A Starbucks grande (16 oz) Caramel Macchiato contains 250 calories. The calorie count comes from the combination of espresso, steamed milk, vanilla-flavored syrup, and caramel drizzle that make up the drink.
What is in a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato?
A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato consists of the following ingredients:
- Steamed whole milk
- Vanilla-flavored syrup
- Caramel drizzle
The espresso provides the base coffee flavor. Whole milk is steamed and added to give the drink a light, frothy texture. Sweet vanilla syrup and gooey caramel drizzle are used to give it a sweet, indulgent taste.
Breakdown of Calories in a Grande Caramel Macchiato
The total calories come from the individual ingredients:
|2 shots espresso||10|
|12 oz steamed whole milk||150|
|0.5 oz vanilla syrup||60|
As you can see, the steamed whole milk contributes the most calories as milk contains natural sugars like lactose. The vanilla syrup also adds a significant amount of calories due to its high sugar content.
In addition to calories, a Starbucks grande Caramel Macchiato contains the following nutritional values:
|Total Fat||9 g|
|Saturated Fat||5 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||33 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g|
|Total Sugars||33 g|
As you can see, the Caramel Macchiato is high in calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugars. It provides some protein but no fiber. The high sugar content is from both the naturally occurring lactose in the milk and added syrups.
How Many Calories in Other Starbucks Macchiato Sizes?
Starbucks offers the Caramel Macchiato in smaller and larger sizes as well. Here is a comparison of the calorie content for each size:
|Tall (12 oz)||190|
|Grande (16 oz)||250|
|Venti (20 oz)||350|
As expected, the calorie count increases with the larger drink sizes. Ordering a tall will save you 60 calories compared to a grande. Choosing a venti piles on an extra 100 calories.
How to Order a Lower Calorie Caramel Macchiato
If you want to enjoy a Caramel Macchiato but limit calories, there are a few easy tweaks you can make:
- Order a tall size instead of a grande or venti
- Use nonfat milk instead of whole milk
- Ask for less vanilla and caramel syrup
- Request extra espresso shots for more flavor with minimal calories
- Ask for light caramel drizzle on top
With these customizations, you can likely shave off anywhere from 50-150 calories from your drink. You’ll still get the delicious flavors but make it more waistline-friendly.
Comparing to Other Drinks
A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato has a similar calorie count to other popular coffee-based beverages. Here’s how it stacks up against some other menu items:
|Drink||Calories (Grande 16 oz)|
|White Chocolate Mocha||360|
We can see that a Caramel Macchiato has more calories than a cappuccino, flat white, or latte due to the added syrups and toppings. However, it’s lower in calories than an indulgent mocha drink made with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Calorie Count for Skinny and Nonfat Versions
Starbucks also offers lower calorie “Skinny” versions of some of its drinks made with sugar-free syrups and nonfat milk. Here is the nutrition info for the Skinny and nonfat Caramel Macchiato options:
|Drink||Calories (Grande 16 oz)|
|Nonfat Caramel Macchiato||140|
|Skinny Caramel Macchiato||120|
Choosing the nonfat milk version cuts around 110 calories. Opting for the Skinny syrup as well saves an additional 20 calories. These are good options for substantially reducing the calorie count while still getting the flavors you crave.
Caramel Macchiato Calories Compared to Food
To put the 250 calories in a grande Caramel Macchiato into perspective, here’s how it compares to the calorie count of some common foods:
|1 slice of pepperoni pizza||285|
|1 glazed donut||190|
|Small order of french fries||230|
|1 chocolate chip cookie||130|
A grande Caramel Macchiato has a similar calorie count to 1 slice of pizza or a small fry. It has slightly more calories than a donut or cookie. So while it’s a high calorie beverage, it contains less than many common fast food menu items.
High Calorie and Sugar Content
Based on the nutritional information, we can conclude that a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is a high calorie, high sugar beverage. The grande 16 oz size surpasses 200 calories and 30g total sugars. For comparison, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 24g or 6 teaspoons per day for women and 36g or 9 teaspoons for men.
The high calorie and sugar amounts are why a Caramel Macchiato would not be considered a low calorie or healthy drink option. However, an occasional Caramel Macchiato can be incorporated into an overall balanced diet that accounts for the extra calories and sugar as a special treat. Those looking to make it a lower calorie choice can customize their order.
Should You Customize Your Caramel Macchiato Order?
Given the high calorie, fat, and sugar amounts, customizing your Caramel Macchiato order is recommended if you are trying to reduce your overall calorie or sugar intake. As we saw earlier, asking for nonfat milk, less syrup and drizzle, and more espresso are easy ways to remove calories while keeping the flavor.
However, if you only have an occasional Caramel Macchiato and have a healthy diet and exercise regimen otherwise, customization may not be necessary. The standard grande drink only accounts for around 10-15% of a 2000 calorie diet. So as an occasional treat, it can likely fit into your daily intake.
In the end, it’s a personal choice based on your dietary needs and preferences. Customizing can make it healthier, but the standard version can still be enjoyed in moderation by those who account for the calories and sugars as part of their regular diet.
Should Starbucks Offer a Low Calorie Caramel Macchiato?
Given the popularity of the Caramel Macchiato, some have called for Starbucks to add a lower calorie version to their permanent menu. This could look similar to their “Skinny” line but be branded as a “Lite” or “Low Calorie” Caramel Macchiato.
The advantages of offering a lower calorie pre-set version include:
- Appealing to health-conscious consumers looking to reduce sugar and calories
- Providing an option for customers who don’t want to customize
- Increasing accessibility of low calorie drinks
However, there are some downsides Starbucks would need to consider:
- Lower calorie version may compromise rich trademark flavor
- Adds complexity for baristas to make another menu item
- May undermine sales of customizations and full sugar version
Overall, a compelling case could be made to provide more low calorie choices on the menu to satisfy customer demand. But Starbucks also has to balance product quality and operational complexity. The current customization options provide flexibility for customers to modify to their preferences.
Should You Feel Guilty for Drinking It?
With its high calorie and sugar amounts, you may feel some guilt about indulging in a Caramel Macchiato. However, an occasional treat like this can be part of a balanced lifestyle. A few tips:
- Savour your drink and make it an experience to avoid overconsumption
- Stick to smaller sizes instead of supersizing
- Account for the calories by making adjustments elsewhere in your day
- Don’t make it an everyday habit
Everything in moderation is fine for most people. The Caramel Macchiato can be enjoyed guilt-free if you continue maintaining an overall healthy diet and activity level. Customizing your drink can also help mitigate calories to prevent feelings of guilt.
A Starbucks grande Caramel Macchiato contains 250 calories and high amounts of sugar. The high calorie count comes from the steamed whole milk, syrups, and drizzle that give it the signature sweet flavor. While an indulgent treat, customizing your order and consuming in moderation can allow you to enjoy it guilt-free.