Are you a carb-reducing, keto-loving, coffee-drinking fanatic? This article is for you! Today we’ll cover how many carbs are in black coffee, where the carbs in coffee come from, and how to make/order great-tasting coffee while keeping the carbohydrate content low. Let’s get started.
Before we get going, if you’re more of an espresso drinker I recommend you visit my article solely focused on the carbohydrates in espresso. You can read that here.
And, if you’re a cold-brew drinker, I recommend you check out my article on the carbohydrates in cold brew since the number of carbs in cold brew is different from regular coffee.
Does Black Coffee Have Carbohydrates in it?
Black coffee is made of virtually zero carbohydrates. An eight-ounce cup of black coffee has less than one gram of carbohydrates in it, and a one-ounce shot of plain espresso contains 0-2 grams of carbs. Carbohydrates can be easily added to coffee in the form of sugar, milk, creamer, and sweetened flavorings.
What are Carbohydrates and Low-Carbohydrate Diets?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, the other two are proteins and fats. A few examples of carbohydrate-rich foods are fruit, bread, candy, soda, and pasta.
While consuming carbohydrates regularly is healthy for most people, giving them the energy for body and brain function, some people, for a variety of reasons, have chosen to follow an extremely low-carb diet known as the keto diet.
Others try to reduce the number of carbs in their diet because they’re really tasty and it can be easy to eat a lot of them. And when you eat more carbs than you use for energy, the unused carbs are stored as fat for use later.
According to Mayo Clinic, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults eat between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day, but this number will fluctuate based on your height and weight, activity levels, and dietary goals.
Why Black Coffee and Espresso Have Carbohydrates in Them
As I said above, a cup of black coffee has less than one gram of carbohydrates in it, and a plain shot of espresso has less than two grams, but there are some carbohydrates in all coffee. Where do these carbs come from? They come from the beans that are used to make the coffee.
Coffee beans are a fruit, and what are most fruits made of? Carbohydrates! When coffee is brewed, small pieces of and the oils in the coffee beans end up in the final drink. So while the coffee you drink is mostly water, the small amount of coffee beans that are in it that give it the coffee flavor add a few carbohydrates.
The reason that the amount of carbs in black coffee and espresso differs is because of the difference in brewing technique. Espresso is made by forcing boiling pressurized water through finely-ground coffee beans, which extracts more of the bean and creates a more concentrated final drink with up to 2g of carbs. This is different than drip coffee which is a less intense brewing process where hot water is dripped over and then falls through ground coffee beans.
Why Some Coffee Has a Lot of Carbs in it
While black coffee has virtually no carbs in it, coffee drinks that have up to 40-60 grams of carbohydrates in them can be found at almost any coffee shop. These drinks are commonly specialty or seasonal drinks advertised on the menu banners. They’re often frozen or iced but can be made hot as well.
The carbohydrates in high-carb coffee drinks come not from the coffee, but from additives and flavorings. Ingredients like sugar, milk, and flavored creamer can turn a zero-carbohydrate coffee into a sugar bomb.
Starbucks’ popular Pink Drink contains 25g of carbs, and their Cinnamon Caramel Cream Cold Brew is 33g.
One teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams of carbohydrates. Sugar packets that you might put into your coffee are about a teaspoon of sugar, meaning they have about 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Most coffee creamers will have carbohydrates in them because they are made with sugar and milk, and milk is actually made of a sugar called lactose.
A tablespoon of Starbucks Caramel Flavored Creamer has 6g of carbohydrates and I would guess that most people using this creamer are adding more than a tablespoon to their coffee.
How to Make Coffee With Fewer Carbs in It
Artificial Sweeteners for Low-Carb Coffee
The first strategy for reducing the number of carbohydrates in your coffee is to stop adding sugar and instead use an artificial sweetener.
Starbucks’ zero-sugar sweeteners include Splenda and Stevia.
Dunkin has a few more options with Splenda, Sweet’N Low, Equal, and Stevia all available. They also have unsweetened, sugar-free flavor shots including vanilla, toasted almond, blueberry, and coconut.
Whole milk contains 8g of carbohydrates per cup and 2% milk still has 5g of carbs per cup. If you’re trying to reduce the number of carbohydrates in your coffee, I recommend using a lower calorie, lower carb nondairy option like almond or coconut. Just make sure you’re getting the unsweetened version. The sweetened non-dairy milks, which many coffee shops use, have as much or more sugar in them as dairy milk.
Keto Coffee Creamers for Low-Carb Coffee
If you still want creamer in your coffee, using a keto or low-carb creamer can be a great option to reduce the carbohydrate in your coffee. Most of these creamers will replace the sugar with MCT oil and butter, which will increase their fat content, so just keep that in mind.
If you don’t have a keto creamer yet, I recommend checking out Rapid Fires Keto Creamer on Amazon here. It’s made with coconut MCTs, grass-fed butter, and Himalayan salt, and is the highest-rated Keto Coffee Creamer on Amazon.
They say once you go black, you never go back…and for my coffee-drinking journey that’s proven true. If you’ve been drinking flavored or creamer coffee for a while now, give black coffee a shot again. You may end up appreciating the full coffee flavor like I do.
The final way to drink fewer carbs in your coffee is to drink the same drink, just less of it. Change that medium into a small, that venti into a grande, etc.
This article was written by Josh, the founder of AngryEspresso.com. You can learn more about Josh on our About the Team page.