How much sugar is in your iced coffee?

Imagine ordering yourself a coffee and then adding a teaspoon of sugar...and another...and another...and another...and another...and another...

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Even the sweetest tooth would probably add no more than 2-3 teaspoons to a single coffee. But the amount of total sugar in off-the-shelf iced coffees is much higher.

We investigated some of the most popular iced coffees on sale in Australian supermarkets and service stations – and the results are a Sugarpocalypse. See the results below.

 

Our findings

Label issues 

One of the biggest issues is labelling. Nutrition Information Panels show "total sugars" but don't distinguish between natural sugar from the lactose in the milk, and added sugar. Our table below lists the total sugar as shown on the nutrition panel. If you'd like to learn more about how to decipher natural vs added sugar in dairy products, check out this explainer from That Sugar Film - it's pretty complex and not something we expect most people to do at the supermarket. Until we have clear labelling that includes added sugars, Australians can't always easily tell how much added sugar is in their food and drink. 

 

High in sugar 

Almost all products we surveyed contain high levels of sugar.

Farmers Union Iced Coffee is well known for outselling Coca Cola in South Australia, and is hugely popular in the rest of the country too (think 22 million litres a year). Unfortunately for us, it has the highest concentration of total sugar in the products we surveyed, packing a whopping 9.6 grams per 100 ml. A single 600ml carton of this stuff packs 14.5 teaspoons of total sugar.

A 750ml Ice Break goes even further, hiding 18 teaspoons of total sugar in every bottle.

Meanwhile an Up&Go Energise Iced Coffee has a 4.5 Health Star Rating despite containing 9 teaspoons of total sugar. 

Then there's the Healthy Hipster protein smoothie, which is more hipster than healthy, with its 10 teaspoons of total sugar per bottle.

The good news is lower sugar products are entering the market including cold brewed black coffee and almond milk iced coffee sweetened with Natvia (Stevia and Erythritol).

If you can't live without your iced coffee fix, try some of the lower sugar options listed below. Or you could try making your own by cooling a cup of coffee in the fridge then pouring it over ice – if you have to sweeten it, at least you can control how much added sugar or sweetener you use.

 

How much sugar is in your iced coffee? 

Product

Total sugar
(grams)
per 100g

Total sugar 
(teaspoons)
per product

First Press pure black coffee (100ml)

0

0

Inside/out Almond Milk Cold Brew Coffee (350ml)

0.3

0.25

Schnobs Cold Brewed Black Coffee (325ml)

2.2

1

Schnobs Cold Brewed Caramel Latte (325ml)

6.3

2.5

Cor de Coco Coconut Milk Coffee (280ml)

6.5

4.5

Up&Go Energise Iced Coffee (500ml)

7.3

9

Nippy’s Iced Coffee (375ml)

7.8

7

Dare Iced Coffee Espresso (750ml)

8.7

16

Big M Iced Coffee (600ml)

8.7

13

Goulburn Valley Milk Iced Coffee (600ml)

8.9

13

Dare Iced Coffee Double Espresso (750ml)

9

17

Oak Iced Coffee (600ml)

9

13.5

The Healthy Hipster Protein Smoothie Iced Coffee Brew (450ml)

9

10

Barista Bros Iced Coffee (500ml)

9.4

12

Ice Break Iced Coffee (750ml)

9.5

18

Farmers Union Iced Coffee (600ml)

9.6

14.5

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