The Healthiest Drinks You Can Order at a Coffee Shop

Let’s admit it, when you think of coffee shops, you probably don’t think of ordering the healthiest drink they have on the menu.  Do they even have a healthy drink?

Even I probably order the most sugary drink and in the largest size, too. But, ordering these sugary drinks can be very unhealthy, especially if you do it every day.

Thankfully, most coffee shops (even the most famous coffee chains), have healthy drinks that you can order. Now you don’t have to wait in line and feel guilty about the choices you will make since you can order a healthy drink instead!

In this article, I will be talking about some of the healthiest drinks you can order at a coffee shop. If these drinks don’t resonate with you, I also have some tips that you can use to make healthier choices when it comes to ordering your favorite drink.

In this article:

  • Healthy Drinks You Can Order at a Coffee Shop
  • How to Make Healthy Choices When Ordering Drinks at a Coffee Shop

Healthy Drinks You Can Order at a Coffee Shop

Plain, Black Coffee

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If you want the healthiest drink you can order at a coffee shop, look no further than a plain, ol’ black coffee. It is low in calories, no sugar, and no fat. What more can you ask for?

Not many people like black coffee because of its strong coffee taste but if you want to avoid sugary drinks, this is the one for you. Black coffee is rich in antioxidants which can help reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

Drinking black coffee can be an acquired taste, especially if you are used to putting sweeteners in your coffee. It can take time to get used to the taste of black coffee but it is definitely the best drink to order if you are looking for something healthier.

Although, black coffee has a pH of 5 which means it is considered acidic. Coffee is acidic in nature and if you want to switch to drinking black coffee, try not to drink more than two cups per day if you are acidic.

Related: Does Black Coffee Have Carbs In It + Low Carb Coffee Tips

Cold Brew

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If a fresh cup of hot, black coffee is still something you are getting used to, why not try ordering a cold brew instead?

Cold brew coffee is steeped for up to 12 hours either in the fridge or at room temperature so it has very little bitterness compared to black coffee brewed regularly in hot water.

Cold brew is also less acidic than regular black coffee. So, if black coffee is too much for you, start with a cold brew and slowly transition into a hot cup of black coffee.

Americano or Long Black

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You might be wondering what the difference is between black coffee, americano, and long black. If you look at these three kinds of coffee side by side, you’ll notice that they kind of look similar.

Well, the difference is that Americano and long black are traditionally made by using an espresso machine.

Black coffee, on the other hand, can be brewed using different brewing methods.

The difference between an Americano and a long black is how they are prepared. An Americano is prepared by adding the espresso shots, typically a double, to the cup first and then adding hot water.

For long black, it is the opposite. The water is added first and then the 2 shots of espresso.

Both an Americano and a long black are low in calories and sugar-free. You can also order both iced Americano and long black if you prefer your drink to be more diluted.

Lattes and Cappuccinos

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If black coffee, an Americano, or a long black does not suit your taste, you can still order a latte or a cappuccino at coffee shops. While not as healthy as our first three options, a latte or a cappuccino can become a somewhat healthy drink.

Lattes and cappuccinos typically use whole milk. If you want a healthier version, ask your barista to use skim or plant-based milk. You might also want to avoid add-ons such as syrups and creamers.

If you absolutely need to have these add-ons, you can choose to have a sugar-free version instead.

If you are ordering at Starbucks, you can ask the barista if they can make your latte or cappuccino drink skinny. A Skinny drink at Starbucks is just a lighter version of the drink. So, you’ll get the same drink but with is sugar-free and made with nonfat milk.

Hot Tea

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If the taste of coffee is not your thing, ordering hot teas at your favorite coffee shop can still give you that caffeine boost. If you are also cutting caffeine, you can also order herbal teas if these are available.

You can go for a hot or iced unsweetened tea like chamomile, peppermint, or ginger. If you do want a caffeine boost, black or green tea are also great healthy choices.

Teas are typically healthy drinks as they offer various health benefits, depending on the flavor. 

Herbal teas, like chamomile, can help improve your sleep and reduce stress. Peppermint tea, on the other hand, can help with an upset stomach or even migraines. Ginger tea can also help reduce inflammation and help relieve sore throat.

If you are ordering hot or iced tea at your favorite coffee shop, try to avoid adding cream or sweetener to your drink. 

How to Make Healthy Choices When Ordering Drinks at a Coffee Shop

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Coffee shops, especially famous coffee chains, can be very tempting when it comes to sugary drinks. If you are trying to be healthy, the best way is to make your drinks at home.

But, I know not everyone has the time to be making Americano or lattes at home. The good thing is, that you can still make healthy choices even if you are ordering drinks at your favorite coffee shop.

Avoid Flavored Syrups

Flavored syrups are high in sugar and those 2 to 3 pumps of vanilla syrup can give you that sugar spike. If you drink multiple cups of coffee with flavored syrups daily, it can eventually lead to weight gain and diabetes.

Get the Smallest Size Available

With coffee shops having so many cup sizes available, it’s easy to just get the largest size to get your money’s worth. But, the larger the size, the more ingredients there are.

If possible, order the smallest size, especially if you are keen on ordering sugary drinks. The larger sizes can have more pumps of flavored syrups and more sweeteners which also means they are higher in sugar and calories.

Even if you are ordering black coffee, Americano, or even herbal teas, try to get the smallest portion. As they say, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Use Milk Alternatives

I mentioned earlier that lattes and cappuccinos typically use whole milk. That can go for other coffee drinks as well. You can substitute whole milk for plant-based milk such as almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk.

You can also ask the barista to use oat milk, nonfat milk, or even skim milk if these are available options.

Related: What Type of Milk Your Favorite Coffee Shop Uses

Final Thoughts

Ordering drinks at your favorite coffee shops does not have to be discouraging if you are trying to be more health-conscious. There are low-calorie and sugar-free options such as black coffee and herbal teas.

The choices can be very limited but you don’t have to order these drinks right away. You can start slow by ordering a lighter version of your favorite drink. Skip the flavored syrup and use plant-based milk and see if that works for you. 

Just make sure to be mindful about the choices you make and don’t feel guilty if you crave an unhealthy drink. As long as you are making healthier food and drink choices, you can still have your favorite sugary drink once in a while!


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