• Fri, Dec 20 - 4:30 pm ET

The Number Of Calories In Starbucks’ Festive Wintry Drinks Made Me Wince

christmas starbucks

This mermaid is a menace.

Starbucks isn’t really my go to caffeine spot; I don’t love the lines, the atmosphere or what they do to coffee. For me, I just want coffee or espresso in a cup: no frills, no bells, no whistles, no chocolate drizzles or  mermaids or whipped cream toppings please. I don’t need to buy a CD of jazz renditions of classic rock songs or overpriced travel mugs. I don’t want to utter the words grande or venti– I’m more of a gimme the biggest cup you’ve got kind of broad. Despite how shady a coffee joint Starbucks is to me, people seem to love it– it’s hard to walk a block in New York without happening upon one of their gratuitously numerous locations.

There are reasons to dislike Starbucks other than their annoying and dystopian business practices. The fast-food of coffee, Starbucks is basically pumping customers bodies full of deceptively large amounts of saturated fat, sugar and calories. Their famous seasonal beverages come with especially shocking caloric prices. I looked up the nutritional values for their special wintry drinks and was somehow floored. It’s even worse than I imagined.

All of the following projected holiday beverages are 16oz (“grande”) and made with whole milk, but without the optional whipped cream. You can use the Starbucks website to calculate the nutritional values of your unique festive order.

Gingerbread Latte-

Starbucks describes this beverage as:

Is it possible to improve on tradition? We think so. This year the Gingerbread Latte you know and love has been made even better. We added cinnamon, cloves and ginger to the whipped cream, followed by a drizzle of sweet molasses. This spicy-sweet latte has holiday spirit written all over it.

Um, we say it has “calorie bomb” written all over it. The Gingerbread Latte will set you back 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, 30 mg of cholesterol and 37 grams of carbohydrate….that translates to 30% of your daily saturated fat. Maybe for a one time season treat, it’s okay, but this drink is straight up bad for you.

Eggnog Latte-

Described by Starbucks as:

Our Eggnog Latte has brought holiday cheer to fans since 1986. Rich espresso mingles with perfectly spiced eggnog and milk, and is finished with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

This one really is a doozy. It’s espresso with steamed eggnog and milk, but 16oz weighs in at 470 calories. My jaw dropped when I saw that. Don’t close your mouth because the eggnog latte also contains 65% of your daily saturated fat (22g of fat, 13g saturated) and 18% of your daily carbohydrates.

Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Blended Beverage-

Starbucks’ annoying description of this “blended beverage”:

Enjoy an icy blast of mint and chocolate with this fan favorite. We blend coffee with peppermint-flavored syrup, rich mocha sauce, milk and ice. Then we top it with sweetened whipped cream and curls of dark chocolate.

An icy blast indeed, of fat and sugar and calories. This blended drink contains 290 calories, but compared to the above drinks 10% of daily saturated fat doesn’t seem so bad. Yikes. As a Christmas treat, Starbucks offers a “light” alternative, which is only 170 calories.

Caramel Apple Spice-

Described in a J.Peterman catalogue-ish way as:

If you’re longing for the toasty warmth of a woolly blanket and crackling fire but don’t have the luxury of escaping to a cabin, we suggest a freshly steamed Caramel Apple Spice. Prepared from 100% pressed apple juice sweetened with cinnamon syrup, whipped cream and our own buttery caramel sauce, it strikes a soothing balance between sweet and tart that never fails to hit the spot.

This drink is in the kid’s section, which I think means it doesn’t even have the benefit of caffeine as a benefit. For 16 oz without whipped cream, this alleged children’s drink is 280 calories.It also contains 65 grams of sugar, but 0 grams of fat so, holly jolly, right?

Perhaps instead of lining up at Starbucks for these slurpable calories and fats, perhaps find healthier alternatives and save your calories for special holiday indulgences.

Images via Starbucks and Shutterstock

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  • DaisyJupes

    I love you.

    People are stupid about liquid calories. Orange juice is bad for you, but not compared to soda. It’s the amount of sugar minus the fiber (pulp only does so much) and all the health of the entire orange.

    My way for Starbucks (or other independent places, I’m from WA, so they are as numerous and WAAAYY better than Starbucks), is a 12 oz, soy (or nonfat), 2 shot, whatever with no whip cream, but whatever topping is supposed to go on the whipped cream that Starbucks will not put there if you don’t get whipped cream. 2 shots is what is supposed to be in a 12 oz, 3 in 16 oz ect, but it’s cheaper to trick people into one shot in a 12 oz. The ratio tastes better and gives you coffee, not milky coffee. Slightly less cost to a 16 oz with 2 shots, but same caffeine amount, better taste, and fewer calories. I consider it doing lattes smarter, especially when I cut down on extra sugar that day and not have that sweet I want. My flavored latte IS my sweet.

  • Fabel

    Reasons why I’ve started just sadly ordering a tall, skinny vanilla latte :( (100 calories)

  • elle

    And that why I stick with unsweetened green tea….and I 100% agree with @daisyjupes:disqus people are so stupid about liquid calories it isn’t even funny

  • rh

    Yeah, dude, it’s stupid bad for you. Not to mention the # of people I know who CONSTANTLY complain about finances, yet can’t seem to get by without their morning fix of Starbucks. You’d be better off (if you can’t completely kick the habit) saving up a bit and buying a damned Keurig machine or something.
    http://thehaircarepro.com/avocado-and-avocado-oil-for-hair/

  • Eileen

    So I’ve worked for Starbucks on the weekends throughout the three different regular jobs I’ve had since college, and I do have to say – most of the flavored stuff is disgustingly over-sweet. Plain coffee or tea, or unsweetened iced coffee or iced tea, is what most of the baristas I’ve known end up drinking in the end. Once you’ve seen what goes into a salted caramel mocha, it’s pretty damned hard to consume one.

    But on the plus side, Starbucks offers pretty sweet benefits (health/dental/vision, 401(k), stock options, stock grants, tuition reimbursement), even to part-timers, not to mention raises every six months, which is a lot better than many of the independent places.