What’s in a tall skinny vanilla latte?

A tall skinny vanilla latte is a popular coffee drink ordered at coffee shops like Starbucks. As the name suggests, it is a tall size (16 oz) latte made with nonfat or low fat milk and flavored with vanilla syrup. But what exactly goes into making this delicious and creamy coffee drink? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and nutritional information of a tall skinny vanilla latte.



A tall skinny vanilla latte starts with a shot or two of espresso. Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee made by forcing steam through finely ground coffee beans. This results in a thick, rich, and strong coffee base for the latte. A single shot of espresso contains around 75 mg of caffeine. Some coffee shops will use a double shot of espresso for a 16 oz drink.

Steamed Nonfat or Lowfat Milk

After the shots of espresso, steamed nonfat or lowfat milk is added to the cup. Steaming the milk aerates it, giving the finished latte a light, foamy texture. Nonfat or lowfat milk is used to keep the calorie and fat content lower. Whole milk can also be requested, but this will increase the fat and calorie content.

Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla syrup is what gives the tall skinny vanilla latte its signature sweet vanilla flavor. The vanilla syrup is sugary and flavored with real vanilla bean extract or vanilla flavors. About 2-4 pumps or teaspoons of vanilla syrup are used for a tall size latte. The amount can be customized based on taste preferences.


The espresso, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup are all combined together and then poured over ice in a tall cup. The ice helps chill the hot latte for immediate drinking. It also helps maintain the frothy texture by preventing the foam from dissipating too quickly.

Nutrition Facts

The nutrition facts for a tall 16 oz skinny vanilla latte can vary depending on the exact ingredients and quantities used. However, on average a tall skinny vanilla latte contains:

Calories 100-150
Total Fat 0-2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0-1.5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5-10 mg
Sodium 100-150 mg
Carbohydrates 9-15 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugars 9-15 g
Protein 10-15 g
Caffeine 150-225 mg

As you can see, the drink is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium compared to whole milk versions. It also contains a good amount of protein from the nonfat milk. However, the carb and sugar content is quite high, mostly coming from the vanilla syrup. And the caffeine content is what you would expect from a coffee drink containing 1-2 shots of espresso.


The price of a tall skinny vanilla latte can range from $3.65 to $5.75 depending on the coffee shop. On average expect to pay:

  • Starbucks: $4.75
  • Peet’s Coffee: $4.85
  • Caribou Coffee: $4.69
  • Dunkin Donuts: $3.99
  • Local coffee shops: $3.50 – $5.00

The cost reflects the labor required to prepare the espresso shots and steamed milk as well as the ingredient costs. Many coffee shops also allow you to customize your drink with an extra shot of espresso, different milk options, and different flavor syrups for an additional charge.


While the traditional tall skinny vanilla latte is made with nonfat or lowfat milk and vanilla syrup, there are many possible variations and customizations, including:

  • Using whole milk or half & half for a richer taste
  • Adding extra shots of espresso for a stronger coffee kick
  • Using sugar-free vanilla syrup to reduce sugar
  • Flavored with different syrups like caramel, hazelnut, or pumpkin spice
  • Topping with whipped cream and spices like cinnamon
  • Making it iced or frozen instead of hot

So don’t be afraid to customize your latte to your liking! The standard skinny vanilla latte is just a starting point for a wide array of delicious coffee drink possibilities.

Health Benefits

Some of the potential health benefits of drinking a tall skinny vanilla latte in moderation include:

  • Boost of energy and focus from the coffee and caffeine
  • Antioxidants from the coffee
  • Protein, calcium, vitamin D from the milk
  • Lower calories and fat than whole milk versions
  • Hydration from the fluid

However, there are also some potential downsides to consider if you drink them in excess:

  • High sugar content from vanilla syrup
  • Caffeine causing jitteriness or sleep issues for some
  • Milk causing digestive issues for lactose intolerant individuals
  • Added cost compared to brewed coffee

So enjoying the occasional tall skinny vanilla latte can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but moderation is key. It shouldn’t replace regular water intake or healthy whole foods.

