Coffee chains review 2005

You could be taking away a lot more than you bargained for.
 
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  • Updated:28 May 2005
 

01 .Introduction

Coffee-chains

In brief

  • A coffee-to-go can provide a much needed caffeine fix. While a standard latte or cappuccino may be relatively harmless in the nutrition stakes, some coffee drinks, particularly the chilled, iced and frappé versions, provide a lot more kilojoules, fat and sugar than you might realise.
  • To save on kilojoules, fat and sugar you can customise your brew: switching to skim milk, choosing a smaller size and saying ‘no’ to whipped-cream toppings can all help. And think twice before buying a sweet treat to nibble on as well — it could double your indulgence in a few bites.
  • We tested the kilojoules, fat and sugar in a range of hot and chilled coffee drinks from coffee chains. Our table gives you the details.

See our lastest article on Ground coffee.

Please note: this information was current as of May 2005 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


It’s no great revelation that a chocolatey mocha drink or a coffee with flavoured syrup can be quite sugary. But it’s the chilled coffee drinks — particularly those that come topped with a luscious swirl of whipped cream — that are the real indulgence.

  • One regular-sized chilled drink can contain the equivalent of around 15 teaspoons of sugar — that’s more sugar than in a Mars bar or a can of Coke — or as much fat as in not one but two 50 g bags of chips.

While we wouldn’t recommend having one every day, you don’t have to deny yourself completely. Most chains are happy to accommodate individual drink requests, so you could limit the amount of kilojoules, fat and sugar you’re getting in these chilled drinks by:

  • Asking for your drink to be made with skim milk (if it’s not already)
  • Opting out of the whipped-cream toppings — this can save you around 10 grams of fat and 400 kilojoules
  • Choosing smaller rather than bigger-sized drinks

Supersize? Not a super idea

Some chains offer drinks in cups that hold 600 mL (it might be called 20 oz, or otherwise non-metrically it’s about a pint) or even more. At these larger sizes, a chilled coffee drink can deliver you as much as 80 grams (about 20 teaspoons) of sugar, and almost half the fat an average woman should be getting in a day. So if you’re watching your diet, opting for the smaller sizes will save you more than just money.

  • For example, buying a 480 mL (16 oz) cup of GLORIA JEANS Crème Brulée instead of the 720 mL (24 oz) cup on offer will give you savings of over 900 kilojoules, 10 grams of fat and 25 g of sugar. All the taste, but far less impact!

Coffee treats

It’s tempting to grab a muffin or a bikky when you’re getting a coffee-to-go, but consider the impact before you buy.

  • Croissants, while low in sugar, tend to be as high in fat as Danish pastries.
  • And most cake-like treats are by nature pretty sweet.
  • On top of a sugary coffee drink, you’d need to compensate with a considerable amount of exercise each day to burn off all the energy a snack like this provides (as an indication, jogging for half an hour uses up around 820 kilojoules). If you’re deskbound for a large part of the day, this can be difficult, so ‘treating’ yourself regularly could be a bad idea.

To see just how much fat, sugar and kilojoules these treats can add to your diet, check the table.

 
 

