Become a Low Carb Coffee Expert!
We could never give up our morning coffee, not forever anyway. Coffee has been shown to provide your body with tons of benefits as long as you keep it in moderation. If you find yourself stopping by your favorite coffee shop every morning, you may find those added grams of sugar adding up quickly. Here’s a sobering fact: a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Venti coffee has 18 TEASPOONS of sugar. Teaspoons, people. A third of all drinks tested by Action on Sugar contained more sugar than Coca Cola. There’s sugar hiding in your coffee and lots of it.
So what’s a new low carb-er to do? Well, you can always opt for making your coffee at home with real, un-artificially flavored coffee beans and lots of heavy cream. But if you wake up every morning looking forward to a hot cup of ready-made coffee at your coffee shop, there are ways you can help them make your coffee keto-friendly.
1. Choose Unflavored Coffee Beans
Go for the real coffee beans like arabica or robusta. These have their own natural flavors and subtleties that can be lost in artificially flavored coffee beans. You’ll soon start noticing flavors like nuts, chocolate, and even fruitiness. Experiment with different beans and soon you’ll find a blend that excites you!
2. Skip the Milk
Milk is not low carb! It contains a relatively large amount of sugar (lactose). Whole milk is the lesser of the evils, containing a relatively higher amount of fat than skim and the 1 & 2%s. What you’re looking for is heavy cream. Heavy cream is low carb, high fat. It’s the cream collected off the top of milk when it’s left to separate (what’s left is skim milk, a.k.a. pretty much water). Heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream or whipping cream) is gold in the keto community. It’s delicious and adds a richness to your coffee that you won’t get from anything else. Ask for a splash of heavy cream in your coffee instead of milk or creamer. Anywhere from 1-4 tablespoons will do it. Careful, though, heavy cream is high in fat, so it’s high in calories. Make sure you don’t overdo it at 50 calories per tablespoon.
Try to make sure the barista is using heavy cream and not just half&half – which is half milk and half heavy cream. Better than using milk, but not as good as heavy cream.
3. Consider Sugar-Free Syrups
We’re not huge fans of putting sweetness in our coffee. We love the flavor that natural coffee takes on with the texture of heavy cream. But we understand new low carb-ers need to ease into this way of eating. If that means replacing their sugary drinks with sugar-free options to lessen the blow, then so be it. If you love your sweet fix in the morning, consider using sugar-free syrups that many coffee shops offer. Brands like Torani and Da Vinci’s can be found across the country and have lots of sugar-free flavors. Ask your barista to use a sugar-free syrup in your coffee. Most common sugar-free syrups are vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut. Some even have sugar free white chocolate and cinnamon dolce!
If your coffee shop doesn’t have syrups or you don’t use them, you can also opt for sugar-free substitutes like erythritol or stevia. Popular brands like Truvia, Pyure and Swerve, make great sugar substitutes and even come in handy, portable packets! If you can, avoid Splenda and Sweet&Low – they contain ingredients like sucralose, aspartame and dextrose (none of which are low carb friendly and can raise blood sugar as much as regular sugar itself).
4. Avoid “Pre-Made” Drinks & Their Ingredients
Generally, if you order a pre-made drink like a White Chocolate Mocha Frappucino, you’re getting a coffee mix base that comes delivered to the coffee shop in a box and cannot be replaced. Even if you ask for a sugar-free version, they will give you sugar-free syrup, but the base itself still has loads of sugar in it. Be wary of “sauces,” like caramel and chocolate, that get drizzled on top, those are not sugar-free. Even the whipped cream is sweetened – so watch out for that.
5. Stick to These Brews
Here are a couple of golden standards we find to be a pretty safe bet across most coffee shops:
- Americano with heavy cream – an American is simply your standard black cup of coffee. It’s a shot of espresso watered down with water to create a cup of black coffee. Add your desired amount of heavy cream and you’ve got your best option out there. Low in carbs and high in fat! You can choose this drink in hot or iced – it’s delicious either way.
- Cold Brew with heavy cream – if your coffee shop sells cold brew coffee, you’re in luck! Cold brew coffee is, many times, less bitter than regular drip coffee, which will lessen the need for sweetness. Try a cup and see for yourself!
- Coconut or Almond Milk Latte – if you love your lattes, try them with unsweetened coconut or almond milk. These milks are lower in sugar than the dairy milk usually used in lattes and will still give you that rich mouth-feel. You can also ask your barista to make a latte using half water, half cream – some will make a killer latte that way!
6. Be Your Own Barista!
The best choice of all is to do it yourself. You don’t need a fancy machine to make a delicious cup of coffee. If you’ve got a coffee machine or a Keurig, that’s awesome! But a simple choice can either be a moka pot, Turkish coffee pot or our personal favorite – a French press. Brew your coffee your favorite way and grab that heavy cream! You can purchase your own sugar-free syrups in loads of flavors for pretty cheap. Add in cinnamon, vanilla extract or cocoa powder to get really creative. Here are our favorite coffee brews we make every day: