What Is a Skinny Latte & How Is It Different From A Traditional Latte?

The Skinny latte is a popular drink enjoyed by many, but what is it, and how does it compare to similar drinks? Read on to find out what is a skinny latte…

What is a skinny latte
It is a trendy drink that can give you a boost of energy while satisfying your craving for coffee

While a hot cup of coffee can be incredibly refreshing, there may come a point when you want to try out some different types of beverages. After all, there are so many wonderful options out there, and variety is the spice of life, right?

All you have to do is take a walk into your local Starbucks and take a quick look at the menu to see the range of coffees you could be experimenting with. However, some of those coffee drinks have become more popular than others in recent years.

Well, one such drink that you may be considering is the skinny latte. It is a trendy drink that can give you a boost of energy while satisfying your craving for coffee. If you have been on the search for an exciting new drink, then this might be the one for you. You might also be wondering, what is fasting tea?

Defining The Skinny Latte

First off, let us start off with the classic latte, which was invented as a way to make an espresso shot more palatable. Its origins lie in Italy, where it has been dated back to the 1950s. There you have the original lattes, but that doesn’t quite answer your questions about the ‘skinny’ version.

Have you been hearing a lot about skinny lattes but aren’t exactly sure what that beverage is? Like the classic latte, a skinny latte has a shot of espresso (one, two, or more shots, depending on the size of the drink and your preferences), steamed milk, and a little bit of milk foam. 

It is incredibly similar to the regular latte, and with both drinks, you also have the ability to customize: you can add flavors or sweeteners of your choice, you can choose no foam or extra foam, you can add whipped cream, and so on.

At the end of the day, the skinny latte is a type of latte rather than something entirely different. Thus, once you know how to make a latte drink, you will have a pretty good idea of how to make a skinny latte.

Making A Latte Drink

Before delving into just how to make a skinny latte, you should first take a step back and consider how various types of coffee are brewed. When you make a traditional cup of coffee, you extract all of the oils and nutrients from the grounds with very hot water. That process can be accomplished with a wide variety of devices ranging from the French press to a basic household percolator.

However, if you are looking to make a latte, you will need an espresso machine. Espresso is somewhat similar to a traditional cup of coffee, and it is one of the primary ingredients in the skinny latte. To make an espresso, you must push hot water through very fine coffee grounds in a short period of time.

Man making latte
Latte is made with two ounces of espresso and around eight or nine ounces of steamed milk

Unfortunately, espresso is very difficult to brew unless you have special machinery. Regular coffee with steamed milk poured over it just isn’t quite the same as that silky espresso shot base.

Inside a household espresso machine, there is a small pressurized chamber that fills up with water. Once the water has been pressurized and heated, it is shot through a small amount of finely ground coffee beans. The entire process usually only takes around 30 seconds, and it results in a beverage that is robust, aromatic, and filled with quite a bit of caffeine.

The latte itself is traditionally made with two ounces of espresso and around eight or nine ounces of steamed milk. You can also top your latte with a splash of creamer or a very small amount of foamed milk. Many experienced baristas use the foam as a canvas for creating designs and ‘latté art’, but that type of art isn’t going to alter the overall taste of the drink.

If you are interested in making your own latte art, you may also need a frother. Learn more about what a milk frother does for coffee or a skinny latte.

In order to alter the flavor of your latte or skinny latte, you will most likely want to use some type of syrup. There are now hundreds of different syrups to choose from, and those products can have a huge impact on the final taste of your beverage. Some of the most popular syrups for lattes include vanilla, mint, peppermint, and mocha.

These types of lattes have become very popular partially thanks to their availability in Starbucks and other popular coffee shops.

From Latte To Skinny Latte

A basic latte is a great option for those who are getting tired of traditional coffee, but the extra milk can add quite a few calories to this drink. While a cup of black coffee has almost no calories, a single latte could contain well over 100 calories and quite a few grams of sugar, depending on what other ingredients you use.

The key difference between a skinny latte and a regular or standard caffe latte is the type of milk used. Skinny lattes use nonfat or skim milk, while the standard caffe latte uses whole or 2% milk.

A skinny latte contains 70 calories per serving. It is a traditional espresso drink created with nonfat milk and no additional sugar, and it features a velvety smooth blend of low-fat milk and strong espresso. 

There are some reasons for the tradition that lattes are made with whole milk: whole milk was much easier and cheaper for cafés and coffee shops to keep on hand for a long time. In addition, whole milk has the benefit of making very stable, very dense foam that holds up much better than nonfat milk foam does. Also, for some coffee lovers, low-fat milk just doesn’t offer the same taste experience.

In addition, most coffee shops that serve lattes offer flavors you can add to them to increase your enjoyment. Standard or traditional flavored lattes are usually made with sugar-based syrups, while skinny lattes tend to use sugar-free syrups as a default, though of course, you can request the regular syrup if you want it.

Swapping out those ingredients might not seem like they will make a big difference, but switching over to skinny lattes could help you cut back on thousands of calories a week. You will be surprised by the difference in calorie counts if you decide to make the switch.

To create the easiest skinny latte, all you have to do is switch from whole milk to low-fat skim milk or nonfat milk. You will soon recognize if the taste is a problem for you. As we said, some drinkers barely notice the difference in coffee taste, but for others, it ruins their idea of what a latte actually is.

The Popularity Of Skinny Lattes

Now that you know exactly what a skinny latte is and how to make one, your next step is to start experimenting. There are countless ways to personalize this type of beverage, and the sky is the limit when it comes to all of the different milk products, syrups, and flavored oils that can be added to a skinny latte.

A standard latte is a very satisfying drink for people who prefer their espresso with a milky, rich flavor. Whole milk creates a velvety foam that lingers while you drink, and the overall texture and flavor of the drink complement the espresso well. A standard latte is a balanced drink that gives a smooth, softened espresso experience.

If you’re not counting calories, or just like the flavor of full-fat milk, the standard latte or caffe latte is the option for you. Whole milk gives you a richer flavor and does more to soften the edges of espresso, which is part of why it is the traditional milk of choice for making a latte. If you’re looking for a bit of taste of luxury, the standard latte is the option for you.

A skinny latte has fewer calories and less fat compared to the standard latte. Since it’s made with nonfat milk, it tends to highlight the flavor of the espresso more intensely since the foam tends to dissolve more quickly, and the lack of fat in the milk doesn’t smooth or suppress the intense espresso flavor. 

If you’re keeping an eye on your calorie and fat intake, then the skinny latte is the better choice for you. It’s also a good choice if you want a more robust espresso flavor or are not interested in the foam on top. A skinny latte is a good choice for health-conscious coffee addicts and those who do want the softening influence of milk but still want a strong espresso flavor in their drink.

In places like Italy, coffee purists will still prefer and insist that you use full-fat milk when making the drink. However, the choice is yours.

Skinny Lattes And Alternative Milks

In addition to milk that has a lower fat content, you could also try alternative types of milk. As long as it is lower in fat than regular milk and has no added sugar, it will still qualify as an ingredient for skinny lattes.

There are many great alternatives to whole milk, such as coconut, almond, and soy milk. You will probably want to do some experimenting to see which option is right for you. Almond milk is one of the most popular options for skinny lattes, and that beverage can now be found at most grocery stores.

Oat milk is a common choice as well, and it is going to give your latte an earthy flavor. It is also filled with a variety of nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D, potassium, iron, calcium, and fiber. Soy milk lattes have become quite popular, but ensure it’s unsweetened soy milk if you want to ensure it still fits into the ‘skinny’ description.

One of the biggest drawbacks of those alternative liquids is just how difficult it will be to make foam. While foam can be made from all of those beverages, you might need to spend a little extra time aerating the liquid. You must also keep a close eye on the ingredient lists because some companies add sugar to their dairy-free milk products, which removes the ‘skinny’ element of the drink.

Your First Skinny Latte

Even if you have quite a bit of experience brewing various coffee drinks, making a latte can still be tricky. The easiest way to make a latte is with a dedicated espresso machine. Those machines are more affordable than ever, and you should be able to master all of the basic functions within a matter of minutes.

If you don’t have a lot of counter space in your kitchen, then you could go with a combination appliance that brews traditional coffee as well as espresso. Those appliances usually have one brewing head that is attached to a central body, and they can be used to brew a wide range of amazing drinks.

To make an espresso with the espresso maker, all you have to do is follow the instructions that came with the unit. For most espresso makers, you pour the water into one chamber and then place some finely ground coffee in. The grounds must be very fine for espresso, or you could potentially damage the machine.

Ice coffee with cream in a tall glass
Turn your skinny latte into an iced coffee by pouring it over a glass filled with ice

Once those two ingredients have been added, you can simply hit the “Brew” button and let the device fill your cup up. After the brewing stage is complete, it is then time to add your choice of steamed low-fat or nonfat milk (see how to froth and steam it). As a general rule, you should use at least seven or eight ounces of milk, but you might need to use more or less depending on how rich you like your coffee drinks.

For those who want to try out different flavors, sugar-free syrups can be added to the cup before the espresso has been brewed. By adding the syrup first, you can make sure that it is thoroughly mixed into the beverage. When you are making your first few skinny lattes, you should try to use as few ingredients as possible so that you can focus on your techniques.

You can also turn your skinny latte into an iced coffee by pouring it over a glass filled with ice. This is an increasingly popular way to enjoy low-calorie drinks. Like this? Learn how to make a latte at home.

FAQs About Skinny Latte

What is the difference between a skinny latte and a skinny mocha?

Both skinny lattes and skinny mochas use espresso as their base. They also use low-fat milk and foam. However, mochas have added chocolate syrup.
With skinny mochas, that syrup should be sugar-free.

What makes a Starbucks latte skinny?

When you order a skinny latte from Starbucks, you should be getting a latte made with skimmed milk or low-fat milk alternatives. This applies to any drink you order ‘skinny’ from Starbucks. Thus, when you order a ‘skinny cappuccino’, or a ‘skinny mocha’, the difference from the regular alternatives of these drinks is the milk used.


  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies. Find Cian on muckrack.com.