After reading the online news last weekend, I noticed several articles talking about different sorts of fancy coffees, and it prompted me to ask “is coffee the new sugar?”

So I did some digging and discovered a few startling facts that I’d like to share with you.

Is coffee the new sugar?

Let’s find out.

First of all, we love coffee (duh)

It’s plain to see that we all love a good coffee.

The Australian coffee market is one of the biggest in the world and is a billion-dollar industry that continues to grow.

Right now, most Australians are drinking 1.3 cups of coffee per day, with a portion of us drinking 3 or more cups per day.

So far, sounds reasonable?

Specialised coffee is officially hip

Enter the new trend – “fancy coffee”.

These days it’s very hip to order a fancy coffee.

I’m talking cold-pressed, green tea latte or spicy chai….any other special form of coffee.

Coffee making has become a craft that now requires specially qualified people.

It’s stylish to drink special coffee.

It’s different and fun.

So, what we’re seeing is an emerging trend of drinking flavoured coffees and teas, and these are being consumed en masse every day.

This report by Square presents a fun infographic and some interesting data on coffee drinking in Australia in 2017.

Here’s a quote from that site:

The past two years have also seen a surge in popularity of coffees infused with cool new flavours, such as matcha and chai.

From October 2015 to October 2017, there was a 120% increase in the sales of chai lattes and a whopping 360% growth in the matcha-infused brew.

2017 was the year that also saw more adventurous latte flavours introduced on menus across the country — including beetroot, taro and turmeric.

While they all started to show signs of growth in 2017, the biggest spike was seen in turmeric lattes, more than doubling in popularity (120%) between April and July.

Exotic flavours are fun, delicious and refreshing, especially in the iced coffee range, and we are starting to drink much more of these over regular plain coffee.

Why coffee is the new sugar

Coffee is the new sugar – what is this all about?

Maybe you’ve figured it out already.

In the 80’s we drank soft drink. In the 90’s we drank iced teas. We pooh-poohed because of their sugar content.

Now we have a grown-up version – flavoured speciality coffees with their own built-in sugar load.

Why else would it taste so good, but for the sugar?

Let’s look at how much sugar is in coffee flavouring and what this means for you.

Consider that milk naturally contains sugar (lactose), and that when you add flavoured syrups or powders to your coffee, you inevitably bump up the sugar content.

Here is some sugar content data for well-known brands of take away coffee in Australia.

For comparison, I’ve listed the sugar content of a plain latte vs the flavoured versions for each brand.



Regular/Short size

sugar (g)

4g = 1tsp

Large/Tall size

sugar (g)

4g = 1tsp

Gloria Jeans

Skim caffe latte (no flavouring) (regular/large)



Skim hot mocha truffle latte (no cream)



Skim caramel latte (no cream)



Skim very vanilla latte (no cream)



Skim chai tea latte (no cream)




Non-fat caffe latte (no flavouring) (short/tall)



Non-fat green tea latte



Non-fat vanilla latte



Non-fat iced chai tea latte



Data source: Calorie King Australia

Notice that a flavoured coffee contains double to quadruple the sugar content of a regular coffee, depending on the size.

That’s a significant whack of sugar in one drink puts you well above the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily intake of added sugar.

In real terms, you’re looking at an extra 10g of sugar (2.5 tsp) up to a whopping 40.2g sugar (10 tsp) per drink.

So if you’re a one-coffee person enjoying a ‘treat’ while you’re out shopping or with friends, please know that flavoured coffee is the new sugar – and perhaps rethink your drink.

Want some help getting your thinking, eating and habits sorted out?

Book a confidential enquiry with Melanie.

Melanie White

Melanie White

Coach Trainer

I’m a scientist and a Health and Wellness Coach who helps you to get the most and best out of life.

Book a confidential enquiry with Melanie