Is caramel macchiato high in calories?

Quick Answer

A caramel macchiato can be high in calories, depending on the size and customizations. A grande (16 oz) Starbucks caramel macchiato made with 2% milk and no customizations contains 250 calories. However, customizations like whipped cream, extra syrup, and whole milk can add over 100 additional calories. Overall, caramel macchiatos are high in calories compared to plain coffee.

What is a Caramel Macchiato?

A caramel macchiato is an espresso-based coffee drink made with steamed milk and vanilla-flavored syrup, marked by a cross-hatching of caramel sauce on top. “Macchiato” means “marked” or “stained” in Italian, referring to the caramel stripes.

Caramel macchiatos contain three main ingredients:

  • Espresso – A small amount of concentrated coffee brewed by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee beans.
  • Foamed milk – Steamed milk with a foamy, frothy texture.
  • Vanilla syrup – A sweet vanilla-flavored syrup added to the espresso and milk.

The caramel sauce is drizzled on top and creates the signature stripes through the foam. Caramel macchiatos have a sweet, creamy, espresso-forward taste and a lighter body compared to other coffee drinks.

Calories in a Caramel Macchiato

The number of calories in a caramel macchiato depends on the size and specific ingredients used:


Size Calories*
Short (8 oz) 120
Tall (12 oz) 150
Grande (16 oz) 250
Venti (20 oz) 320

*Based on a Starbucks caramel macchiato made with 2% milk and no customizations.

As shown, the calories increase as the serving size increases. A short caramel macchiato from Starbucks contains around 120 calories, while a large venti packs 320 calories.


The type of milk used also impacts the calorie count:

Milk Calories per 8 oz
Nonfat milk 80
1% milk 100
2% milk 120
Whole milk 150

Whole milk contains more fat and calories than nonfat or low-fat milk. Choosing a nonfat milk base can reduce the calories by around 50-70 calories per 8 ounce serving compared to 2% or whole milk.


Additional toppings and ingredients can also add calories:

  • Whipped cream: 50 calories per 2 tablespoons
  • Caramel drizzle: 60 calories per 2 tablespoons
  • Extra vanilla syrup: 20 calories per pump

For example, asking for an extra 2 pumps of vanilla syrup and whipped cream can tack on an additional 100 calories or more. Sticking with the standard recipe helps keep the calorie count in check.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for a grande (16 oz) Starbucks caramel macchiato made with 2% milk and no customizations:

Starbucks Grande (16 oz) Caramel Macchiato Nutrition Facts

Calories 250
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 25 mg
Sodium 150 mg
Total Carbohydrates 33 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 33 g
Protein 11 g

As you can see, the caramel macchiato is high in calories and sugar, providing 33 grams of sugar, or about 25% of the recommended daily value. It also contains 8 grams of fat, 5 grams coming from unhealthy saturated fats.

On the plus side, it packs a solid 11 grams of protein from the milk. But overall, the caramel macchiato is low in nutrients and can quickly lead to excess calories and sugar without providing much nutritional value.

Caramel Macchiato vs Coffee

Compared to plain drip coffee, the caramel macchiato is significantly higher in calories:

Beverage (16 oz serving) Calories
Starbucks Grande Caramel Macchiato 250
Black Coffee 5
Coffee with 2% Milk and Sugar 90

Black coffee only contains around 5 calories per 16 ounce serving, while coffee with 2% milk and a bit of sugar has about 90 calories. The caramel macchiato packs over 2.5 times more calories than a typical coffee with milk and sugar.

The extra calories come from the large amounts of added sugar and fat via the vanilla-flavored syrup, caramel drizzle, and steamed whole milk.

Tips for a Lower Calorie Caramel Macchiato

Here are some tips to order a caramel macchiato with fewer calories:

  • Choose a small size (tall 12 oz or short 8 oz).
  • Request nonfat or 1% milk.
  • Skip the whipped cream topping.
  • Ask for less vanilla syrup and caramel drizzle.
  • Substitute a few pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup.
  • Ask for an extra shot of espresso and less milk.

Implementing some of these tweaks can save you 100 calories or more per drink while still allowing you to enjoy the classic flavors.

Healthier Caramel Macchiato Alternatives

If you love the taste of a caramel macchiato but want a lighter option, consider these low-calorie alternatives:

Skinny Caramel Macchiato

Order a skinny caramel macchiato made with nonfat milk, sugar-free vanilla, and no whipped cream. This can cut the calories down to 100 or less for a grande.

Caramel latte

Substitute the milk with a non-dairy option like almond or oat milk and use less syrup. Ask for it served it in a tall glass to get a similar look.

DIY iced caramel coffee

Brew coffee over ice, add in a splash of 1% milk and sugar-free caramel syrup for a simple lower calorie option. Adjust amounts to taste.

Cappuccino with caramel drizzle

Order a cappuccino with nonfat milk and ask for just a light drizzle of caramel sauce on top. This gives you the caramel taste without overdoing it on the calories.

The Bottom Line

A caramel macchiato can definitely be high in calories, packing over 250 calories in a 16 oz serving before any extra customizations. The combination of whole milk, added sugars, and caramel sauce drives up the calorie and sugar content. Sticking with a small size, nonfat milk, and light caramel drizzle is your best bet if watching your calorie intake. But overall, a caramel macchiato is viewed as more of an indulgent, sugary coffee drink rather than a daily healthy choice.

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