Whether you’re counting calories or just want a lighter drink for your morning commute, Starbucks has you covered. There are actually quite a few menu items that fall under the "skinny" category as the chain’s default recipe — under 150 calories or so for a tall — and multiple drinks that, with a few little changes, like switching to skim milk and skipping the whipped cream, can have calories shaved off. Those alterations minimally change the taste of your drink or not at all; the biggest change you’d notice is a less creamy, not-as-thick mouthfeel.
Keep in mind that you may come across some limitations. A tall iced pumpkin spice latte alone is 270 calories, and it would be difficult to shave that number down to under 150 for pumpkin spice specifically since there’s no sugar-free flavoring. Thankfully, there are several other drinks that are sure to satisfy but are more calorie forgiving. Here are our top picks.
16. Caffé misto
This staple Starbucks menu item combines equal parts drip coffee and steamed milk. The default milk is 2% and a tall will cost you 80 calories, but asking for skim milk instead will chop off a nominal amount from that number. The great thing about the caffé misto is that it’s so low-calorie, that you could order a venti and still clock in under 150 calories.
The drink is a slight elevation from a brewed coffee with a splash of cream. It’s a more mild coffee flavor and there’s a thin cloud of milk froth on top that’s pleasant to sip on, and its texture is just slightly silkier than a coffee with cream. However, some coffee drinkers may find the textural difference in the steamed milk too minimal to pay for a caffé misto vs. a simple brewed coffee with milk. If you want to dress up the drink a little, ask for a couple of pumps of sugar-free vanilla or sugar-free cinnamon dulce syrup.
15. Espresso con panna
If you love espresso — and we mean really, really love espresso — then you’ll love the espresso con panna at Starbucks. The name translates to espresso with cream and that’s exactly what you get: espresso (a doppio shot is the default but you can choose one, two, three, or four shots) topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The caloric change is minute across the solo, doppio, triple, and quad shots, only increasing by about five calories for each shot added. For a triple shot espresso con panna, you’ll only have to budget for 40 calories in your daily intake.
However, since there is only whipped cream to take the edge off the espresso, this drink is definitely not for everyone. Espresso lovers without a sweet tooth will find the cream to be more than enough, but most others may want to add a packet or two of their favorite sugar-free, no-calorie sweetener. Blonde roast espresso would also be slightly sweeter. We recommend drinking an espresso con panna quickly before the cream fully dissipates; this way you’ll have the textural contrast between the smooth espresso and airy whipped cream, and the cream will also taste sweeter in comparison to the intense coffee.
14. Iced matcha latte with almondmilk
Considering matcha’s green color and "health food" reputation, the 140 calories in a tall iced matcha tea latte may seem high. However, the vast majority of those calories are almost certainly coming from the default 2% milk used in the recipe, since 2% milk has over 120 calories per cup alone (via WebMD).
This is good news because it means you can sub out your favorite alternative milk and knock off a considerable amount of calories from your overall intake. Almondmilk will be your most calorically forgiving at around 8 calories per fluid ounce, according to Latte Calories, but we think that soy milk (16 calories per ounce, per the source) tastes the best with matcha out of all alternative milks. Starbucks’ matcha lattes already have a slight, earthy, hay-like sweetness to them, but you can vamp up the flavor with a pump or two of sugar-free vanilla syrup.
13. Vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew
The best way to get a rich, velvety-smooth cold coffee is, in our opinion, to go with a nitro cold brew. Starbucks offers multiple options, including the vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew. It happens to be only 70 calories for a tall or a grande, though you wouldn’t suspect it considering it’s smooth and creamy with a moderately strong vanilla taste.
This is a drink that can’t really be modified in any way to take more calories off (the vanilla sweet cream which tops the cold brew is premade by baristas so it can’t be made with sugar-free vanilla. Instead, you could order a regular nitro cold brew and add pumps of sugar-free vanilla to your liking, as well the milk or cream of your choice — just a splash would have minimal caloric counts even if you chose whole milk or half and half.
12. Chai tea
Starbucks’ chai tea is very different from the chai tea latte. The latte is made with a very sweet concentrated syrup, and clocks in at 190 calories and 32 grams of sugar for a tall. The chai tea, on the other hand, contains no calories at all. The brewed tea is fragrant and bold, offering all the same notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom that chai latte lovers are used to.
What’s missing, though — and these are considerably big parts of what makes a chai latte enjoyable — is the creamy steamed milk and dessert-like taste. If you want to get as close to replicating that as possible while staying under 150 calories, try ordering this: a Teavana chai tea latte with skim milk and sugar-free vanilla (in essence a London Fog with chai instead of Earl Grey). Add more pumps of vanilla for more sweetness. It won’t be quite as silky and rich as an actual chai latte, but it’ll get you in the neighborhood.
