Skinny Meringue foam: My healthier low-calorie version of the Starbucks Cloud foam

I was thrilled to see that Starbuck's added a new line of coffee drinks inspired by the delicious Spanish drink "Leche Merengada".  The leche merengada is a meringue milk flavored with cinnamon and lemon.  It is popular in Spain, especially in the summer, as a cold drink or made into an ice cream or gelato.

Starbuck's refers to their espresso meringue powder milk foam drink as the "Cloud Macchiato". They offer it in caramel or cinnamon.  The cinnamon version is more like the traditional Spanish drink in that the drink is flavored with a cinnamon & lemon flavored syrup.

Both of the drinks are very sweet.  Too sweet for my liking. Even if I ask for just one pump of the syrup, it is still very sweet for me. So, I was on the quest for a skinny, low-fat version of the drink that I could make at home. I love the thick foam, but I prefer to have less sugary drinks that let the rich taste of the espresso flavor the foam.

My goal was to get the same thick meringue foam, but with much less sugar and fat.  I opted to substitute honey for the flavored syrup and tested out using meringue powder, egg white powder, or a combination of both, to make the meringue foam. 

So, I experimented with Wilton's Meringue Powder and Judee's Dried Egg White Powder . Both whip up great peaked meringue foam with just water as the liquid ingredient. You can, of course, choose another liquid.  But, I wouldn't recommend anything heavy like whole milk or half/half.  They will weigh down the meringue and you won't get the beautiful shiny peaks.  I actually whipped them up with just water and was thrilled with the result.  Again, my goal was to cut calories and sugar.

Both products whipped up great. But, when looking over the ingredients, the meringue powder has quite a bit of extra ingredients and has more calories than the plain egg whites.  The egg white powder has only one ingredient: dried egg whites.  

Nutritional Info on the Meringue Powder.

Nutritional Facts on the Egg White Powder. (This is the one I preferred.)


The first drink I made was for my daughter who loves chai more than espresso.  To make the foam, I used

1/2 tsp meringue powder
1/2 tsp egg white powder
1/4 c water

Mixed with an electric whisk for about 2.5 minutes and got this wonderfully thick foam.

This quantity would work well for a large 12-16 oz. glass, or 2 smaller 6-8 oz. glasses.

Meringue foam from 1/2 tsp of each of the powders and 1/4 cup of water. 

I made her a drink with:

2 oz of chai concentrate
4 oz of 2% milk 
ice cubes

I topped with the foam and then sprinkled cinnamon and drizzled with raw local honey. Total calories = about 130.

Iced Chai with Meringue Foam

The foam held up incredibly well.  Still foamy well after the drink was finished!


For me, I love espresso.  So, I made a test batch for a small one-shot iced espresso with meringue foam. I topped with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.  To cut down on calories and sugar content, I didn't use the meringue powder or any milk product. I used just the egg white powder with water and vanilla.  My drink had only 15-20 calories.

For my low-calorie, low-sugar meringue foam "cloud" iced espresso, I used**:

1 tsp egg white powder
1/4 cup of water (you can substitute with low-fat or skim milk, or almond milk, etc.)
1/8 tsp vanilla (optional)

I whipped this for about 2.5 minutes with an electric whisk.  

(**Note:This made too much foam for just my small 6 oz. cappuccino glass. You can easily cut this down to 1/2 tsp powder and 1/8 cup of water for just one serving and a splash of vanilla.) 

Poured one shot of espresso over ice and topped with the foam.  I then sprinkled the foam with cinnamon and a drizzle of raw local honey. (If you prefer a sweeter drink, consider adding a little honey to the espresso before you top with the foam. The foam is so thick that the honey stays on top.)

Meringue foam from 1 tsp egg white powder and 1/4 cup of water (before adding vanilla)

Iced espresso with meringue foam cinnamon and honey
The foam was so thick that the espresso wasn't even coming through the foam.  I took a spoon and stirred the foam into the espresso to flavor the foam a little more.  The foam stayed incredibly thick.  In fact, the foam lasted longer than the drinks and the ice cubes.  Even two hours later and the foam still has it's shape! Eventually it will separate, but it holds its shape incredibly well.

If you prefer a sweeter coffee, add a little honey to the espresso before you top with the foam.  I personally like my sweetness to stay on the foam, so I prefer to drizzle the foam with the honey.

UPDATE (My favorite so far for iced coffee):

Update on a sweeter version more similar to a Leche Merengada flavored foam.  Today, I made the meringue foam and flavored it with a tsp of lemonade and cinnamon.  It was delicious on iced espresso.  Here’s what I used for one serving:

1/2 tsp egg white powder
1/4 c of water
Drop of vanilla
1/2 tsp sugar 
1tsp lemonade
Cinnamon (to taste)

Milk or cream (if desired)

Add the egg white powder, water and vanilla to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whipped with handmixer for about two minutes until peaks formed.  I then sprinkled the top of the meringue with the sugar and mixed until the sugar was incorporated.  I then added a the lemonade and sprinkled the top of the meringue with cinnamon and mixed with the hand mixer a little more until the meringue was smooth, peaked and cloud-like.

Added one shot of espresso to a glass of ice.  Poured a tiny bit of half & half over the espresso to give a cascading effect and then topped with the foam.  Delicious! Calories were about 70. 

Alternatively: (note that this has higher sugar content and calories)
If you'd like to make the foam more like a traditional leche merengada. Make a lemon-cinnamon syrup by boiling water with sugar, a cinnamon stick and a little lemon zest. Boil until the mixture thickens.  Let cool.   Add this syrup to your coffee drink instead of the honey.


Ingredients and Utensils used: (The litte frother was use to froth the chai. It is not strong enough to whisk the egg whites. I needed the electric hand mixer with whisk attachment for the egg whites.)

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