What Type of Cream Your Favorite Coffee Shop Uses

what type of cream coffee shop

This guide delves into the array of coffee creamers used by the most patronized coffee establishments in the U.S.A. While not every coffee enthusiast opts for cream in their brew, those who do understand that the kind and caliber of the creamer have a substantial impact on the flavor.

Because each coffee shop has a distinct creamer and flavor to offer, each cup of coffee caters to a specific group of people. Options allow everyone to decide what they like and is how so many different cafes and restaurants build such a strong and loyal following. Read on to learn about the type of coffee creamers that are used in a few of the places most widely known and praised for their coffee.

Below we will cover the type of creamers used at:

  • Starbucks
  • Tim Hortons
  • McDonald's
  • Dunkin
  • Dutch Bros

Another article of mine you'll find helpful: What Type of Milk Your Favorite Coffee Shop Uses

First, let’s clarify the difference between the three creamers you’ll find at a coffee shop.


What are the Different Types of Coffee Creamers?

Half and Half vs Light Cream vs Heavy Cream

Fat content: Heavy cream contains at least 36% milk fat, while light cream contains between 18% and 30% milk fat. This means that heavy cream is much richer and thicker than light cream.

Thickness: Heavy cream is much thicker and has a more fluffy texture than light cream, which is more fluid and pourable.

Whipping: Heavy cream can be whipped into stiff peaks, which makes it ideal for making whipped cream, while light cream cannot be whipped in the same way.

Calorie content: Due to its higher fat content, heavy cream is more calorie-dense than light cream. Therefore, if you are watching your calorie intake, it may be better to use light cream in your coffee.

To summarise:

Light cream, also known as coffee cream or table cream, has a lower fat content than heavy cream, which makes it a good option for those who prefer a lighter taste and texture in their coffee. It is also easier to mix into coffee without separating.

On the other hand, heavy cream has a higher fat content and a thicker texture, which makes it a good choice for those who prefer a creamier and richer taste in their coffee. However, heavy cream can be more difficult to mix into coffee without separating or clumping, and it is also higher in calories.

Ultimately, it comes down to your own personal taste and dietary preferences. If you are looking for a lighter option, then light cream may be the better choice for you. However, if you prefer a richer and creamier taste, then heavy cream may be a better option.


What Type of Cream Does Starbucks Use?

There are several different kinds of creamers that are used in various Starbucks drinks on the menu. Their main creamers include half and half, heavy cream, and whipped cream topping. Starbucks creams are sourced locally so the brand used will differ by location.

If you want heavy whipping cream used in your drink at Starbucks, rather than requesting “heavy cream” which the barista may interpret as “extra half and half cream”, request it with “heavy whipping cream.”

Half and half can be requested in a Starbucks drink by using the term “breve.”

Starbucks whipped cream is made with 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream per 8 pumps of vanilla syrup.

To make drinks that include sweet cream, Starbucks uses a mixture that includes heavy whipping cream, vanilla simple syrup, and 2% milk. If your favorite Starbucks drink has a thick, sweet layer of cream on top that tastes like vanilla, it is likely this kind of creamer used.

You can’t find Starbucks creamer online, but you can find an equally tasty low-sugar cinnamon sugar creamer on Amazon here.

Starbucks also has a coffee creamer with its own brand name that is produced in partnership with Nestle. It is available at store locations such as Walmart, Target, Safeway, Publix, and Kroger.

Starbucks fans -> Learn how to speak the Starbucks coffee ordering language in my article: How to Order at Starbucks: The Guide to Starbucks Lingo here.


What Type of Cream Does Tim Hortons Use?

Tim Hortons uses an 18% milk fat creamer. The brand of creamer will vary depending on the Tim Hortons location since supply is acquired locally.

In the U.S., 18% milk fat creamer is also known as light cream, however in Canada “light cream” actually refers to a 5-6% fat cream. For reference, a whipping cream contains 30-36% milk fat, and half and half between 10.5%-18%.

You can’t buy Tim Horton’s creamer online, but you can purchase bags of their French vanilla, medium roast, and dark roast coffee on Amazon here.


What Type of Cream Does Mcdonalds Use?

There are two different creams that Mcdonald’s uses: half and half cream and light cream. There is no heavy cream option available at Mcdonald's

Mcdonald’s does not have any pre-flavored creamer but adds flavoring syrups to their creamers by hand. A machine portions the creamer into the cup, and the employee then adds in the flavoring syrup for flavor options such as vanilla, sugar-free vanilla, caramel, chocolate, hazelnut, liquid sugar, or chocolate caramel.

The ingredients listed in McDonald’s creamer include Skim Milk, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Polyphosphate, Datem, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Citrate, and Carrageenan.

Every serving of Mcdonald's creamer is 20 calories with 1.5g of saturated fat. Full nutritional information about the creamer’s contents is listed below. The table shows the content breakdown for a single serving of McDonald’s coffee creamer, which is approximately 0.4 fl oz, or 11 milliliters.

McDonalds Coffee Creamer


I couldn't find any information on where to buy this creamer outside of a Mcdonalds store, so to get this coffee creamer for personal use a person would be required to order extra while at McDonald’s.


What Type of Cream does Dunkin Use?

Dunkin uses an 18% milk-fat heavy cream that is a favorite of many coffee drinkers. Dunkin creamer is so popular in fact, that I already wrote an entire article about it. You can read the article, What Type of Cream Does Dunkin Donuts Use here.


What Type of Cream Does Dutch Bros Use?

Dutch Bros uses a Dutch Bros-branded half-and-half creamer in their coffee. This creamer is likely rebranded Darigold brand half and half. They do not have heavy cream available, but they do have chocolate milk, whole milk, 2% milk, and nonfat milk as well as some non dairy milk options.

This article was written by Josh, the founder and owner of angryespresso.com. You can learn more about Josh on our About the Team page.



1 thought on “What Type of Cream Your Favorite Coffee Shop Uses”

  1. You don’t have to buy Tim hortons creamer online. Most grocery stores have 18% cream available. Usually it’s a pink carton. It’s how I make my home coffee taste exactly like timmies or McDonald’s coffee.

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