Drinking coffee while maintaining a ketogenic diet can be an uncertainty. But fear not, espresso lovers! This guide is your ultimate companion to understanding and enjoying espresso on a keto diet.
We will clarify the carb content in espresso, highlight the best keto-friendly espresso brands, reveal the health benefits of keto espresso, show you how to create keto-friendly espresso drinks, and list the best keto drinks to order at Starbucks.
Get ready to discover that espresso and the ketogenic lifestyle can blend perfectly together for a tasty, healthy, and energetic journey.
Is Espresso Keto-Friendly?
Diving into the world of diets and health-conscious eating can leave you with numerous questions. For coffee lovers, one question stands out: "Is espresso keto?" The short answer is a resounding yes!
If you've embraced the ketogenic diet lifestyle and you're questioning whether your beloved espresso fits into the mix, rest easy. Espresso is indeed keto-friendly.
In its simplest form, espresso, i.e., hot water and finely ground coffee beans, is not only compatible with the ketogenic diet but can also serve as an excellent source of caffeine to boost energy levels that may be impacted by your low-carb lifestyle.
Espresso becomes problematic when you begin adding ingredients that contain carbs. For those committed to a keto lifestyle, it's crucial to stick to plain black coffee or espresso shots with no added milk and sugar, or other ingredients high in carbs.
Carbs in Espresso
When tracking your carb intake for a ketogenic diet, you'll be pleased to discover that espresso is essentially carb-free. Indeed, it's good news for espresso and coffee lovers alike; a shot of espresso contains virtually zero carbs, making it a perfect low-carb drink and an excellent choice for those following a low-carb diet like Keto.
While espresso coffee and its variants are virtually free of carbs, other coffee-based drinks might not be. The key is understanding how each ingredient you add, such as milk, creamer, or sweeteners, impacts your carb count.
Health Benefits of Keto Espresso
Espresso, consumed in its purest form or as part of a keto-friendly coffee drink, can provide numerous health benefits, particularly for those adhering to a ketogenic diet:
- Weight Loss: The bioactive compounds in espresso can help boost your metabolism, supporting the body's ability to burn fat and promoting weight loss. (Gunnars, 2018)
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Espresso contains antioxidants that combat inflammation and oxidative stress. Consuming an espresso con panna made with a keto-friendly, sugar-free whipped cream allows you to enjoy this delightful drink without the inflammation-promoting sugars in regular whipped cream.
- Energy Boost: The caffeine in espresso can provide a substantial energy boost, especially beneficial for those who might feel fatigued due to the reduced carb intake on a ketogenic diet. Whether enjoying an iced coffee on a hot day or savoring a double espresso, that caffeine kick can enhance your alertness and mental focus, making your transition to a state of ketosis smoother. (Ajmera, 2023)
- Digestive Health: Coffee, including espresso, can stimulate the digestive system, aiding those who might struggle with sluggish digestion due to the high-fat intake on the keto diet.
- Healthy Fats: Adding elements like MCT oil, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter to your espresso can significantly increase your intake of healthy fats. These are essential on a ketogenic diet as they help your body transition into ketosis, which burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Bulletproof coffee, which includes a blend of these fats, is a popular choice for keto dieters.
- Nutrient Intake: Beyond the benefits already discussed, espresso coffee provides small amounts of essential nutrients. These include vitamins B2, B3, and B5, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. While these amounts might be small, they can increase if you drink espresso regularly.
- Brain Health: Some studies suggest that the caffeine and antioxidants in espresso may reduce the risk of neurological diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. (NCBI 2020)
- Physical Performance: Caffeine, a key component in your espresso shots, can enhance physical performance by increasing adrenaline levels, priming you for physical activity. This can be particularly helpful if you incorporate exercise into your keto lifestyle.
Best Keto Espresso Brands
You want your espresso to be rich, full-bodied, and, most importantly, carb-free. Fortunately, several espresso brands cater to the needs of keto dieters. These are:
- Lavazza: This Italian brand is a favorite among coffee lovers worldwide for its variety and quality. Their espresso offerings, from the Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend to the Crema e Gusto Ground Coffee Blend, offer a full-bodied, velvety taste. These coffee beans, meticulously selected and expertly roasted, produce a carb-free espresso shot ideal for keto dieters.