11. Iced black tea lemonade
An Arnold Palmer is a summertime classic that invokes images of afternoons spent poolside. They’re not just the anthem beverage of the warm months, though; any combination of brewed iced tea and lemonade, like Starbucks’ iced black tea lemonade, offers a minimal-calorie way to stay refreshed all through the afternoon. This is one of few beverages to be offered in an extra-large trenta size, which is 30 fluid ounces. This size only clocks in at 90 calories, while the 24-ounce venti is 70, grande is 50, and tall is 35.
Black tea is naturally calorie-free, so these calories are from the lemonade and sweetener. You can ask for less lemonade if you want to shave off as many calories as possible without opting for plain black iced tea, although we think the lemonade and the black tea were perfectly balanced and you can get a zero-calorie sweet tea by just asking for some stevia instead.
10. Strawberry Acai Refresher
If you love all things fruity and sweet, the Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher was made for you. It’s a sweet, very-very-strawberry-forward drink topped with cute little freeze-dried strawberries akin to drinking Jolly Ranchers. The base of this drink is made with sugar, water, white grape juice concentrate, stevia, green coffee extract, and natural fruit and vegetable flavors. It contains just 130 calories in a 24-ounce venti, 90 calories in a grande, and 80 in a tall.
If you’re worried about getting a low-calorie drink that tastes bitter or flavorless, that’s not a concern with this Starbucks Refresher. The stevia makes the beverage very sweet, about 100 times sweeter than even sugar would have made it, WebMD says. It’s light and refreshing — and pretty to look at, too. If you want to cut some of the sugary taste in this one, try the Pink Drink (which is the same drink made with coconutmilk instead of water) or the Strawberry Acai Lemonade Refresher instead.
9. Honey almondmilk flat white
The honey almondmilk flat white is a permanent Starbucks menu fixture that combines blonde espresso with honey and almondmilk. This is a great coffee to get if you want something that feels almost like a latte but is not as heavy and on the low to moderate sweetness level. A tall honey almondmilk FW will only run you 120 calories. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to whittle down the calorie count on this one; Starbucks’ honey blend is not available in a sugar-free version, and almondmilk already has fewer calories per serving than skim milk (90 calories per cup in skim milk, says the USDA, while Starbucks’ almondmilk is only 60, according to SELF).
Regarding the drink’s taste, you’ll definitely notice the lack of sugariness in the flat white if you are used to, for example, caramel macchiatos or Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes. But the honey is pleasantly sweet and, combined with the almondmilk, tastes like almond baklava, so you don’t have to skip your dessert coffee after all.
8. Mango Dragonfruit Refresher
The vibrant, gem-like color screams summertime, but you can enjoy this sunny beverage all year long at participating locations. The Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit Refresher is only 70 calories for a large and 130 for a venti, so it can quench your thirst all day long without racking up calorie points. This refresher is made from the brand’s mango dragonfruit base, which is mostly sugar and grape juice concentrate, as well as natural flavors and stevia.
The refresher tastes very strongly of dragonfruit, and we were disappointed to not get much mango taste at all, except slightly in the aftertaste — that flavor seems entirely overshadowed by the dragonfruit and vague berry-ness of the drink overall — but this drink is still sweet and refreshing, and has a small caffeine kick from its green coffee extract. With 35 milligrams of caffeine in a tall, it’s just enough to get the motor going without sending you into caffeine overdrive.
7. Iced skinny London Fog with sugar-free vanilla
If the refreshers taste like summer, we think the Starbucks Iced London Fog tastes like spring. By default, a tall iced London Fog is made with 2% milk, vanilla syrup, and one Earl Grey tea bag. With this standard recipe the drink’s 100 calories won’t cost you much, but you can cut that down even further by asking for skim milk and sugar-free vanilla.
Iced London Fogs are pleasantly mild, tasting slightly fruity — just like, in our opinion, milk after a bowl of Fruit Loops. It may be too bland to some, but a simple classic to others — and the simple recipe ensures an iced London Fog early grey latte is hassle-free to make at home. It’s just sweet enough to be easily palatable without overbearing, and low enough in caffeination to enjoy at any time of day. If you can’t use dairy milk, using an alternative milk would alter the gentle flavor of the tea significantly, but it’ll still be enjoyable if you must make the switch.
6. Iced Green Tea Lemonade
Sometimes simple and easy is the best way to go, and that is definitely how we would describe Starbucks’ Iced green Tea Lemonade. It’s an incredibly low-calorie drink that brings only 90 calories in a 30-ounce trenta — 70 in a venti, 50 in a grande, and 30 in a tall. The green tea itself is calorie-free, so those numbers are entirely from the lemonade. With its low calorie levels, the green tea lemonade should be easy to incorporate into daily diets, but remove the lemonade and ask for stevia sweetener if you really need a zero-calorie beverage.
