Is Starbucks Matcha green tea Frappuccino healthy?

The Starbucks Matcha green tea Frappuccino has become an increasingly popular drink option, but many people wonder just how healthy it really is. As a highly sweetened and caloric blended beverage, the Matcha Frappuccino may not be the healthiest choice on the Starbucks menu. However, matcha green tea powder does provide some potential health benefits. By examining the ingredients and nutrition information of the Matcha Frappuccino, we can get a better idea of the pros and cons of drinking this sweet treat.

What is matcha?

Matcha is a type of green tea made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that are shade grown and ground into a fine powder. Traditional matcha preparation involves whisking the powder with hot water to make a frothy, bright green tea. Some potential health benefits associated with matcha include:

  • Antioxidants – Matcha is high in catechins, a type of antioxidant that may help fight cell damage.
  • Caffeine – Matcha contains caffeine, which can boost alertness, mood, and exercise performance when consumed in moderation.
  • L-theanine – This amino acid in matcha may promote relaxation and calm focus.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Matcha contains small amounts of potassium, vitamin C, selenium, chromium, and zinc.

However, keep in mind that research on matcha and its health effects is still emerging. Drinking matcha may provide antioxidants and other benefits, but it is not a cure-all. The FDA has not approved matcha to treat any health conditions.

Starbucks Matcha Frappuccino ingredients

The Starbucks Matcha green tea Crème Frappuccino is made with:

  • Milk: The frappuccino base contains milk, cream, and a milk protein concentrate.
  • Sugar: Added sugar like sucrose and glucose are used to sweeten the drink.
  • Matcha green tea powder: Typically 1-2 scoops or teaspoons per serving.
  • Ice: The drink is blended with ice to create its signature frosty texture.
  • Stabilizers and emulsifiers: Ingredients like guar gum and xanthan gum help blend the ingredients and stabilize the foam.
  • Natural and artificial flavors: Flavorings like coconut and ginger are sometimes added.
  • Whipped cream: Sweetened whipped cream tops off the frappuccino.

The ingredients can vary slightly based on the seasonal offerings. Products like the Matcha Lemonade Starbucks Drink contain lemonade and citrus flavors in addition to matcha. Overall, while matcha powder adds an element of green tea, the Starbucks Matcha Frappuccinos are blended, creamy drinks containing substantial amounts of added sugars.

Nutrition information

The nutrition information for a 16 oz Matcha Crème Frappuccino made with whole milk and whipped cream is:

  • Calories: 380
  • Total fat: 15g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 55mg
  • Sodium: 180mg
  • Total carbs: 59g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 59g
  • Added sugars: 44g
  • Protein: 9g

As you can see, the Matcha Frappuccino is high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat due to the milk, cream, whipped cream, and added sweeteners. There are 59 grams of total sugars in one drink, accounting for nearly 15 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men, so this one beverage already exceeds that amount.

Potential modifications

There are a few ways you can modify the Matcha Frappuccino to make it healthier:

  • Request lower fat milk options like nonfat milk or almond milk.
  • Skip the whipped cream topping to remove fat and calories.
  • Ask for fewer pumps of the sweetener or no sweetener to reduce added sugars.
  • Opt for a smaller size like Tall (12 oz) rather than Venti (24 oz).

Keep in mind that while these tweaks can make modest improvements, the drink will still be high in sugar and low in fiber and nutrients. However, enjoying the occasional Matcha Frappuccino in a smaller size with healthy modifications can be part of an overall balanced diet.

Health pros and cons

Here is a summary of some potential pros and cons to drinking a Starbucks Matcha Frappuccino:

Potential pros

  • Provides antioxidants from matcha
  • Contains some caffeine for alertness
  • Creamy, frosty texture can be satisfying

Potential cons

  • High in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium
  • Minimal fiber and protein
  • Added sugars and calories can contribute to weight gain
  • Large size delivers excess calories, carbs, and fat
  • Contains artificial flavors and stabilizers

Overall, the Matcha Frappuccino is more of an occasional treat than a health drink due to its high sugar and calorie content. While it does provide some antioxidants from matcha powder, the other ingredients outweigh the potential benefits. There are far healthier ways to enjoy real matcha green tea, such as traditional matcha tea or matcha lattes made with milk and minimal sweeteners.

Comparison to other Starbucks Frappuccinos

How does the Matcha Frappuccino nutrition stack up against other popular Starbucks Frappuccino flavors?

Frappuccino (16 oz with whipped cream) Calories Total fat (g) Sugars (g)
Matcha green tea Crème 380 15 59
Caffe Vanilla 370 16 55
Caramel 470 19 64
Mocha 420 18 51
Coffee 280 11 38
Strawberry 360 13 69

While calories, fat, and sugar content varies across flavors, all Starbucks Frappuccinos are high in added sugars. The Coffee Frappuccino provides the lowest amount at 38 grams of sugar, while the Caramel, Strawberry, and Matcha versions top 60 grams. For comparison, a 12 oz can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of added sugar.

Healthier Starbucks drink options

If you are looking for healthier options at Starbucks, here are some lower calorie, lower sugar beverages to consider:

  • Cold brew coffee or iced coffee
  • Regular hot coffee
  • Tea – Plain, unsweetened tea like green tea, black tea, white tea
  • Skinny lattes – Made with nonfat milk and sugar-free syrup
  • Americanos
  • Cold brew with a splash of milk, cream, or sweetener

Choosing smaller sizes, minimizing extra syrups and sweeteners, and opting for lower fat dairy or plant-based milk can all help reduce the calorie count of coffeehouse beverages. For the lowest sugar options, go for unsweetened coffee, tea, cold brew, and Americanos.


The Starbucks Matcha green tea Crème Frappuccino provides antioxidants from matcha but is high in added sugars and low in fiber. While it contains beneficial matcha powder, the high amount of fat, carbohydrates, and calories outweigh the potential health advantages. Modifications like choosing nonfat milk and skipping whipped cream can help lower the calorie density. However, there are many lighter, healthier beverage options at Starbucks for those looking for lower sugar drinks.

Enjoying the occasional indulgent Matcha Frappuccino can be fine as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. But making it a daily habit may contribute excess sugars and calories which could impact weight management and metabolic health over time. Sipping plain matcha tea, cold brew coffee, and unsweetened coffeehouse beverages are better options for health-conscious consumers wanting the Starbucks experience without all the added sugars.

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