If drinking coffee is part of your daily routine, you most likely have a go-to coffee drink you make or get at coffee shops. However, sometimes you want to try other coffee variations or customize your go-to coffee drink to modify its taste.
One of the best things you can do when customizing your favorite drink is to make it healthier than usual. Whether changing the type of milk or cutting down on the sweeteners, you always have the choice to alter its ingredients to your liking. Take the famous latte drink, for instance, which has an equally popular variation, the skinny latte.
So, what exactly is a skinny latte, and how does it differ from a regular latte?
What’s a Skinny Latte?
You may have encountered some customers ordering this drink in one of your Starbucks runs. A skinny latte is a low-calorie coffee made of espresso and steamed milk. It is called “skinny” because of its lower calorie content and the milk used, either skim or nonfat milk. People usually order this when tracking their calorie intake or simply wanting that caffeine kick without the guilt of having too many sweets and dairy. (Read What Is Soft Top Dutch Bros)
Skinny Latte vs. Regular Latte: What is their difference?
The difference between skinny and traditional lattes can confuse those who do not usually order lattes. Here we will try to differentiate them, so you’ll know which of these two variations suits your taste more:
What’s in a Regular Latte
Type of milk used: Whole milk
Lattes and other espresso-based drinks use whole milk as their default milk base. Among all options, whole milk is the easiest dairy to foam, which is needed in some coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos. For a dairy-free alternative, remember that oat milk works best for frothing, while soy milk doesn’t froth that well!
Calorie content: Around 110 calories with high-fat content
Compared to other milk options, whole milk has a full-fat content, so it’s easier to froth. So, if you’re conscious of calorie or fat intake, whole milk is not a suitable dairy option.
Espresso shots: One espresso shot
A regular latte usually consists of a single shot of espresso, 2/3 of steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothed milk. It is perfect for people who like a richer taste of coffee with just the right balance of milk and espresso.
Flavor notes: Rich and creamy
Since regular lattes have whole milk, which has full-fat content, this allows for excellent flavor for a drink. It has just the right sweetness and a rich profile that perfectly complements espresso.
Texture: Dense with a thin layer of foam
Regular lattes have a thin layer of frothed milk on top, around 1cm.
Sweetener: Sugary sweetener
By default, lattes don’t have sweeteners. They are made only to have a taste of milk and espresso. But if you want a sweetener for the classic latte, a regular sweetener is added to your drink.
What’s in a Skinny Latte
Type of milk used: Nonfat or skimmed milk
Skinny lattes usually use skim or low-fat or nonfat milk with significantly less fat than whole milk.
Calorie content: Around 77 calories with low-fat content
Unlike a regular latte, a skinny latte only has around 77 calories, making them perfect for those who want to cut their calorie intake. If you don’t like low-fat or nonfat milk, skim milk also works since it has had most of its fats removed but can still be frothed.
Espresso shots: Two espresso shots
Skinny lattes have a more pungent taste since it is made of two espresso shots or around 136mg of caffeine. If you like your coffee robust yet low in calories and fat, a skinny latte is perfect!
Flavor notes: Mild and aromatic
The strong coffee taste of double espresso shots matched with the low fat or skim milk makes a skinny latte mild with lots of aromas.
Texture: Thin with a thinner than a regular layer of foam
Skinny lattes only have a thinner foam layer since skim or nonfat milk does not foam well. They are also generally made to have less foam overall. (Learn How Much Does A Tablespoon Of Coffee Weigh)
Sweetener: Sugar-free sweetener
If you want your skinny latte to have a hint of sweetness, sugar-free sweeteners such as sugar-free syrup are often added to your drink, so you won’t be guilty of extremely sweet sugary sweeteners.
How to Make a Skinny Latte
Whether you’ve had a good skinny latte and want to recreate it at home or cut down on costs, you can easily make your skinny latte at home.
Here’s an easy recipe you can follow for that good cup of joe minus the guilt:
- 3/4 cup (0.18 l) of low-fat milk or skim milk
- Two espresso shots made of Robusta beans
- Prepare your espresso shots through your espresso machine, AeroPress, Moka Pot, or any brewing method. Robusta coffee beans are best for skinny lattes for that aromatic, robust espresso flavor.
- You can start steaming the milk while the espresso is brewing.
- Continue steaming until you achieve a thin yet unique latte layer.
- Pour the steamed milk into a glass or mug, but don’t pour them all!
- Once the espresso is brewing, slowly pour them into the glass.
- Top your skinny latte with the remaining milk as milk foam. Enjoy!
What Does Skinny Mean at Starbucks?
Starbucks is one of the many coffee shops that order a skinny drink, be it a latte or a Frappuccino. When you ask a barista to make your order “skinny,” you request a lighter beverage. It’s lighter than a regular drink because it’s made with nonfat milk, no whipped cream, and sugar-free syrup if available.
Asking for your Starbucks drink to be skinny significantly impacts your beverage’s calorie content. They are generally healthier versions of the existing Starbucks handcrafted beverages since they have fewer calories than usual.
Can All Starbucks Drinks Be Ordered Skinny?
Yes, almost all Starbucks beverages can be ordered skinny. You can ask the barista to make it skinny, from vanilla latte to mocha to caramel macchiato to your favorite Frappuccino drink. Tell them to make it skinny or light, and they’ll automatically turn your drink into zero sugar, no whip cream, and no whole milk.
What Does a Skinny Drink Tastes Like?
If you’re wondering about the taste of a skinny latte, imagine a regular latte but more robust and less sweet. This is because a skinny latte is made of nonfat milk, which has a subtle taste compared to whole milk. Double espresso shots make the latte stronger than usual, and its thin consistency also affects its overall taste. Using a sugar-free syrup than regular sugary syrup also makes a skinny latte taste different. Some people who have tried a skinny latte enjoyed its smoother and lighter taste, while others found it too subtle, so it all boils down to preference.
What is a Skinny Vanilla Latte?
A skinny vanilla latte is one of the most popular drinks ordered in Starbucks and other coffee shops. Think of it as a regular vanilla latte, but the milk used is nonfat, and the vanilla syrup is replaced with a sugar-free option.
If you’re conscious about your calorie intake, a tall skinny vanilla latte in Starbucks only has 70 calories. It is significantly less compared to regular latte drinks you can order. Meanwhile, a grande skinny vanilla latte has about 12 calories. (Learn How Many Oz In Coffee Mug)
How To Make a Skinny Vanilla Latte
If a skinny vanilla latte is your cup of tea, you can easily make one at home:
Two shots of espresso
1/2 cup of nonfat or skimmed milk
2 tbsp. of sugar-free vanilla syrup
Sugar-free sweeteners (optional)
- Prepare your espresso shots through your espresso machine, AeroPress, Moka Pot, or any brewing method.
- Steam your milk using a steam wand or a milk frother while your espresso is brewing. Set aside.
- Add the sugar-free syrup in the blender, then pour the frothed milk. You can add a sugar-free sweetener if you prefer your skinny vanilla latte sweeter. Turn on the blender and let it mix.
- Pour the blended drink into your cup, then add some ice if you want your latte cold, before putting the espresso shots. Enjoy!
Simply put, a skinny latte is a healthier variation of a regular latte. So, if you’re practicing healthier habits and trying to reduce fats and calories, skinny latte is the perfect drink!
If the coffee shop you usually buy from doesn’t offer this drink, you can always ask to customize your drink. This way, you can achieve your version of a skinny latte wherever you go!