How many Calories in Coffee? The Answer Lies Within the Bean

How many calories in coffee?

By 06/04/2015Coffee cademy, Health

On its own, there are no calories in coffee! HOORAY!

But how does a beverage that gives us so much energy have no calories? The answer lies within the bean. Coffee’s caffeine is largely responsible for the pick-up we feel. Beyond that, though, coffee beans don’t need much energy in nature, so they don’t add many calories to our cups.

Black Coffee Has Virtually No Calories

According to the USDA, an 8-ounce cup of black coffee has 2 calories. A survey of other sources will reveal some slight variation in precisely how many calories in coffee, but all sources show that a cup of coffee has a negligible number of calorshutterstock_186407768ies. Typically, figures range from 2 to 12 calories per cup of coffee.

Furthermore, calories in other coffee beverages are similarly low. For instance, a(n):

  • shot of espresso has 3 calories
  • Americano has 5 calories
  • black iced coffee has 5 calories
  • toddy has 3 calories

In any diet, these figures are inconsequential, even if you drink a lot of coffee.

The reason for no calories in coffee

What few calories coffee does have come from the coffee beans used in the brewing process, which explains why there are so few calories in coffee. (The only other ingredient used to make coffee is water, which has no calories.)

In nature, the role of the coffee bean is to help a new coffee plant sprout up.

It only needs enough energy, or calories, to push a small sprout through a few inches of soil. (Yes, coffee is a seed  – and undergoes quite a journey to get to you!) Once the coffee sprout is above the soil, has one leaf, it will then, through photosynthesis, generate the energy it needs to grow. At this stage, a short root will collect any nutrients that the young plant needs from the cherries

Because a coffee bean’s purpose is to grow a sprout, it only needs a very small amount of energy. Even though many beans may be used in the brewing process, their cumulative amount of energy is still insignificant in the context of a human diet. Moreover, all of their energy is not extracted during the brewing process. The end result is that a cup of coffee only has a very small amount of energy in it, between 2 and 12 calories worth.

A Great, Low-Calorie Beverage

As if you needed another reason to like coffee, it has a inconsequential impact on your diet. If you’re counting calories, you can still drink coffee guilt-free.

Have any questions? Post in the comments below!

Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

More posts by Scott
  • disqus_RlQOSTOvTs

    An Americano is two shots of espresso and hot water. If a shot of espresso is 3 calories and water is 0 calories, how does an Americano end up being 15 calories?

  • Driftaway Coffee

    Nice catch! We meant 5 for Americano.

  • care package

    Still no good if you are doing intermittemt fasting

    • volo perpetuo

      why is it no good if your doing intermittent fasting? Doesn’t coffee increase your metabolism?

      • care package

        I think maybe I said that because even a small amount of calories has a metabolic consequence when someone wants to fast. True fasting is water only, but if someone wants to fast and have some black coffee, more power to them. According to this guy there is def a silver lining

  • Azi Smythe

    Caffeine stimulates the pancreas to release insulin…which is necessary for the deposition of fat into adipose tissue. Not all calories are equal. [See “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes—excellent read!]

  • Pdawg

    Coffee beans have a good amount of calories as do most seeds as they need to grow without sunlight and carbon dioxide. The reason it’s so low in calories is that you are not eating the bean, but instead consuming water that has pulled oils and other particulates from the beans. 28 pieces of coffee beans has around 200+ calories, but when used for coffee the coffee rinds keep most of those calories.