Is espresso more calories than coffee?

Espresso and coffee are both popular caffeinated beverages, but they’re prepared differently and have some key nutritional differences. When it comes to calories, espresso generally contains fewer calories per serving compared to regular coffee. However, the calorie content can vary based on specific factors like serving size, additions like milk or sugar, and preparation method.

What is espresso?

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that is brewed by forcing pressurized hot water through very finely ground coffee beans. It has a bold, rich flavor and higher concentration of dissolved solids than regular coffee.

Some key things to know about espresso:

  • Made from finely ground coffee beans
  • Brewed under pressure (typically 9 bars of pressure)
  • Concentrated form of coffee
  • Served in small 1-2 ounce “shots”
  • Has a thick, foamy top layer called crema

What is regular coffee?

Regular coffee, also known as brewed coffee or filter coffee, is made by steeping ground coffee beans in hot water. It’s less concentrated than espresso and has different flavor characteristics.

Some key things about regular coffee:

  • Made from coarsely ground coffee beans
  • Brewed by simply pouring hot water over the grounds
  • Typically served in larger 6-12 ounce portions
  • Has a lighter, less intense flavor compared to espresso

Calorie content of espresso vs. coffee

On its own, espresso generally contains fewer calories than a typical cup of drip coffee. Here’s a comparison of their calorie contents:

Beverage Serving Size Calories
Espresso Single 1 oz shot 3 calories
Coffee 8 oz 2 calories

As you can see, a single 1 ounce shot of espresso contains around 3 calories while an 8 ounce cup of brewed coffee contains just 2 calories. So despite having a more intense, concentrated flavor, espresso itself is lower in calories.

Why espresso has fewer calories

There are a few reasons why espresso contains fewer calories per serving than regular coffee:

  • Smaller serving size – Shots of espresso are typically just 1-2 ounces whereas coffee is served in larger 6-12 oz portions.
  • Higher concentration – Espresso has a higher concentration of coffee solids dissolved per ounce of water.
  • Less added water – To extract the flavor, espresso relies on pressure rather than added water.

The small shot size and concentration of coffee flavor in espresso means you get intensely bold coffee taste in a low calorie serving. Coffee is less concentrated so it takes a larger portion size to achieve a similar strength.

Calories with milk and sugar

While plain espresso and coffee are very low in calories, what you add to them can significantly increase the calorie content.

Some examples of calorie amounts with additions:

Beverage Additions Calories
Espresso 1 oz espresso + 1 oz steamed milk 22 calories
Coffee 8 oz coffee + 2 tbsp half and half 69 calories
Espresso 1 oz espresso + 1 tbsp sugar + 2 oz steamed milk 67 calories
Coffee 8 oz coffee + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tbsp cream 48 calories

When milk, cream, sugar or other ingredients are added, the calorie content goes up for both beverages. A milk-based drink like a cappuccino or latte will have more calories than black coffee or espresso. The amount of milks, creamers and sweeteners added make a big difference.

Tips for lowering calories

If you want to enjoy your coffee or espresso while keeping calories in check, here are some tips:

  • Stick to small/single shots of espresso
  • Choose skim or low-fat milk
  • Use just a splash of creamer
  • Avoid high-calorie coffeehouse drinks
  • Sweeten with artificial sweeteners
  • Skip the extra syrups and toppings

Choosing your additions wisely or keeping them minimal will allow you to get the coffee flavor you crave without breaking the calorie bank.

Other factors that affect calories

Aside from additions, these other factors can also impact the calorie content of your coffee or espresso drink:

Serving size

The serving size greatly affects calories. A standard single espresso is just 1 oz while a typical coffee is 8 oz. Ordering a 16 oz latte will have more calories than a 4 oz cappuccino.

Espresso drinks with more milk

Some espresso drinks like lattes contain more steamed milk than drinks like macchiatos. More milk means more calories.

Sweetened vs. unsweetened

Sweetened coffee drinks prepared at coffee shops have added sugar from flavored syrups. These can significantly boost calories compared to getting your drink unsweetened.

Blended drinks

Blended espresso drinks like frappuccinos contain ice, sugary syrups, and ingredients like milk, whipped cream or chocolate. They tend to be much higher in calories than a typical brewed coffee or espresso.

Preparation method

How both coffee and espresso are prepared can impact their nutrition profiles. For example, coffee prepared by a French press retains more of the oils from coffee beans than filtered drip coffee. Types of coffee beans, roast level, and brewing time also influence the caffeine and antioxidant content.

Nutritional benefits

Despite having some differences in their calorie content, both coffee and espresso can provide benefits when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Potential health benefits:

  • Increased energy and focus
  • Improved physical performance
  • Support heart and liver health
  • May help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and certain cancers
  • Rich source of antioxidants

The key is to stick to recommended intake guidelines – around 400 mg of caffeine per day or 3-5 cups of coffee for most healthy adults. Too much can cause side effects like anxiety, insomnia, and stomach upset.


Overall, espresso contains fewer calories than a typical cup of regular coffee depending on serving sizes – usually 3 calories per 1 oz espresso shot versus 2 calories per 8 oz of drip coffee. However, heavily modified espresso drinks can end up containing just as many or even more calories than a large coffee when you account for additions like milk, cream, sugar and flavorings.

To keep calories low, stick to simple black coffee or espresso with minimal additions. But don’t forget that both can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation as they provide many beneficial antioxidants and plant compounds.

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