Can you get a sugar free Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many coffee shops and chains offering their own unique cold brew options. One of the most popular cold brew drinks is the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks. This sweet and creamy cold brew combines Starbucks’ smooth cold brew coffee with vanilla syrup and vanilla sweet cream cold foam on top.

What is the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew?

The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard menu item at Starbucks consisting of:

  • Starbucks cold brew coffee
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Vanilla sweet cream cold foam

The coffee base is Starbucks’ signature Cold Brew coffee. This is made by steeping ground coffee in cool or room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12-20 hours. This long steeping time results in a smooth, rich, and flavorful coffee concentrate.

To make it a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, vanilla syrup is added to the cold brew concentrate. The amount can be customized based on your preference for sweetness. Then, the drink is finished off with a float of vanilla sweet cream cold foam on top.

What is the nutritional information?

The nutritional information for a grande (16 oz) Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is:

  • Calories: 200
  • Total Fat: 10g
    • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Sodium: 15mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 30g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0g
    • Sugars: 30g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Calcium: 10% DV
  • Vitamin D: 6% DV

As you can see, the major sources of calories in the drink come from fat and carbohydrates. The fat is coming entirely from saturated fat in the sweet cream foam topping. The carbohydrates and sugars are coming primarily from the vanilla syrup used to sweeten the cold brew.

Can you get it sugar free?

Yes, you can customize a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew to be sugar free by asking for the following modifications:

  • No vanilla syrup
  • Sugar free vanilla syrup instead of regular
  • Light sweet cream cold foam
  • No sweet cream cold foam

Getting it without the vanilla syrup or with sugar free vanilla syrup eliminates the 30g of sugar that comes from the regular vanilla syrup. Asking for light sweet cream foam reduces the amount of high fat sweet cream, and you can eliminate it altogether if you really want to cut calories and fat.

How many calories would a sugar free version have?

If you get a grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with no vanilla syrup and no sweet cream foam, it would have around:

  • Calories: 10
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 15mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0g
  • Protein: 1g

This comes from just the Starbucks Cold Brew coffee alone without any sweeteners, cream or milk added. A sugar free version with light cold foam would fall somewhere in the middle, with slightly higher fat, calories, and protein from the smaller amount of sweet cream foam.

What are some other lower calorie, lower sugar options?

Here are some other ways to order a cold brew from Starbucks with reduced sugar and calories:

  • Cold brew with a splash of milk, cream or dairy-free milk
  • Iced coffee with sugar free syrup instead of vanilla syrup
  • Cold brew with light sweet cream foam
  • Cold brew with sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup
  • Nitro Cold Brew with no sweetener
  • Cold Brew with heavy cream and sugar free flavoring syrup

The key is customizing your drink to skip the high-sugar vanilla syrup and going easy on the sweet cream foam or using a sugar free flavored syrup instead. Sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup or sugar free vanilla are popular options. Adding just a splash of cream or milk can give you the creaminess and sweetness you crave without overdoing the calories or sugar.

Should you avoid cold brew if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic?

Cold brew coffee on its own has minimal effects on blood sugar levels. However, cold brew drinks loaded with syrups, sweeteners and toppings can be high in carbohydrates, which could spike blood sugar levels.

People with diabetes or pre-diabetes need to monitor their carbohydrate intake closely throughout the day to manage blood sugar. While the occasional indulgence in a sweetened coffee drink is unlikely to be harmful, make it a habit and the extra carbohydrates and calories could lead to blood sugar control problems.

Some tips for enjoying cold brew if you have diabetes or are at risk:

  • Stick to unsweetened cold brew or lightly sweetened with sugar free syrup
  • Ask for light sweet cream foam or skip it altogether
  • Avoid having a high carb coffee drink and a carb-heavy breakfast or snack at the same time
  • Balance your coffee drink with a protein like eggs or nuts to help control blood sugar response
  • Enjoy your higher carb drink after a workout when your body can better tolerate the carbs
  • Test your blood sugar after drinking a sweetened cold brew to see how your body responds

Overall, enjoy coffee in moderation as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Be mindful of added sugars and carbohydrates, and opt for sugar free versions or small amounts of regular sweeteners.

Does the caffeine affect blood sugar levels?

The caffeine in coffee actually has minimal effect on your blood sugar levels. Some early research suggested that caffeine might impair insulin sensitivity and increase blood glucose levels. However, more recent studies have not found evidence that caffeine negatively impacts blood sugar control for most people.

