A Starbucks Guide for Pregnancy
June 16, 2014
***Article has been updated 3/23/2015 for accuracy.
Everyone loves their morning coffee or an afternoon latte, but are these things safe? If so, how much and what size? Don’t you wish you had a secret Starbucks formula to let you know which drinks contained an appropriate amount of caffeine? Well, ladies, there is. And I’m going to share the secret Starbucks code to knowing exactly how much caffeine is in your favorite iced or hot espresso-based beverage.
Let’s start with the hot lattes. If you’re ordering a vanilla or any other syrup flavored latte, the Starbucks secret is 1, 2.
1 Shot of espresso in a Tall latte
2 Shots of espresso in a Grande latte
2 Shots of espresso in a Venti latte
So, what does this mean for caffeine? Well, each shot of espresso has 75mg of caffeine. Most experts recommend that pregnant women limit their consumption of caffeine to less than 200mg. This means, at Starbucks, 2 or under is fair game, leaving you with an extra 50mg of caffeine to spare (for, oh, IDK, chocolate?!).
It’s not as easy as 1, 2, for some hot beverages. The Americano follows 2, 3, 4:
2 Shots of espresso in a Tall macchiato
3 Shots of espresso in a Grande macchiato
4 Shots of espresso in a Venti macchiato
So, if you’re going to order a Grande Americano, you should ask the barista to hold a shot (meaning give you only 2 shots in your Americano, otherwise you’ll be over your daily limit by 25mg) or order a half-calf.
Iced beverages contain the same amount of shots with the exception of the iced venti lattes, which contain 3 shots of espresso, and, of course, the iced Americanos.
Great news for Frappuccino lovers: get a Venti in any coffee or espresso based Frappuccino and you’ll be in the clear at just under 200mg of caffeine (most have around 130mg for a Venti, but the espresso Frappuccino rings in at a still safe 185mg).
The Complete Guide to Starbucks Caffeine provides an excellent cheat sheet. However, according to the Starbucks blog, a 2012 post suggests Starbucks took a “new standard” following a 2, 2, 3 rule for lattes and cappucinios, which would mean tall lattes and cappuccinos would have 150mg of caffeine. If this rule applies to iced beverages, too, a tall iced latte or cappuccino would have 225mg of caffeine. These “standards” are not reflected in Starbucks Nutrition information found on the official website.
Another important thing to note is that Starbucks mocha drinks contain more caffeine than other flavors because chocolate contains caffeine. However, White Mocha beverages do no have this same issue (but WMs are very high in sugar).
For a happy, healthy pregnancy, the best beverages to stick with are of the Tall variety. Avoid adding extra shots to beverages and, remember, Starbucks can make any espresso based beverage decaffeinated. So, if you’re really worried about caffeine, order a decaf! Always watch the sugar content in Starbucks beverages, but avoid using Sugar Free syrups, which contain artificial sweeteners. Most Starbucks teas, even those without caffeine, should be treated with caution because some of the herbal ingredients are not safe for pregnancy. Also, Starbucks refreshers should be avoided due to hibiscus and other ingredients that may not be suitable for pregnant women. In fact, hibiscus and most other herbal tea ingredients should be completely avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy.