What is a Skinny Coffee Drink?

A skinny coffee drink, or a skinny latte, is a type of espresso beverage, just like a cappuccino and regular latte. It mainly stems from health considerations and vegan preferences of coffee consumers, who don’t fancy the high-calorie content and use of dairy products in regular lattes.

What does skinny latte drink mean?

A skinny latte is a low-calorie version of a regular latte. Skinny latte is made using low-fat or skimmed milk and non-sugar syrups. It’s these ingredients that contribute to its relatively lower calorie content.

A skinny latte uses a double shot of espresso as the base. This makes it stronger than most espresso-based beverages, typically made using two espresso shots. Due to the double espresso shot, a skinny latte contains more coffee than milk, as compared to a cappuccino, where milk, coffee, and foam are mixed in a 1:1:1 ratio.

Note: Use fine-grind coffee for skinny lattes and other espresso-based drinks. Fine-grind coffee doesn’t have any bitterness, unlike coarse-grind coffee, which is sour and acidic.

Skinny lattes are typically sweetened using non-sugar syrups for health aspects. Examples of high-quality, sugar-free syrups include Torani Sugar-free Hazelnut Syrup, Starbucks’ Naturally-flavored Vanilla Syrup, and ChocZero’s Maple Syrup.

Is a skinny latte better?

Health-wise, a skinny latte is a better drink than most other espresso-based drinks. It has a lower calorie content than a typical cappuccino, standard latte, Spanish latte, or caramel macchiato.

For instance, a regular latte can have well above 100 calories due to whole milk and sugary syrups. By contrast, a typical skinny latte contains about 80 calories due to skimmed or 2% fat milk and sugar-free syrups.

You can also make a skinny latte using plant-based milk if you don’t prefer the full-bodied texture of whole milk used in regular lattes. Plant-based milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, and oat milk give skinny lattes a unique flavor. Oat milk, for instance, has a delightfully earthy flavor.

Skinny lattes are usually topped off using just a little foam. Thus, you don’t have to spend much time frothing your milk. If anything, plant-based milk needs to be aerated for longer to produce a substantial amount of foam, which would be a tiring process.

How to make a skinny latte? + Recipe

To make a skinny latte, you need to make a single or double shot of espresso before adding steamed milk and milk froth to top it off. You can then add a sweetener or syrup to boost the taste.


i. A single/double shot of espresso (made using dark-roast, finely ground coffee)

ii. Steamed low-fat milk/steamed plant-based milk/steamed skimmed milk

iii. Milk froth/foam

iv. Non-sugar syrup

 There are many ways to make espresso shots. But the most authentic espresso is that which is made using a real espresso machine that extracts coffee at high pressure.

How to make a skinny latte using an espresso machine?

You’ll find it easy to make quality skinny lattes if you have a real espresso maker, such as a Nespresso Espresso Machine. Follow the steps outlined below:

i. First, fill the water tank and return it to the position. Then, turn on the espresso machine to start heating the water.

ii. Fill the portafilter with finely ground coffee. If you need a double shot, ensure you use a portafilter basket that’s large enough to hold as much coffee. Then using a tamper, tamp down the coffee till it is compact and level with the top of the portafilter. Put the portafilter back in place.

iii. Press the brew button to start brewing your shot of espresso. The machine will push water through the coffee grinds at high pressure and let out espresso with excellent color and crema.

iv. Next, prep the steam wand to clear out any water in it that’s caused by condensation. Turn on the steam wand and rotate the steam dial until there’s no more water and only steam is coming out.

v. Insert the steam wand into a jar of cold milk and turn on the steam dial. The wand will automatically start steaming and frothing the milk and will go silent once done. At this point, turn off the steam dial.

vi. Finally, add the steamed milk and froth to the espresso shot(s) that you’d made earlier, and you have your skinny latte. You can also add a sugar-free syrup for added sweetness.

 How to make a skinny latte using a single-serve drip coffee maker?

i. Extract, empty, and fill the water reservoir with fresh water before returning it into its compartment and turning on the machine.

ii. As the water heats up, open the brew head and insert your favorite flavor of dark roast coffee pod or K-Cup (depending on which type your machine accepts). Close the brew head.

iii. Select the smallest cup size available and click the ‘Strong’ button if available. Then, click the ‘brew’ button to start brewing.

iv. As the espresso is brewed, low-fat steam milk is separately in a pan placed on a stovetop or inside the microwave. Once done, transfer the milk into a large cup, insert a handheld milk frother inside the cup, and turn it on to make froth.

v. Finally, pour the espresso shot into the cup containing steamed milk and milk froth to make your cup of skinny latte. Add non-sugar syrup for improved taste.

Note: Drip coffee machines don’t exactly make real espresso as it doesn’t use steam pressure to extract the coffee. Instead, the slow brewing process makes the coffee have a strong taste akin to espresso.

How to make a skinny latte using a single-serve coffee machine with a shot option? 

Some single-serve coffee machines such as the Keurig K-Café and Keurig K-Latte also incorporate a shot option to allow users to make espresso-type drinks like skinny lattes on top of regular coffee. These machines also include a milk frother compartment. To make a skinny latte using these types of coffee makers, follow the steps below:

i. With water inside the tank, turn on the machine, and as the water heats, open the brew head and insert a dark roast coffee pod or K-Cup.

ii. Place a small mug under the spout to collect the espresso shot that will be dispensed. Then, close the brew head and click on the ‘Latte/Café’ button. This will instruct the brewer to create a concentrated shot of espresso instead of a regular coffee brew. Finally, click on the start button to start brewing.

iii. As the espresso brews, remove the milk frother, add low-fat milk, close it with the lid and return it to its compartment. Press on the ‘steam’ button to start steaming the milk. These frothers typically feature a whisker that spins to create froth at the bottom.

iv. Finally, pour the steamed milk into a cup and add the shot of espresso to make your skinny latte. Add a sugar-free syrup for added flavor.

Does a skinny latte have less calories?

A skinny latte has fewer calories than many other types of espresso drinks, including cappuccino, regular latte, and caramel macchiato. This can be attributed to the following factors:

i. The use of low-fat/skimmed milk instead of whole milk.

ii. Contains less milk and more coffee.

iii. Typically includes non-sugar syrups for reduced sugar calories.

iv. Has less milk froth


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