The Iced Green Tea Lemonade is light and refreshing, with an invigorating balance of tart citrus and floral tea flavors. There is a very slight coolness from the mint in Starbucks’ green tea blend, and the flowery overtones come from the lemon verbena. The green tea might taste on the verge of overpowered to some, so if you prefer a stronger tea taste over sugary juice, ask your barista to scale back on the lemonade.
5. Toasted vanilla oatmilk shaken espresso
The Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is one of a couple of shaken espresso recipes Starbucks offers for the calorically mindful. Coming in at just 100 calories for a tall or 140 calories for a grande, this drink is made with blonde espresso, toasted vanilla syrup, and oatmilk. The toasted vanilla syrup does not come in sugar free, sadly, so you’ll have to ask for sugar-free vanilla instead if you really, really want to take off even more calories — although you’ll lose that campfire marshmallow, caramelized sugar taste of the toasted vanilla syrup.
The warm vanilla is complimented by a slight cinnamon aftertaste, which you can amplify by asking for a shot of sugar-free cinnamon dulce. The espresso is not quite as prevalent as in the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, so this one may be the preferred option for those who prefer to taste more flavoring and less coffee. And where replacing oatmilk with almondmilk in the brown sugar version of the shaken espresso may downgrade the taste some, we actually recommend trying almondmilk with this recipe over the default oatmilk. The combination creates a wonderful taste that is reminiscent of French vanilla.
4. Espresso Frappuccino with almondmilk
Sometimes you’re just craving the smooth sweetness of a blended coffee, but find yourself woefully barricaded from options by your nutritional plans. Frappuccinos tend to be higher in calories in general, so maybe you’re just looking for a blended drink to put in rotation when you want a lighter, but still tasty, start to your day. The Starbucks Espresso Frappuccino is only 140 calories for a tall in its default recipe, but we used almondmilk to shave off a few more calories — which could give you room for a pump or two of your favorite flavor instead.
Even with choosing an alternate milk, we ended up with a drink that was sweet and flavorful. For some, the almond taste is enough, but we think this beverage would be fantastic with a pump of mocha sauce, though, of course, that would add to your calorie count. Be sure to skip the whip if you’re feeling extra conservative with your calories for the day.
3. Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade
With a beautiful rosy color like this, a drink just has to be good. The Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade will be a calorie-counter’s best friend; you can even enjoy a trenta (30 fluid ounce) size for just 90 calories (a venti is 70, grande 50, and a tall just 35 calories). The brand’s Passion Tango Tea is fruity and floral with notes of apple, citrus, and hibiscus. Combined with lemonade, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart.
If you want a drink with fewer calories or the sweet and sour citrus addition causes too much of a pucker for your palate, opt for the Iced Passion Tango Tea without the lemonade. The drink will be noticeably unsweetened, but you can add a freshly-squeezed wedge of lemon at home for a milder lemon flavor, or skip the lemon altogether and let the tea’s natural lemongrass undertones shine through.
2. Brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso
You may be surprised to find the Starbucks iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso on this list, but it turns out a grande is only 120 calories. This drink is made by combining blonde espresso with brown sugar syrup, cinnamon powder, oatmilk, and ice — there’s no sugar-free alternatives to the brown sugar syrup, unfortunately, but you can switch the oatmilk to almondmilk if even 120 calories from a grande is too much. Ordering a shaken espresso with sugar free cinnamon dulce syrup and oatmilk will also give you a product in the ballpark of this flavor with a few calories shaved off the top.
However, as-is, we think the Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is one of the best low-calories items on Starbucks’ menu. The heaven-sent combination of oat, brown sugar, and cinnamon tastes like the crumbly streusel topping on fresh-baked apple crisp. The espresso flavor is bold and present, cutting the sweetness of the drink back to a moderate level. There’s not much better than this for just 120 calories.
1. Pink Drink
Ah, the beloved Pink Drink. Everyone knows and loves this one. It’s Starbucks fans’ worst kept secret — a secret menu item that gained so much popularity in 2017 that the brand gave it a permanent menu spot (via Fluent in Coffee). The Pink Drink is simply a Strawberry Acai Refresher made with coconutmilk instead of water, resulting in this beautifully bubblegum-colored drink topped with slices of freeze-dried strawberry.
If the regular Strawberry Acai Refresher is reminiscent of a Jolly Rancher, we agree with the popular opinion that the sweet, strawberry flavor of the Pink Drink — which will give you only 140 calories in a grande and 110 in a tall — tastes like a pink Starburst. The coconutmilk gives this refresher a fabulous creaminess that makes it feel like the Pink Drink really should have more calories than this (we’ll take 110, though). There’s no alteration room in this recipe without changing it from being a Pink Drink completely, so you’ll have to be content with its caloric content as-is.