Food & fluids

Coffee concoctions

Over the last 20 years New Zealanders have developed an obsession with coffee drinking.

New coffee outlets are springing up in café’s, home stores’, petrol stations, office blocks, garden centers, libraries, container popup stores, along with mobile coffee carts. Whether we sit in a café or take it out, our love affair with coffee just keeps on growing.

To study this ‘The Wild Bean Café Kiwi Consensus’ 1 was commissioned by Wild Bean Café who claim sales of around 11 million cups of coffee per year and the title of being the largest café retailer of Fairtrade certified coffee in NZ.

The survey looked at the coffee consumption of 1063 customers in December 2019.  Their sample was taken from a wide range of age groups, ethnicities and regions throughout New Zealand. This revealed much about our coffee drinking habits.

Main findings:

  • More than 70% of customers studied drank at least 1 coffee per day with 24% consuming 3 or more cups/day.
  • A flat white proved the most popular coffee with 31% of those studied, with second place (18%) being shared equally by mocha and cappuccino.
  • Wellington was the latte capital with 23% ordering these compared with other NZ cities.
  • Twice as many men ordered a long black coffee (16%) compared to women (8%).
  • Twice as many women ordered a mocha (24%) as men (12%).

During the Covid-19 lockdown when people were required to stay at home the online sales of coffee machines, coffee pods and whipped instant coffee sachets increased and for many New Zealanders coffee making became an art form and important way to relieve stress 2

The art of coffee preparation

Coffee is the liquid extracted from the coffee beans not the method of extraction.3

There are many ways to prepare coffee. From plunger coffee, pour over coffee, stove top percolator coffee, drip coffee makers with filters and much more.

Espresso coffee can be made from regular coffee beans provided they are finely ground.

The average size of a cup of coffee is 227ml (8oz) whereas one shot of espresso is 30mls

Brewing coffee takes time requiring hot water to filter or drip through coffee grinds whereas an expresso machine pressurizes and shoots near-boiling water through finely ground coffee beans packed into cakes. This creates a complex, aromatic, caffeine-packed shot of coffee within 30 seconds. The speed of this process retains the flavour of the coffee oils which are often lost in filtered coffee.

Coffee names

No longer just black or white, coffee names are defined by how the coffee is made and the drink prepared. These same names are being carried through to the whipped instant coffee market.

Here are some of the main ones:

Flat white Steamed milk is added to an espresso
Latté Similar to a Flat white only bigger
Cappuccino:             An espresso-based coffee with steamed milk foam 
flavoured with cinnamon or chocolate
Mocha or 
Mochaccino;  An espresso coffee with chocolate and steamed milk
Macchiato: An espresso topped with foamed milk or cream. 
Macchiato Latté An espresso is added to milk, so this carries more foam 
than a standard latté

The growth of coffee concoctions and impact on our diet

One of the biggest trends of note over the last 2-3 years has been the rise in non-dairy, plant-based milks 4 We now have rice, soy, oat, almond and coconut milk to add to the coffee recipes listed above. This movement has not only been fuelled by the growing interest in sustainability and the plant-based diet, but also has been driven by flavour preference, the desire to try something different and the incidence of allergies and intolerances in the community.

With coffee now potentially making a major contribution of milk to our diet it is important to see the effect that these milks may be having on our nutritional intake each day.  In particular the protein and calcium contribution to our diet, important for the building of strong muscles and bones.  Across these milks Trim® milk would contribute the least amount of energy and fat and coconut milk would contribute the most.

While adults can replace cow’s milk with plant-based milks the protein levels of these milks (except for soy) are generally lower. (See Table 1). So, if you are buying non-dairy products for use at home, read the food label and choose those that are fortified with extra calcium and/or protein.
NB these plant -based milks are not suitable for young children.


Table 1 A comparison of the nutritional value of different milks

Milk Protein Fat Carbohydrate Energy Calcium Sodium
250ml cup g g g kJ/Kcals mg mg
Cow’s milk Calci Trim® 14.8 0.5 12 480/114 475 115
Cow’s milk Whole 8.7 8.7 15.4 722/172 267 90
Cow’s milk Trim® 9.3 0.26 12.4 369/88 306 102
Soy milk fat reduced 8.2 0.25 19.3 540/129 350 131
Rice Milk + protein 3.9 2.8 14.7 417/99 315 144
Oat Milk + calcium 3.9 5.3 16.9 576/137 325 151
Almond Milk 1.6 7 5.1 375/89 177 153
Coconut Milk 4 40.2 5.1 1647/393 10.2 51

Ref FoodWorks 5

It is also important to note the contributions that these coffee concoctions can be making to our energy, fat, sugar and salt intake. This may be of importance to people concerned about their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol levels, especially if they are drinking more than 1-2 coffees per day.
For information regarding the effect of the caffeine in coffee on sleep and athletic performance, see further reading below.

Comparing the nutritional content of beverages such as coffee is not an easy feat because coffees made in cafés come in different quantities, size of cups, strengths and combinations. Instant coffee sachets also vary considerably in the volume of coffee that they make, with those listed in Table 2 indicating volumes on their labels ranging from 166-200mls once water has been added.

With these things in mind for the comparative table that follows, freshly made coffee has been compared according to a double shot serve and all coffee has been compared on 100mls rather than per average cup.


Table 2: A nutritional comparison of various espresso and instant coffees.

Coffee Energy Protein Fat Sat. Fat Carbohydrate Sugar Sodium
 100mls kJ/Kcals g g g g g mg
Long black 15/3.7 0.6 0.11 0.04 0 0 2.6
Flat white-Skim 105/25 2.8 0.11 0.04 3.2 3.2 24
Flat white-Whole milk 187/44 2.7 2.2 1.3 3.6 3.6 22.2
Flat white- Soy 145/34 2.6 1.2 0.22 2.9 1.4 30
Flat white- Instant (N) 170/41 <1 1.8 1.6 6.4 3.5 70
Latte – Skim 105/25 2.8 0.11 0.04 3.2 3.2 24
Latte -Whole milk 187/44 2.7 2.2 1.3 3.6 3.6 22.2
Latte – Instant (SB) 130/31 1.5 1.4 0.9 3 2.7 18
Cappaccino -Skim 101/24 2.6 0.16 0.06 3 3 21.2
Cappaccino -Whole milk 170/40 2.5 1.9 1.1 3.4 3.4 19.6
Cappuccino- Rice milk 209/49 0.6 0.8 0.1 9.9 3.1 47.9
Cappaccino -Instant (SB) 115/28 1.3 1 0.6 3 2.4 16
Mochaccino– Skim milk 201/48 3.3 0.3 0.17 8.2 8.1 38
Mochaccino-Whole milk 304/72 3.2 2.9 1.8 8.7 8.6 35.8
Mochaccino- Instant (P) 206/49 1.2 1 0.9 8.9 4.8 43
Flavoured coffee- Instant
Caramel Latte Macchiato (SB) 195/47 1.4 1.2 0.7 7.3 6.8 16
Hazelnut Latte (A) 162/39 0.9 1 1 6.3 4.8 47
Almond Latte (N) 138/33 0.4 1.2 0.9 5 2.4 34
Oat Latte (N) 139/33 0.3 12 10 5.2 2.4 32
Coconut Latte (N) 129/31 0.3 1.1 0.9 4.8 2.4 29
Cookies and Cream (N) 200/48 <1 1.6 1.4 8.4 4.5 78

Ref: Food Works.5 Brand key: (A) Avalanche; (SB) Star Bucks; (N) Nescafé; (P) Pams

While instant coffees may not carry the same depth of flavour as fresh espressos and contain many artificial ingredients, they are a cheap and convenient way for many people to take a liquid refreshment.

The point of comparing coffee in this way is to simply point out their nutritional differences and the importance of keeping track of the energy, fat, salt and sugar if consumption is creeping up.

Drinking coffee is not just an exercise in getting our caffeine fix for the day or increasing our calcium and protein intake. For many New Zealanders stopping for a coffee is now part of our daily culture, enabling people to talk to one another or simply to stop what they are doing and take a ‘breather’. Let’s drink to that!



  1. A quarter of New Zealanders consume at least 3 coffees a day, reveals survey. Dec 16,2019 International Communicaffe
  2. What’s the difference between espresso v’s coffee? Roasty coffee facts
  3. Allan, A; Eye on innovation- The plant-based milk boom. Foodtech news Jan 2021
  4. Foodworks 10 Processional, v 10.0. Brisbane:Xyris Pty Ltd,2019
  5. Wikes, M; Café takes another hit as coffee machines and pod sales boom. Stuff May 29,2020.


For more articles by Lea on this topic that might interest you:

Can caffeine improve your performance?

How to make the most of a plant-based diet

Sleep for better self- regulation and diet

Milk matters

Keep drinking milk

Can coconut improve your health?

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


Leave a Reply

Also in Food & Fluids View all »

  • Carbohydrate for body growth and repair

    Protein provides the building blocks of amino acids to allow for muscle mass and tissue repair, but it is the carbs that fuel this body building process. Encouraging people to control,not cut, their carbohydrate can be a challenge. Read more »

  • Heat Stress: Could you be at risk?

    Heat stress can be a concern for all of us but in particular young and elderly people, athletes and people working outside in the heat such as in the construction industry, farming, forrestry etc. Learn more Read more »

  • Seeking authenticity in food and nutrition...

    Authenicity is a buzz word right now but when it comes to food how authentic is the nutrition information we receive? Where does your food and nutrition information come from? Is it meeting your needs? Learn more... Read more »

  • Hidden hunger: Could this be affecting you...

    While New Zealand may be very successful at producing food our health statistics tell a very different story. Let's take a look at the impact ultra-processed foods are having on hidden hunger, our gut and mental health. Read more »

  • The protein needs of young athletes

    At a time when they are also growing, young athletes may need as much as 50% more protein than their more sedentary peers. So should this extra protein be consumed from whole foods or supplements? Learn more... Read more »

  • Food, beverage and fitness trends for 2023

    Globally there is disruption to supply chains, inflation, changes in technology and war in many regions. Food systems are experiencing instability which is changing the trends in our choice of food, beverages and fitness. Read more »

  • Are you blending rather than chewing your food?

    With families on the go every day it’s often easier to down a smoothie for breakfast than to sit down and eat. While this is certainly better than not eating at all we really do need to take the time to chew our food. Find out why?.. Read more »

  • 5 good reasons to eat breakfast

    Thinking of skipping breakfast? If you think you'll be saving time, money and calories then think again. Research finds you are more likely to miss vital nutrients peculiar to breakfast foods and to snack on more calories later on. Read more »

  • Milk is a valuable sports nutrition supplement

    Whether you are an athlete wanting to improve your performance or just keen to improve your level of fitness, interest is growing in the use of milk as a sports supplement that is good for your health at any age. Read more »

  • Are you an emotional eater?

    Emotional eating isn't an eating disorder. It is a dyfunctional relationship with food. Associated with depression, anxiety and binge eating. It is highly addictive, causes ill health, needs to be taken seriously. Here are tips to help. Read more »

  • Thinking of going vegan?

    Veganism can be a very healthy lifestyle but there are some important things to know about before deciding that veganism is going to be right for you and will provide sufficient energy to fulfil the life goals you have in mind Read more »

  • Tips to reduce ‘added sugar’ intake for...

    Are you keen to get healthier this Christmas and 2022? Then start by cutting back on 'added sugar'. Without giving up all carbohydrate there are lots of ways you can control your blood sugar levels. Here's some tips to help. Read more »

  • Dietary Guidelines are constantly changing:...

    Although science is constantly evolving, generating new recommendations to improve our health, for many people their eating habits are based on things other than their longevity so are guidelines still relevant today? Read more »

  • 5 good reasons for eating eggs

    Are eggs really cheap and nutritious when compared with other protein rich foods? What about cholesterol? and are they safe to eat raw or if you're pregnant? Find out .. Read more »

  • Potatoes – they’re maybe healthier...

    Potatoes are often labelled too starchy, too fattening too boring, but is this fair? As we grapple with Covid-19 maybe it's time to take a fresh look at how eating potatoes nationally could help our health and economic growth Read more »

  • Snacking on the plant-based diet

    Business is booming in the snack food trade. However not all commercially available foods are good for our health. Find out how planning snacks can help to power your day Read more »

  • Can caffeine improve your performance?

    New Zealand ranks 13th in the world for coffee consumption ahead of Australia and USA. What are the effects of caffeine on our health and can it improve our performance? Read more »

  • Soup to soothe

    There is something very comforting about a bowl of soup especially on a cold winters day or if you are feeling unwell. Here we compare soups available today and offer guidelines on choosing the healthiest. Read more »

  • The active life of yoghurt

    Yoghurt is a healthy, economic and beneficial way to supply the body with macronutrients particularly protein and calcium, very convenient as a meal or snack its health benefits could help you. Find out more.. Read more »

  • Alcohol and sport- Is it a good match for you?

