How to save $547 per year (and lose 11 pounds) by changing your coffee order

If you drink a Grande Caffé Latte from Starbucks every day for a year you will have consumed 69,350 calories. Pretty gross, right? That’s the equivalent of 20 pounds of body fat. To add (wallet) insult to (waistline) injury, you also will have spent $1441.75, not including sales tax.

Am I about to tell you to stop drinking coffee? Goodness no, that would be inhuman (and probably impossible). Instead, consider a simple change to your coffee order that will save you 770 calories per week and $547 per year, while making your hot beverage even more decadent.

First, let’s see what you’re getting in a Grande Latte: Two shots (2oz) of espresso with ~12 ounces of steamed 2% milk with their standard recipe. This has 190 calories, 7g fat, 19g carbs including 18g sugar, 13g protein, and costs $3.95 at my local Starbucks.

Doesn’t it seem weird to wake up every morning and drink a cup and a half of milk? Would you do this if it didn’t contain caffeine? Perhaps you think it’s different if you use soy or almond milk, but would you wake up and drink a cup and a half of either of those? Probably not.

So what can we do to fix this? Let’s consider the Americano. Invented during World War II, when American G.I.s in Italy would dilute espresso with hot water to simulate black coffee, the Americano has all the caffeine that you need to get through your day, but only a tiny amount of calories that come from the brewed espresso.

Americano vs. Latte

I admit, switching from a creamy latte to a black americano is too much of a jump for mere mortals. Fortunately, there is a compromise. Starbucks will add whipped cream to any drink for free. So my proposal to you is this: switch from a Grande Latte to a Grande 2-shot Americano topped with whipped cream. That doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?

A Grande Americano normally contains 3 shots, so you’ll have to request two from the barista to maintain the same level of caffeination, and of course you’ll have to request the whipped cream topping. All together this has 80 calories, 7g fat, 3g carbs including 1g sugar, 1g protein, and costs $2.45 at the Starbucks down the street from me. If you spring for 3 shots for extra caffeine the price is a still-reasonable $2.95.

As soon as the drink is delivered, simply stir the whipped cream into the Americano to create a delicious, creamy faux-latte that saves you $1.50 and 110 calories every day. Added up over the course of a year not only will you save the $547 mentioned earlier, but you will consume 40,150 fewer calories, which translates into a loss of 11 pounds of body fat (or at least avoiding gaining 11 pounds), all while enjoying a drink that’s even more decadent than what you used to order.

It’s amazing what simple changes with a little creativity can do for you.