I sit inside Starbucks a lot. I grew up here in a manner of speaking; I had a job here, I gravitated towards the whole café culture in the early 1990’s as it came out of Seattle with favorite bands of mine Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney. Even before that voices like Mother Love Bone and Alice in Chains really set the whole mood for me. I’m a lot older now; I watch what I eat, I watch what I drink, and I have to be careful in a low-cost, high calorie playground like Starbucks. Starbucks is a place where one could get drinks and food for a quick energy jolt but be wary of the crash.
Still, I sit and ponder and reflect and drink my black coffee and take it all in. One of the biggest jokes I’ve ever heard with the Starbucks situation is the myth of the “non-fat milk.” Not that non-fat milk doesn’t exist; more that when ordering your grande four shot, six pump, with whip White Chocolate Mocha, for example, that by getting it with non-fat milk that the calorie count somehow goes down. It’s ridiculous!
More ridiculous than that is that the nutrition information is available for customers in the store (see attached pictures)! Or online (1), for those who care to look. I have even written about the Nutrition by the Cup (2) and Nutrition by the Plate (3) program here for Associated Content before.
Still, it’s worth going over again for folks who think that getting their drinks like a White Chocolate Mocha with non-fat milk is somehow sparing them the calories of the standard used 2% milk or whole milk.
Grande White Chocolate Mocha: There is a reason that the Starbucks nutrition info page puts the White Chocolate Mocha on a completely separate page from the café mocha and even their new black cherry mocha. The White Chocolate Mocha is one of the most calorie hot beverages Starbucks makes. A grande (16 oz-medium) White Chocolate Mocha made with 2% milk and no whipped cream has 400 calories, take that White Chocolate Mocha with whole milk and no whipped cream and the calorie count goes up to 440. A grande white mocha with non-fat milk and no whipped cream still has 350 calories. With the combination of syrups, the white mocha base, the espresso, the non-fat milk (which may be non-fat but still has calories) and you’re at a cursory calorie savings. Now, take that same grande non-fat milk White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream and you’re back up to 420 calories! That same White Chocolate Mocha with whole milk and add whipped cream and you’re up to 500 calories. So you see, the difference between non-fat milk and whole milk for the café beverages at Starbucks is really negligible.
The one concerning thing is the attitude of the non-fat milk drinker at Starbucks. They seem to almost think, ‘well, because I get my White Chocolate Mocha with non-fat milk, I can drink as many as I want.’ Obviously from Starbucks own literature, that’s not true. Starbucks drinkers the world over should be put on notice; check your facts before you just go off and think that something like non-fat milk will make any difference in your beverage experience!