    When used responsibly alcohol can help to relieve tensions in athletes and to build feelings of inclusiveness in a team. However in excess it can slowly unravel training, health and sporting careers. Read more »

  • Don’t like fish?

    Fish is high in protein, iron, B group vitamins and essential fatty acids. But not everyone likes it. What can parents do to help their child try it again? Read more »

  • Are nuts all they are cracked up to be?

    Are nuts healthy and how much do we need to eat in order to enjoy their health benefits? Read more »

  • Wise up to Discretionary Foods for better health

    If you are struggling to lose weight or lower your cholesterol then taking a closer look at your intake of discretionary foods can improve your results. Read more »

  • Could you make healthier decisions when shopping?

    Every food item we drop into our supermarket trolley isn’t just affecting us but also the health of those we provide food for. How well do you shop? Read more »

  • How to put ‘real’ flavour into...

    It can be so easy to snip the top off a packet of flavouring when cooking. But if we really want to reduce the salt, fat and sugar in our diet natural flavours are best. Find out how. Read more »

  • Get children cooking this Christmas

    Increasing the confidence of children to cook from scratch is now seen as part of the strategy to reduce chronic diet related disease and obesity. We offer 12 top foods to know how to cook before leaving home. Read more »

  • Garnishes galore and all those “little...

    Is garnishing getting out of hand? Find out how much energy those "add ons" really do add. Read more »

  • 8 tips to help you break the sugar habit

    What habits would you like to break? With all eyes on sugar reduction learn the steps to make this happen to achieve better health now. Read more »

  • Time your eating for better performance?

    If playing sport or exercising, understanding the GI can help you to select foods that will provide optimal energy at key stages of activity for better performance. Read more »

  • What’s the fuss about fructose?

    Sugar has been the focus of attention lately amidst concerns for our dental health and obesity. But what about fructose, the sugar that intrinsically exists in fruits and vegetables? Could this be injurious to our health too? Read more »

  • Get into fruit and vegetables for optimal health

    Do you get your 5+ A Day servings of fruit and vegetables? Learn how gardening and creative activities can improve your consumption of these foods and maximise their nutritional benefits for better health. Read more »

  • 15 Tips for healthier barbeques this Christmas

    Are you planning a Barbeque this Christmas? It's not hard to lower everyone's saturated fat, salt and sugar intake while still serving beautiful, tasty food. Read more »

  • Tips to help you ‘shake off’ the...

    In a bid to reduce the intake of processed foods many food manufacturers are modifying their products to meet new food guidelines particularly regarding salt. Find out if you are still getting too much? Read more »

  • What’s to drink?

    As concern, regarding the sugar and energy content of carbonated drinks and fruit juice, gathers momentum many people are looking for alternative drinks to have. Read more »

  • Is going “Gluten Free” a healthy...

    As the popularity of gluten- free diets grow we need to question whether in fact it is a healthy option for any of us and if not how can we make it so? Read more »

  • 8 Healthy tips when making ‘real food’...

    If we choose a lifestyle where others grow and process our food can we be sure that it is still safe to eat? Find out more. Read more »

  • Does your diet tick all the boxes?

    Is dieting still fun if it ages you? Find out if your diet ticks all the boxes for your better health and performance. Read more »

  • Organic food markets are gaining traction

    Organic foods are more expensive but as more farms convert to organic food production the costs do come down and the savings to the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality may, in the long-term, be money well spent Read more »

  • Fish and mercury contamination

    While fish can also contain some mercury it is still possible to enjoy the health benefits of eating fish and keep the exposure to mercury within safe limits. Read more »

  • Juice diets – are they as healthy as...

    For busy people, who might rather drink than chew their fruits and vegetables, the juicing trend sounds like a "gods send". What possible disadvantages could there be to health? Find out the pros and cons of this new diet craze. Read more »

  • Taste is important to fluid consumption

    Taste is an important factor affecting fluid choice and level of consumption and therefore is an important consideration to overall sporting performance Read more »

  • Feeling full is the secret to weight loss

    Gaining an understanding of the many factors contributing to a sense of fullness can provide some very powerful tools for those seeking to lose or control body weight and find more energy for life! Read more »

  • Milk matters

    How safe is cow’s milk in the raw and homogenised state? When can cow’s milk be given to infants and how can we protect children against developing allergies to cow’s milk? These are just some of the questions that have come up in the media lately and are in need of some clarification Read more »

  • Muesli and sports bars can aid performance

    Muesli and sports bars are designed to provide a convenient source of energy to be thrown into a lunchbox, gym bag or pocket and eaten “on the run”. However if eaten daily as a “lolly” or relied on as a meal replacement they can lead to unnecessary weight gain. If used wisely during training and competition they can provide athletes with a measured source of carbohydrate vital to performance. Read more »

  • Healthy meals for one

    Coming home to a nutritious cooked family meal was once the norm for many of us. Recent social change however is now seeing more people living in single dwellings many of whom are turning to meals “on the run” that are quick and easy to prepare Read more »

  • Can coconut improve our health?

