Category • Alternative Milk

Calories in coffee with milk: A comprehensive guide

Alex | September 29, 2023

The first thing most of us do each morning is reach for a cup of coffee and UK office workers tend to get through a lot more cups during the working day. In fact, most of us Brits are drinking around 3 – 4 cups daily. Whilst black coffee is almost calorie-free, when you add dairy milk, alt-milk, cream or sugar, the calories naturally increase.

So if you’re watching your weight or calorie counting, the great news is that the calorie count in black coffee is negligible and estimated to be around just 2 calories per cup. However, you might be shocked to know that some coffee drinks like sugary frappuccinos or some milky lattes you’d get on the high street can have as many as 500 calories per cup. With this in mind, we’re going to delve into the calorific content of various milk types when added to coffee that you’d find in the office from a bean-to-cup machine. We’ll also provide a breakdown of the top two most popular milky coffee drinks.

How many calories should we have per day?

The NHS states that an ideal daily intake of calories varies depending on age, metabolism and levels of physical activity, among other things. Generally, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men. With this as a guide, it’s easy to see how drinking high-calorie coffee drinks can take one over that limit.

How many calories are in milk?

There are so many different types of milk on the market today. A few years back, if you were working in an office, most probably the only milk you’d be provided with would be whole or semi-skimmed dairy milk. Today with the increasing movement of people switching to dairy-free and vegan lifestyles due to ethical, sustainable and health reasons, there are lots of plant-based milks to choose from.

One in three of us now drink plant-based milk regularly however dairy still remains the most popular across the board. In fact, the regular consumption of replacement products for dairy is much lower than that of dairy products. Dairy products are regularly consumed by 69% of the population in the UK compared to 23% for plant-based dairy substitutes. If you’re running an office though, it’s likely that you’ll have some team members who are dodging dairy so it’s important you provide a choice of milk in the office. But first, let’s take a look at the four most popular dairy and alt-milks and compare them.

Dairy milk

Dairy milk is the most popular choice for coffee enthusiasts due to its creamy texture and familiar taste. It’s the type of milk that you would get served in your local coffee shop if you didn’t state you wanted a different type.

Whole dairy milk is relatively high in calories. A standard cup of whole milk (240ml) contains approximately 150 calories, mainly due to its fat content. By switching to lower-fat dairy milk you can save a few calories although it may affect the taste, and consistency and won’t foam as well. A standard cup of semi-skimmed dairy milk typically contains around 120 calories and skimmed milk is 80. Note that it depends on what brand you opt for as they vary slightly in nutritional value.

Oat milk

British consumers are spending around £146 million per year on oat milk making it the most popular plant-based dairy alternative milk. It’s made from oats and water although some oat milks are highly processed with added sugars so check the label.

We recommend Minor Figures oat milk which has no added sugar and works great in coffee drinks. Oat milk is so popular thanks to its creamy texture and slightly sweet flavour. It contains fewer calories than whole dairy milk, with approximately 120 calories in a standard cup.

Almond milk

The second-best-selling alt-milk is almond milk, with British consumers spending a total of £105 million per year. Almond milk, made from almonds and water, is a lower-calorie alternative to both whole dairy milk and oat milk.

A standard cup of unsweetened almond milk contains just 30 – 40 calories, making it a popular choice for those aiming to reduce their caloric intake. However, from a sustainability perspective, almond milk is highly criticised. This is because the farming process is highly intensive and almond crops need a huge amount of water and are often grown in places where water is scarce.

Soy milk

Soy milk is another commonly used milk alternative, especially for its higher protein content. In terms of calories, it falls between oat milk and almond milk. A standard cup of unsweetened soy milk contains around 80 calories.

Soy milk has a fairly neutral taste so it won’t overpower the taste of your coffee. However, it is prone to curdling in hot drinks, so be sure to let your coffee cool a little before adding soy milk to taste.

What’s the best milky coffee drink to have in terms of calorie intake?

As we mentioned, black coffee is going to be your best bet if you’re concerned about calorie intake. However, if you enjoy a milky and creamy coffee – and who can blame you – our top two milky coffees are a latte and cappuccino.

Also note of course, if you’re adding sugar to your latte or cappuccino, that’ll bump up the cals. One sugar cube is around 19 calories.


A firm favourite here in the FreshGround office – the latte is a smooth and creamy coffee drink. A standard latte is made with one-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk. Here’s a calorie breakdown based on the milk used:

Whole dairy milk (240ml): Approximately 190 calories

Oat milk (240ml): Approximately 160 calories

Almond milk (240ml): Approximately 40 – 50 calories

Soy milk (240ml): Approximately 100 – 110 calories


A cappuccino is a well-balanced coffee with a creamy and frothy top. It typically consists of equal parts espresso, and steamed milk, and topped with milk foam. The calories in a standard cup are listed below:

Whole dairy milk (240ml): Approximately 150 calories

Oat milk (240ml): Approximately 120 calories

Almond milk (240ml): Approximately 30 – 40 calories

Soy milk (240ml): Approximately 80 – 90 calories

What milk works best in my coffee?

Baristas and coffee connoisseurs may argue that the best milk for coffee is whole dairy milk. The main reason is the taste and that it makes a really great creamy foam for milky coffee drinks. However, a close second is oat milk as this works well in coffee to create a foam. Plus, brands like Minor Figures have crafted special ‘barista style’ versions of oat milk which upon tasting, you’d struggle to notice the difference.

Really when it comes to choosing the milk you have in your office coffee you need to balance the flavour and texture whilst being mindful of the calorific and nutritional content. If you’re in an office role where it’s your responsibility to provide coffee and refreshments, it’s best to give your team a choice. Not only does it show you care about their preferences but it empowers your team to choose whatever coffee drinks they like to align with their personal health goals.

Modern bean-to-cup machines will come with dual milk fridges so you can easily offer a dairy version and an alt-milk to please everyone. We recommend oat milk as our top alt-milk for bean-to-cup machines to complement coffee but the lowest calorie alt-milk is almond so you might want to include that in your office fridge.

Contact us

If you need a hand with selecting a new bean to cup coffee machine or you’re just looking to upgrade your office coffee experience, contact our team who’ll be delighted to help.