Is French vanilla coffee high in calories?

French vanilla coffee has become an increasingly popular coffee drink in recent years. Its sweet, aromatic flavor makes it an appealing choice for many coffee lovers. But with its additions of vanilla, sugar, and often cream, some may wonder if French vanilla coffee is high in calories.

What is French Vanilla Coffee?

French vanilla coffee is coffee that has been flavored with vanilla and sweetened with sugar or vanilla syrup. It can be prepared in several ways:

  • Adding french vanilla flavored coffee beans or ground coffee to brewed black coffee
  • Brewing coffee with french vanilla syrup or extract added
  • Adding french vanilla powdered creamer to black coffee
  • Using french vanilla flavored liquid coffee creamer instead of regular creamer

French vanilla coffee often contains added sugar or vanilla syrup to enhance the sweet vanilla flavor. It may also be topped with steamed milk, cream, whipped cream, or vanilla powder. The result is a hot coffee drink with a smooth, rich vanilla flavor and aroma.

Calories in French Vanilla Coffee

The number of calories in French vanilla coffee can vary considerably depending on how it is prepared. Here is the calorie breakdown for some typical preparations:

Black Coffee with Vanilla Syrup

– 8 oz black coffee: 2 calories
– 1 tbsp vanilla syrup: 52 calories

Total: 54 calories

Adding a tablespoon of vanilla syrup to black coffee only increases the calories by about 50.

Coffee with Vanilla Creamer

– 8 oz black coffee: 2 calories
– 1 tbsp French vanilla liquid creamer: 20 calories

Total: 22 calories

Using a tablespoon of French vanilla flavored liquid creamer adds about 20 calories to black coffee.

Coffee with Vanilla Powdered Creamer

– 8 oz black coffee: 2 calories
– 1 tbsp French vanilla powdered creamer: 25 calories

Total: 27 calories

Powdered French vanilla creamers are slightly higher in calories than liquid creamers, at around 25 calories per tablespoon.

Coffee with Steamed Milk and Vanilla Syrup

– 8 oz black coffee: 2 calories
– 1 tbsp vanilla syrup: 52 calories
– 4 oz steamed 2% milk: 61 calories

Total: 115 calories

Adding steamed milk and vanilla syrup to coffee results in a higher calorie drink. The milk contributes significant calories.

Blended French Vanilla Latte

– 8 oz black coffee: 2 calories
– 1 tbsp vanilla syrup: 52 calories
– 4 oz steamed 2% milk: 61 calories
– Ice and blending: negligible calories

Total: 115 calories

Blended French vanilla lattes contain the same calories as a latte with steamed milk and vanilla syrup. The blending process doesn’t change the calorie count.

Factors that Increase Calories

Certain additions can significantly increase the calories in a French vanilla coffee drink:

  • Whipped cream – Just 2 tbsp of whipped cream can add about 50 calories.
  • Full fat milk – Using whole milk instead of 2% or nonfat milk adds more calories from fat.
  • Additional flavorings – Caramel, mocha, or other flavored syrups add extra calories.
  • Large sizes – Larger coffee sizes (16 oz vs 8 oz) have more calories proportional to their size.
  • Extra creamer – Adding more than 1-2 tbsp of creamer increases calorie counts.

Low Calorie French Vanilla Coffee Options

There are several ways to enjoy the taste of French vanilla coffee while minimizing calories:

  • Brew coffee at home and use small amounts of vanilla creamer or milk
  • Order a small size (8-12 oz) at coffee shops
  • Choose sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Use stevia or other zero-calorie sweeteners
  • Opt for skim or low-fat milk
  • Skip the whipped cream topping
  • Avoid additional flavor syrups like caramel and mocha

Making these simple adjustments can easily reduce the calories in a French vanilla coffee by 50% or more.

The Healthiest Way to Drink French Vanilla Coffee

The healthiest way to enjoy French vanilla coffee is to:

– Brew plain black coffee at home
– Add 1 tbsp of vanilla coffee creamer or milk
– Sweeten with a small amount of vanilla and sugar-free sweetener like stevia
– Skip any whipped cream or extra syrups

This results in a lightly sweetened coffee with the delicious aroma of vanilla and just a touch of creaminess. With minimal additions, the calorie count can be kept to under 50 calories for an 8 oz cup.

Nutritional Profile of French Vanilla Coffee

Here is the nutritional profile of an 8 oz French vanilla coffee made at home using 1 tbsp vanilla creamer and a teaspoon of sugar:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 35
Total Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 15 mg
Total Carbs 5 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 1 g

As you can see, even sweetened French vanilla coffee is low in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium when made at home with minimal additions. The small amount of sugar and creamer add just enough sweetness and richness to complement the coffee.

Is French Vanilla Coffee Fattening?

French vanilla coffee does not have to be fattening or unhealthy. When excessive amounts of full fat milk, cream, sugar, and syrups are added, the calories and fat content increase substantially. This can lead to unwanted weight gain over time.

However, enjoyed in moderation with light additions, French vanilla coffee can be part of a balanced diet. The coffee itself is very low in calories, and a tablespoon or two of vanilla creamer and sweetener adds less than 50 calories. As long as you avoid oversized portions loaded with sugary extras, French vanilla coffee can be a delicious lower calorie treat.

Health Benefits of French Vanilla Coffee

There are some potential health benefits associated with French vanilla coffee:

  • Antioxidants – Coffee naturally contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols that can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
  • Enhanced mood – The caffeine in coffee provides a mild stimulant effect that can temporarily improve alertness and mood.
  • Lower diabetes risk – Some research shows that coffee drinkers may have up to a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Liver protection – Coffee consumption has been linked with reduced risk of cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases.

However, adding excessive amounts of cream, sugar, and flavorings can counteract some of these benefits. Drinking black coffee or coffee with minimal additions is best for maximizing health benefits.

Potential Downsides of French Vanilla Coffee

There are a few potential downsides to consider with French vanilla coffee:

  • High in sugar – Premade French vanilla coffee beverages from coffee shops and convenience stores can be very high in added sugars.
  • May cause anxiety – The caffeine in coffee may exacerbate anxiety or nervousness in some individuals.
  • Acidic – Coffee has an acidic pH which can aggravate heartburn or GERD symptoms in some people.
  • Trouble sleeping – Drinking coffee too late in the day can disrupt sleep cycles due to the effects of caffeine.

Drinking coffee moderately, avoiding added sugars, and limiting consumption late in the day can help reduce these risks. Those with anxiety issues or acid reflux may want to limit coffee intake as well.

Tips for Enjoying Lower Calorie French Vanilla Coffee

Here are some useful tips for keeping the calories of your French vanilla coffee in check:

  • Brew plain coffee at home and add your own vanilla creamer or milk.
  • Choose small or medium sizes instead of large or extra large.
  • Opt for sugar-free vanilla syrups to flavor your coffee.
  • Use primarily skim or low-fat milk.
  • Limit high calorie additions like whipped cream.
  • Sweeten moderately with vanilla extract and low calorie sweetener.
  • Ask for light cream and sugar when ordering out.
  • Share your French vanilla coffee with a friend.
  • Savor your coffee slowly instead of drinking it quickly.

With some simple adjustments, you can easily control calories while still enjoying the delicious vanilla flavor.

Common Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about French vanilla coffee:

Is French vanilla coffee keto friendly?

French vanilla coffee can be keto friendly if you avoid sugary creamers and syrups and use low carb additions like unsweetened vanilla almond milk or heavy cream. Stevia is a good keto-friendly sweetener option.

Is there a big difference between French and regular vanilla?

French vanilla tends to have a richer, more custard-like vanilla flavor compared to regular vanilla. It often contains egg yolks for added richness. The vanilla taste is smoother and more aromatic in French vanilla.

What is better French or vanilla?

This comes down to personal preference. Those who enjoy bold coffee may prefer the richness of French vanilla. People who like a more delicate flavor may enjoy regular vanilla.French vanilla also tends to be sweeter due to added sugars and cream.

Is French Vanilla sweeter than regular vanilla?

Yes, French vanilla coffee is typically sweeter than regular vanilla coffee, since it often contains added sugar or vanilla syrups to enhance the vanilla flavor. However, you can control the sweetness level by carefully choosing your ingredients.


French vanilla coffee can be a delicious, lower calorie treat when care is taken to minimize high calorie additions like full fat cream and whipped cream. Sticking to small sizes and making it at home allows you to control the amount of sugar and flavor. Focus on enhancing the smooth vanilla aroma without overdoing the extras. Savor your French vanilla coffee mindfully and enjoy it as an occasional indulgence without guilt.

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