Taste Profile

So what does a tall skinny vanilla latte actually taste like? Here is a quick breakdown of the flavor profile:

  • Appearance: Frothy, milky foam on top. Light caramel color.
  • Aroma: Sweet vanilla scent mingles with espresso roast.
  • Flavor: Rich espresso blends with sweet vanilla and steamed milk. Well-balanced bittersweet taste.
  • Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and frothy. Lighter bodied than whole milk versions.
  • Finish: Lingering vanilla sweetness on the palate after the sip.

The vanilla syrup adds a touch of sweetness to the bitter espresso, while the steamed nonfat milk lends a creamy, frothy texture. Overall an indulgent but not overly sweet coffee drink.

How to Order at Starbucks

Here are some tips for ordering a tall skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks:

  • Request a “tall skinny vanilla latte”
  • Specify hot or iced
  • Choose nonfat or lowfat milk
  • Ask for desired number of shots if you want more than standard
  • Request any additional flavorings or toppings
  • Specify hot or iced
  • Say “no whip” if you don’t want whipped cream
  • Order and pay at the register, then wait for your drink at the pickup counter

Some other phrases you can use include “single tall skinny vanilla latte” or “grande skinny vanilla latte with an extra shot.” The baristas will understand what you mean. You can also customize the syrup, milk, and toppings to your liking.

How to Make at Home

Want to save some money by making skinny vanilla lattes at home? Here is a simple recipe and method:


  • 2 shots espresso or strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 cup nonfat or lowfat milk
  • 2-3 tsp vanilla syrup
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew espresso or strong coffee. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Steam or froth milk using a steamer wand or milk frother.
  3. Add vanilla syrup to bottom of a tall glass.
  4. Add ice cubes to fill glass halfway.
  5. Pour milk over ice.
  6. Finally pour espresso or coffee over milk.
  7. Top with whipped cream or cinnamon if desired.

Tips for best results:

  • Use freshly ground beans for optimal espresso flavor
  • Steam milk until foamy and watch temperature
  • Pour espresso gently over back of spoon to preserve foam
  • Use best quality vanilla syrup

With some practice, you can make cafe-quality skinny vanilla lattes at home for a fraction of the price! Adjust recipe as needed to suit your taste preferences.

Pre-Bottled and Instant Options

Too busy to make homemade lattes every morning? There are some convenient pre-made and instant options to still enjoy the flavor of a skinny vanilla latte:

  • Starbucks Bottled Frappuccinos: Try the skinny vanilla latte flavor for an on-the-go option. Contains coffee, milk, and sweetener.
  • International Delight Iced Coffee: The skinny vanilla latte flavor is made with real milk and coffee and just 60 calories per serving.
  • Starbucks Via Instant Packets: Add hot water and nonfat milk to the vanilla latte flavor for an instant homemade latte.
  • Skinny Syrups: Add vanilla or other flavored skinny syrups to brewed coffee or espresso.

While not exactly the same as a fresh latte from a coffee shop, these convenient alternatives can satisfy a skinny vanilla latte craving in a pinch!

Storing Leftovers

Have some leftover latte you didn’t finish drinking? Here are some tips for storage:

  • Transfer to a sealed airtight container like a mason jar.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • The vanilla syrup may cause the milk to curdle slightly over time.
  • Give it a good stir or quick blend to re-emulsify before drinking.
  • Add ice cubes again before drinking to re-chill.
  • Drink cold or reheat for 30 seconds if you prefer a hot latte.

The vanilla syrup is a natural preservative allowing the lattes to keep for a few days. But always use your senses – if it smells or tastes sour, it’s best to discard. Enjoy your leftovers within a couple days for the freshest taste.


So in summary, the ingredients in a tall 16 oz skinny vanilla latte typically include:

– 1-2 shots espresso
– Nonfat or lowfat steamed milk
– Vanilla flavored syrup
– Ice

This makes for a delicious creamy coffee drink that is lower in calories and fat than whole milk versions. The caffeine gives you an energizing lift while the sweet vanilla flavor provides indulgence. It strikes a perfect balance as a satisfying yet lighter coffeehouse treat.

Understanding exactly what goes into your favorite coffee shop drink helps you better customize and enjoy it. So next time you order a tall skinny vanilla latte, you’ll know the components that make up this sweet creamycaffeinated treat!

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