small number of candied pieces, but they are listed as zero carb on their nutrition facts. I personally allow these teas, but you can avoid them or track as 0.5g carb if you want to be a stickler.
- Teavana® Shaken Peach Citrus White Tea Infusion
ICE, AN INFUSION OF [WATER, A BLEND OF WHITE TEAS], AN INFUSION OF [WATER, APPLES, NATURAL FLAVORS, LICORICE ROOT, ROSE HIPS, HIBISCUS, ORANGE PEELS, LEMON VERBENA, CHAMOMILE POLLEN, LAVENDER FLOWERS]
- Teavana® Shaken Pineapple Black Tea Infusion
ICE, AN INFUSION OF [WATER, A BLEND OF BLACK TEAS], AN INFUSION OF [WATER, APPLES, NATURAL FLAVORS, ORANGE PEELS, LICORICE ROOT, CHAMOMILE POLLEN, CITRIC ACID]
- Teavana® Shaken Strawberry Green Tea Infusion
ICE, AN INFUSION OF [WATER, A BLEND OF GREEN TEAS, SPEARMINT, LEMON VERBENA, LEMONGRASS, NATURAL FLAVOR], AN INFUSION OF [WATER, APPLES, NATURAL FLAVORS, LICORICE ROOT, HIBISCUS, ROSE HIPS, CITRIC ACID, LEMONGRASS]
These hot teas are perfectly acceptable, no questions asked:
- Emperor's Cloud and Mist® Green Tea
- Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea
- Mint Majesty™ Herbal Tea
- Royal English Breakfast Tea
- Teavana® Earl Grey Brewed Tea
- Teavana® Oprah Cinnamon Chai Tea
These hot teas are still zero carb per tea bag, but have some sugar:
- Passion Tango™ Herbal Tea
An Infusion Of [Water, Hibiscus Flower, Cinnamon, Candied Papaya Pieces (Papaya, Sugar), Rose Hips, Apple Pieces, Lemongrass, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Blackberry Leaves, Candied Mango Pieces (Mango, Sugar), Rose Petals].
- Peach Tranquility® Herbal Tea
An Infusion Of [Water, Apple Pieces, Candied Pineapple Pieces (Pineapple, Sugar, Citric Acid), Rose Hip Peels, Peach Pieces (Peach, Rice Flour), Peach Pieces, Chamomile Flowers, Lemon Verbena, Artificial Flavoring].
- Youthberry® White Tea
An Infusion Of [Water, White Tea, Candied Mango Pieces (Mango, Sugar, Citric Acid), Candied Pineapple Pieces (Pineapple, Sugar, Citric Acid), Rise Hip Peels, Apple Slices, Hibiscus Flowers, Red Currants, Artificial Flavor, Rose Petals, Açaí Fruit Powder (Açaí, Maltodextrin)