There are so many hidden calories in fancy coffee drinks, especially the seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice Latte. I didn’t want to miss out on all the fall flavored fun or go broke enjoying it so I did some research along with trial and error to come up with the perfect pumpkin drink to order this autumn season.
I recently cut back on dairy in my diet because it was starting to affect my gut and skin, and truthfully it always had. I just ignored and denied the symptoms until they became worse, but that’s a story for another time.
This drink is the solution to participating in the pumpkin coffee craze, but without leaving you in a sugar coma or your pockets empty afterward.
I like to order in the Starbucks mobile app to avoid sounding like a diva when the barista asks for my order and to rack up stars (Starbucks’ reward points). Below I’ll tell you exactly what to order to cut back on calories without compromising taste, how to save a few bucks and why each ingredient plays a role in making this the healthiest and cheapest pumpkin drink for you to purchase.
WHAT TO ORDER
Tall or Grande Iced Coffee
No classic syrup
Add 2 pumps of pumpkin sauce
Add a splash of almondmilk
Total: $3.05 Tall, $3.55 Grande (Santa Barbara, California pricing)
WHY ORDER THIS DRINK
Iced coffee is one of the least expensive drinks at Starbucks which makes it the perfect drink to dress up and customize to your preferences. A grande iced coffee comes with 4 pumps of classic syrup. One pump of syrup has about 20-30 calories and 5-7.5 grams of sugar depending on the flavor. Yikes.
In order to make this drink have a fun fall flavor without drowning in sugar, I reduced the standard amount of pumps to 2. This cuts out 60 calories and 15 grams of sugar. Starbucks doesn’t have a pumpkin spice sugar-free syrup or sauce, and if they did I still wouldn’t recommend it. The calorie-free syrups contain artificial sweeteners that can cause weight gain, increase cravings, and taste a little (or a lot) off. So to me, it’s not worth it—just enjoy less of the syrup you choose.
To give the drink a creamy taste, add a splash of almond milk. Sometimes choosing a nondairy milk costs extra, but when you select “a splash” it’s free! Almond milk is one of the healthiest milk options at Starbucks because it is low in calories and dairy free.
Starbucks almond milk contains 7 grams of sugar and 130 calories per serving, which isn’t as good as some almond milks out there, but it still beats out their other milk options:
- Coconut milk: 17 grams of sugar, 180 calories per serving
- Soy milk: 27 grams of sugar, 270 calories per serving
- Nonfat milk: 26 grams of sugar, 180 calories per serving
- 2% milk: 25 grams of sugar, 260 calories per serving
- Whole milk: 25 grams of sugar, 320 calories per serving
Unfortunately, this pumpkin coffee isn’t diary free because the pumpkin sauce contains condensed milk, but it’s as close as it can be.
HOW TO SAVE
To get the most bang for your buck—at the ‘Bucks—order a refill for $0.50, or free if you’re a Starbucks Gold rewards member. Sometimes they’ll even remake your iced coffee drink for free or charge just $0.60 for the flavor shot. Either way, you can get an iced coffee or tea refill by staying in the store to finish your first drink. Who doesn’t want two coffees for the price of one one?!