In fact, some research suggests caffeine may slightly improve insulin sensitivity in healthy people and those with type 2 diabetes. The mechanisms are not fully understood, but effects may include:

  • Increasing insulin release in response to elevated blood glucose
  • Enhancing glucose uptake into cells
  • Altering release of stress hormones that impact glucose metabolism

That being said, the carbohydrate content of added syrups and sugars far outweighs any blood sugar effects from the caffeine itself. So an artificially sweetened coffee drink is still going to have a greater effect on blood glucose than a black coffee.

Additionally, people vary in how caffeine affects them individually. Those who are very sensitive to caffeine may experience greater fluctuations in blood sugar in response to coffee or cold brew.

Can you order a keto friendly cold brew?

Yes, you can request a keto-friendly cold brew from Starbucks by avoiding syrups and added sugars and choosing low carb additions like heavy cream:

  • Cold brew with 2-4 shots of heavy cream
  • Cold brew with sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup and heavy cream
  • Iced coffee with sugar free vanilla and heavy cream
  • Cold brew with 1-2 pumps sugar free vanilla and a splash of heavy cream
  • Nitro cold brew with sugar free vanilla or cinnamon dolce syrup
  • Cold brew with a splash of almond milk or coconut milk

Heavy whipping cream contains only trace carbs, so it can be added liberally to coffee to make a keto friendly drink. Sugar free syrups like vanilla and cinnamon dolce provide sweetness without carbs or minimal carbs. Almond milk and coconut milk are also great low carb dairy-free options.

Just avoid any regular syrups or sweeteners with sugar as well as milk that contains lactose, which is a sugar. Asking for no sweet cream foam is also a good idea to avoid those extra carbs and calories.

Is sweet cream keto friendly?

Starbucks sweet cream is not keto friendly and should be avoided or minimized if following a keto diet. The sweet cream contains:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Vanilla syrup
  • 2% milk

Heavy cream is very low carb and can be part of a keto diet. However, the vanilla syrup contains sugar, adding unnecessary carbs. The 2% milk also has around 12g carbs per cup, so just a splash of sweet cream foam can contain a few grams of carbs that quickly add up.

Some options if you still want sweet cream flavor on keto:

  • Ask for cold foam made with heavy cream only instead of sweet cream
  • Ask for a very light amount of sweet cream foam
  • Add your own sugar free vanilla syrup or extract to heavy cream foam

Going for heavy whipping cream foam without the sweet cream ingredients can satisfy that craving for sweet, creamy foam with minimal carbs.

Does a cold brew have more caffeine than regular coffee?

Cold brew coffee actually contains significantly more caffeine than regular hot brewed coffee. While amounts vary, on average an 8 oz cup of cold brew can contain around 155mg of caffeine vs 95mg in regular hot coffee.

This is because the long, cold steeping process during cold brewing extracts more caffeine from the coffee beans. The prolonged contact time with water pulls out more of the components that give coffee its caffeine kick.

Also, because cold brew has a smooth, less bitter taste, you can use a higher coffee to water ratio. Using more ground coffee per ounce of water means you extract more caffeine from more beans.

However, the caffeine content can vary quite a bit depending on:

  • Coffee roast (dark vs light)
  • Steeping time
  • Coffee to water ratio
  • Type of beans

So while cold brew will generally have higher caffeine on average, caffeine levels still depend heavily on specific brewing methods.

Does cold brew actually have health benefits?

There is some early research suggesting that cold brew coffee may provide slightly more health benefits than regular hot coffee in certain areas. Potential benefits may include:

  • Higher antioxidant levels: Compounds called polyphenols with antioxidant properties may be higher in cold brew.
  • Lower acidity: Cold brewing reduces acids that can cause heartburn and stomach upset.
  • Less bitterness: Lower levels of bitterness make flavors easier to detect and enjoy.
  • Fewer blood pressure effects: Colder drinks don’t stiffen blood vessels as much as hot drinks.

However, more research is still needed to confirm some of these proposed benefits. Both cold brew and regular coffee offer a range of health benefits related to their caffeine and antioxidant content when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle.


The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks is a high calorie, high sugar drink. But you can easily customize it to be low sugar or sugar free by omitting the vanilla syrup and limiting the sweet cream foam. Keeping the added syrups and sugars minimal will provide you the same delicious cold brew flavor that’s friendly for diabetics, keto dieters, and anyone looking to cut back on sugar without sacrificing that coffeehouse treat.

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