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Nutrition3
Chain / product1 (from lower to higher kilojoules, within categories) Serve size2 (mL) Kilojoules Kilojoules as % of average woman’s RDI* Fat (g) Fat as % of average woman’s RDI* Sugars (g) Sugars as % of average woman’s RDI*
Hot
Coffee, black
Latte, whole milk
360
360
11
750
0
9
0
10
0
14
0
13
0
12
McCAFÉ Vienna Coffee (A) 360 288 3 6 9 1 1
STARBUCKS Caramel Macchiato 360 864 10 9 13 23 22
BB’S ESPRESSO Dutch Coffee (A) 360 1044 12 17 24 13 12
MICHEL’S ESPRESSO Mocca (A) 360 1044 12 10 14 25 24
GLORIA JEANS Caramelatte 360 1080 13 10 14 31 30
HUDSONS Marble Mocha 360 1098 13 10 14 29 28
Chilled
STARBUCKS Coffee Frappuccino (B) 425 1445 17 12 17 47 45
HUDSONS IceStorm Coffee Flavour 480 1632 19 11 16 53 50
BB’S ESPRESSO Cappuccino Frost (A) 480 1656 19 15 22 58 55
McCAFÉ Iced Coffee (A) 480 1704 20 18 26 45 43
McCAFÉ Caramel Latte Frappe (A) 480 1728 20 12 17 58 55
BB’S ESPRESSO Mocha-Latte Frost (A) 425 1764 21 15 21 55 52
GLORIA JEANS Very Vanilla Chiller (A) 480 1776 21 22 32 40 38
GLORIA JEANS Crème Brulée (A) 480 1872 22 21 30 53 50
MICHEL’S ESPRESSO Hazelnut Chiller (A) 480 2184 26 27 39 34 32
MICHEL’S ESPRESSO White Lightning Chiller (A) 425 2231 26 33 47 33 31
HUDSONS Iced Coffee White Chocolate Flavour (A) 480 2256 27 27 39 58 55
JAMAICA BLUE Iced Mocha (A) 480 2280 27 20 29 67 64
Coffee extras4
Milk, skim (<0.2% fat)
30 45 1 0 0 2 2
Milk, reduced-fat (1–2% fat)
30 63 1 0 0 2 2
Milk, whole / standard (2–4% fat)
30 82 1 1 1 1 1
Cream, whipped for topping, unsweetened
25 g 400 5 10 14 1 1
Sugar (1 teaspoon)
4 g 67 1 0 0 4 4
Treats5
Friand, raspberry
84 g 1150 14 16 23 23 22
Banana bread
135 g 1400 16 6 9 30 29
Biscuit, choc chip
71 g 1500 17 17 24 20 19
Muffin, blueberry
142 g 1550 18 16 23 23 22
Scone, fruit
118 g 1600 19 9 13 15 14
Danish pastry, fruit and custard
144 g 1850 22 23 33 23 22
Croissant, plain
117 g 2000 23 28 40 6 6
Representative daily intake6
(average adult woman)
8500 100 70 100 105 100

 

Table notes

* RDI = Representative daily intake (see table note 6 for details).
(A) Topped with whipped cream as standard.
(B) Also available in a ‘light’ option, with less kilojoules and fat.

1 Chain / product
A range of interesting coffee drinks was chosen from the menus of seven national coffee chains and sent to the lab for nutrient analysis. It isn’t a comprehensive list of available drinks or a systematic brand comparison, just a representative sample of what’s on the market. If you want information on other drinks and food sold in coffee chains, try asking for it when you buy — some chains already have or are planning to have nutrition information available to customers on their websites and/or in stores on request.

2 Serve size
These are takeaway cup sizes.

  • Hot drinks: Most chains sell hot drinks in a range of sizes. We’ve provided nutrition information for the ‘medium’ 12 oz (approx. 360 mL) size only, as all chains sold this size.
  • Chilled drinks: Some chains only sell chilled drinks in one size (425 mL). For those that have a range of sizes, we’ve given nutrition information for the 16 oz (480 mL) drinks, the size closest to 425 mL.

3 Nutrition
The amount of kilojoules, fat and sugar in the table is based on laboratory analysis of composite samples of standard drinks as sold to us in January (rounded to the nearest whole number). Actual serving size and nutrient values may vary slightly.

4 Coffee extras
This nutrition information is for average portion sizes of generic coffee extras, as calculated by FoodWorks, a food composition software package.

5 Treats
This nutrition information is for average portion sizes of generic treats, again as calculated by FoodWorks. The figures should be used as a guide only, as recipes (and therefore the fat, sugar and kilojoules in them) may vary from store to store.

6 Representative daily intake
These figures are approximate, based on a woman aged 30–60, weighing approximately 65 kg and measuring roughly 165 cm in height. Use them as a guide if you want to work out whether you’re eating too much, too little or just right every day.

  • Energy: 8500 kJ — this is the recommended daily intake of kilojoules for the ‘average’ woman described above to maintain her current weight.
  • Fat: 70 g — this is the total amount of fat the average woman can consume per day and have a diet that doesn’t contain too much fat.
  • Sugars: 105 g — this is the maximum amount of all types of sugar the average woman should consume in a day.