If you like your caffeine all wrapped up in rich, sweet luxury, it's hard to say no to an iced caramel macchiato. The frothy milk, vanilla syrup and sweet caramel topping tame the assertiveness of the espresso, but the coffee's got enough oomph to still cut through the sweetness.

The only real problem with it is the sheer number of calories. A grande iced caramel macchiato has 250 calories, and that's not even with whole milk. If you start your day with one of these drinks for a week, that's 1750 calories – basically a whole day's intake – above and beyond whatever you eat for your meals. Even if you order a skinny caramel macchiato and add your own ice when you get home, you're still looking at 140 calories every time.

That doesn't mean you need to give up your favorite morning eye-opener – not by a long shot. You can make your own iced caramel macchiato at home, and get the flavor and caffeine jolt you're looking for with a lot fewer calories. The secret ingredient is sugar-free flavor syrups, or better yet no-calorie flavor syrups. There are several brands available, and you can even pick up Starbucks' own sugar-free vanilla syrup for that authentic taste. When made with nonfat milk or your favorite milk alternative, no-calorie syrup and espresso, this version adds up to just around 49 calories.

Prep Time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 1 minute | Serves: 1


  • 3 ounces fresh-brewed espresso or instant espresso coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup low-fat or non-fat milk or your favorite milk alternative
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free or no-calorie vanilla syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free or no-calorie caramel syrup (or more, to taste)
  • 1 to 2 portions no-calorie sweetener, optional
  • ice


  1. In a regular or high-powered blender, combine the milk, syrups and optional sweetener if you're using it. Blend at high speed for 25 to 40 seconds, until the milk is light and frothy. 
  2. Pour the coffee into a large, chilled glass. Carefully pour in the frothy milk, so you finish with a layer of foam at the top. Add the ice, and then drizzle the top with extra caramel syrup if you wish. Enjoy immediately. 

About the Author

Fred Decker

Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.