- Illy: Another renowned Italian brand, Illy, delivers consistent quality and flavor. The brand's Arabica espresso blend delivers a beautiful balance of sweet, sour, and bitter notes with chocolate, toast, and caramel hints. With zero carbohydrates, the Illy espresso blend provides a tasty option for anyone following a keto diet.
- Starbucks: Starbucks might be the best-known coffee shop worldwide, but its espresso beans are also available for home brewing. You will appreciate their variety of espresso offerings, like the Blonde Espresso Roast, with its smooth and subtly sweet taste, or the Caffè Verona, known for its dark cocoa texture. Starbucks' espressos are carb-free when brewed without added sugars, making them keto-friendly.
- Lifeboost: Lifeboost offers premium, single-origin espresso coffee that's low acid but also mycotoxin-free and bird-friendly. It's a great option for keto dieters who value their health and environmental sustainability. Lifeboost’s espresso, characterized by a smooth, clean taste, aligns with the nutritional needs of a keto lifestyle, providing you with guilt-free pleasure.
- Café Bustelo: This Hispanic brand has won over the hearts of many with its strong coffee. Their Espresso Ground Coffee, known for its bold flavor profile, makes a cup of espresso that's both invigorating and satisfying. At a lower price point and with zero carbs, Café Bustelo's espresso coffee is another excellent choice for keto dieters.
- Nespresso Capsules: For those who own a Nespresso machine, Nespresso's range of espresso capsules offers a quick, convenient way to enjoy a keto-friendly coffee drink. Their capsules contain ground coffee beans with different flavors, from intense and spicy to mild and balanced. When used without adding sugar or milk, these capsules deliver an effortless shot of keto-friendly espresso.
How to make keto-friendly espresso drinks?
Creating the perfect keto-friendly espresso drink involves creativity and a willingness to tweak traditional espresso recipes. Here are some tips on creating a delicious, keto-friendly version of your favorite espresso drink.
The first thing to consider when creating a keto espresso drink is your choice of milk. Regular milk, while a classic pairing with espresso, is high in carbs, making it unsuitable for a ketogenic diet. So, what can you use instead?
- Heavy Cream: A splash of heavy cream can add a rich, velvety texture to your espresso. Plus, it's an excellent source of healthy fats crucial in a keto diet.
- Keto Creamers: Specifically designed for those on a ketogenic diet, these creamers are usually low in carbs and often contain ingredients like MCT oil to help you stay in a state of ketosis. Give our Keto Coffee creamer recipe a try.
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is naturally low in carbs and high in healthy fats. It imparts a light, tropical flavor to your espresso, making it a refreshing and keto-friendly option.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk: If you prefer a lighter option, unsweetened almond milk is great. It's low in carbs and calories while providing a creamy texture to your espresso drink.
With its high carbohydrate content, traditional sugar is a no-go on a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, there are several keto-friendly sweeteners that you can use in your espresso drinks without sacrificing taste.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Options like sucralose and aspartame can be used instead of sugar without affecting your carb intake. However, some people may prefer more natural alternatives.
- Sugar-Free Syrups: These syrups can add a variety of flavors to your espresso drinks without adding any carbs. Vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut sugar-free syrups are popular choices. Try our easy Keto Syrup recipe.
- Monk Fruit Sweetener: A natural sweetener derived from monk fruit, this sugar substitute has zero calories and carbs, making it a great option for sweetening keto espresso drinks.
- Erythritol or Stevia: These are natural, zero-calorie sweeteners derived from plants. They can provide the sweetness you crave without the carb load.
Adding certain ingredients to your espresso drinks can help to increase their nutritional content and make them even more keto-friendly:
- MCT Oil: Adding a bit of MCT oil to your espresso can provide a quick source of fat, which can help fuel your body and mind while promoting a state of ketosis.
- Ghee or Grass-Fed Butter: Incorporating a bit of ghee or grass-fed butter into your espresso drink can create a bulletproof coffee, a popular choice among keto dieters. These healthy fats can help you feel full and satisfied.