    Coconut oil was once associated with tanning. Something young people coated themselves with before lying out in the sun “to bake”. Today coconut products are being heralded by many as the new “wonder food" that can cure many ailments. We take a look at some of these claims. Read more »

  • Food planning is important for hiking safety

    Research does show more injuries occur in the mid-late afternoon in open country than other times of day. This is often when people become dehydrated, their muscle levels of energy (glycogen) can become depleted and blood glucose levels may be falling, all factors which lead to fatigue Read more »

  • Sugar control is essential for better health

    After years of encouraging a low fat diet with some success (a decline in heart disease and some forms of cancer) attention is now focusing on sugar as a possible reason for our weight and diabetic problems. Read more »

  • Boosting fibre intake offers health benefits

    Research shows that a diet high in fibre can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, bowel and breast cancer, gallstones, diverticular disease and weight gain. It also seems that some fibres are better than others. Read more »

  • How to increase the ‘Good’ fats...

    If you are thinking of cutting fat out of your diet stop right now. Fat is important for nerve and cellular function but choosing the right “type” of fat is what matters most to our long term health. Read more »

  • Can a high fat diet improve sports performance?

    Fat carries more energy than other macro nutrients (9kcals/37kJ/g compared to 7kcal/29kJ/g for alcohol and 4kcal/17kJ/g for protein and carbohydrate respectively). So with so much energy to offer does eating more improve performance? Read more »

  • How much food do you waste every day?

    In New Zealand around 258,886 tons of food waste is dumped in landfill each year. This equates to around 64kg of food waste per person/year in NZ compared to 82kg /person/ year in the USA. Read more »

  • Healthy ideas for family takeaway meals

    Did you know that in 2012 around 21% of New Zealander’s weekly food expenditure was spent on eating out and takeaways? Read more »

  • Are you a “sneaky snacker”?

    Some people find it hard to control snacking and are continuously thinking about food. They may find themselves constantly picking, stock piling foods in drawers and cupboards at home and work. Read more »

  • Give healthier gifts this Christmas

    If you want to enjoy the company of friends and family when you get older then if is important that you look after their health, as well as your own, as you age. Read more »

  • “Free foods” for hungry children

    Free foods", while bulky, are very low in energy and filling. So their cost in terms of calories is much lower than most other dietary components, hence the term "free". As these foods are also naturally fat free they make ideal snacks for anyone trying to control body weight Read more »

  • Party plans for children

    Birthday parties should be fun and the chance to celebrate a child’s special day with a minimum of work and cost for busy parents. If the party can be timed to fit around a normal meal time then “junk” foods can be kept to a minimum. Read more »

  • Care for “the carers” during family...

    When family members are sick or hospitalised it can be very challenging to find the time to exercise and maintain a healthy diet for yourself. Particularly if you are working, caring for children, or trying to complete a course of study. Read more »

  • What are our children drinking?

    In 2015 New Zealanders consumed a total of 518 million liters of carbonated drinks. Outside of the drinking of milk and water there is real concern about the energy content of some of these beverages because of our rising incidence of diabetes and obesity. Read more »

  • Drink milk for better health

    Fonterra’s announcement that it will sponsor free milk in schools is good news for the future health of young New Zealanders. Milk is promoted on the basis of bone health but there are many other health benefits that should be promoted. Read more »

Would you like to subscribe to our fantastic FREE monthly newsletter?

Each month we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest nutritional articles and healthy recipes from You are free to opt out at any time, but we think you'll enjoy what we've got in-store for you.

Plus as a bonus offer — subscribe today and receive FREE weight loss tips for two weeks! Learn how a number of foods, many one would consider 'healthy', may in fact be slowing your progress.


Yes please, it sounds great! (and it's FREE after all).



No thanks, I'm not interested (or I'm already a subscriber and really enjoying these fantastic newsletters!).