Finally, don't forget the foam! A good Handheld Milk Frother or a fancier Electric Milk Steamer & Frother can help you achieve that rich, creamy texture synonymous with great espresso drinks. While traditional Frothers use milk to create foam, you can also froth heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk for a keto-friendly version.
Best Keto drinks to order at Starbucks.
|Net Carbs (size Grande - 354 ml)
|Drip, Iced, or Cold Brew Coffee
|Unsweetened Hot or Iced Tea
|Shot of Espresso
|Hot or Iced Americano
|Caffè Misto (with regular milk)
|Caffè Misto - Almond Milk
|Latte or Cappuccino (with regular milk)
|Latte or Cappuccino - Almond Milk
|Flat White (with regular milk)
|Flat White - Almond Milk
- Drip, Iced, or Cold Brew Coffee: Whether it's brewed hot and served over ice or steeped at cool temperatures for an extended period, these methods result in coffee that's robust, refreshing, and inherently keto-friendly. Remember to enjoy these drinks black or with a keto-approved creamer, and sweeten with a zero-carb sweetener if needed.
- Unsweetened Hot or Iced Tea: Just like coffee, tea is a keto-friendly drink that's perfect for any weather when served hot or iced. The key to keeping it Keto is to skip the sugar. If you prefer your tea sweetened, use a keto-friendly sweetener instead.
- Shot of Espresso: A straight shot of espresso is a perfect pick-me-up and is naturally low in carbs. Enjoy the intense flavor and the energy boost without worrying about breaking your ketosis.
- Hot or Iced Americano: Caffè Americano is a shot or two of espresso diluted with hot water or served over ice. It’s a great low-carb option that still offers the full-bodied flavor of espresso.
- Caffè Misto: Traditionally, a Caffè Misto is a one-to-one mix of steamed milk and brewed coffee. To make this drink keto-friendly, replace the regular milk with heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk.
- Caffè Misto - Almond Milk: This version of a Caffè Misto uses unsweetened almond milk for a lower carb count. The almond milk lends the drink a unique, slightly nutty flavor while keeping it keto-friendly.
- Latte or Cappuccino: A classic latte or Cappuccino is typically high in carbs due to its high milk content. However, you can enjoy a keto-friendly version by substituting the milk with heavy cream or a mix of cream and water for fewer carbs.
- Latte or Cappuccino - Almond Milk: By swapping out the regular milk in a latte or Cappuccino with unsweetened almond milk, you can cut down on carbs while still enjoying the rich, frothy texture that these drinks are known for.
- Flat White: A flat white is traditionally made with espresso and steamed milk. Swap the milk for heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk to make this a keto-friendly drink.
- Flat White - Almond Milk: A flat white made with unsweetened almond milk reduces the carb count significantly, making this a great option for a keto-friendly, creamy coffee treat.
In conclusion, in its basic form, espresso aligns perfectly with the ketogenic diet. While you need to be mindful of additions like milk and sugar, plenty of keto-friendly alternatives are available.
Whether sipping a shot of espresso or enjoying a keto espresso martini, remember that the key to health is a balanced diet tailored to your health needs and goals. Enjoy your keto journey one espresso shot at a time!
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- ¾ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅓-½ cup powdered sweetener such as swerve or lakanto
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a mason jar.
- Add the lid to the jar and shake, or stir well until the sweetener has dissolved.
- Store your keto creamer in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Shake or stir well before use.
- I like to store my creamer in a glass jar to keep it fresh. You can use a plastic container if that's what you have available.
- Adjust the ratio of almond milk to heavy cream to get the consistency you prefer. You can also leave out either of these ingredients and make your creamer all almond milk or all heavy cream.
Keto Creamer Variations:
Hazelnut Keto Creamer - Use 2 teaspoons of hazelnut extract in place of the vanilla extract. You can do the same with almond extract.
Pumpkin Spice Keto Creamer - Add 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the mix.
Peppermint Coffee Creamer - Reduce the vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon, and add ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract.
Mocha Keto Creamer: Add two teaspoons of cocoa powder to the almond milk, and heat gently until the cocoa powder dissolves. Then follow the recipe as written.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g
The nutrition information for this recipe is an approximate total per serving. Please double check the nutrition information for your exact ingredients and brands.