Is Coffee Vegan? Oh, please sweet universe if Coffee is not vegan, I seriously do not know what I am going to do. For a start, my mornings are never going to be the same again. I mean how could it not be right? In the US around 400 Million cups of coffee are drunk per day with the average coffee-drinking American consuming 3 cups of coffee per day. That’s around 65% of Americans who drink coffee daily according to the National Coffee Association. In 2020/2021 the entire planet consumed 166.63 million x 60 kg bags of coffee. Coffee is so ingrained into our daily routines that 65% of coffee consumption takes place during breakfast hours with 31% of coffee drinkers making coffee the most important part of the morning (brewing a cup first before any other morning behavior). In fact, 58% of coffee drinkers brew their coffee the same way every morning.
Coffee is literally the most popular beverage in the country bar water and that is not even the most amazing fact about coffee (that one involves goats, yes goats, as you will learn below). If it wasn’t vegan someone would have noticed by now, right?
It got me thinking about coffee being so rooted in our everyday lives how much do we really know about this drink? Is Coffee Vegan? Isn’t it about time to find out? In this article, we explain what coffee is, if it is vegan, and things to watch out for when buying coffee that could make it not vegan.
Is Coffee Vegan?
As a general rule, coffee itself is vegan (except for Kopi Luwak or as it is also known Weasel Coffee). Coffee is simply the by-product of roasting coffee beans from the Coffea plant. The seeds of the coffee cherries are harvested, collected, and then roasted by coffee manufacturers. During the roasting process, coffee beans are treated with forms of heat for differing periods to produce different roasts.
Is Coffee Vegan – The History Of Coffee
The story begins all the way back in 9th Century Ethiopia. Kaldi, a young goatherder notices his flock getting more and more energetic whenever they would eat a local berry. Curious, he grabbed some of the said berries, took them home, and ate them. Our love affair with coffee began and you can officially thank goats for that.
Is Coffee Vegan – Coffee Facts That Will Shock You
Before getting into whether coffee is vegan or not, I wanted to shock you with some genuine coffee facts I came across in my research. These all genuinely surprised me:
- It can be good for you: some studies show coffee to have a positive health effect. It can help to reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s and help with Type 2 diabetes and protect women from skin cancer. Also, according to the University of Georgia apparently drinking coffee after a workout can help decrease muscle pain by 48%. Pretty good right?
- Dark Roasts have less caffeine than light-roasted coffee – yes, that is right. Despite the stronger flavor. Dark Roasted coffee contains less caffeine despite its stronger taste. This is due to the longer roasting process burning off more caffeine.
- Decaf is not “caffeine free” – yes, decaf coffee still contains around 2 – 12 milligrams of caffeine in it. This is still a lot less than a normal cup of coffee which contains 95 – 200 milligrams of coffee in an 8 oz cup.
- How much should I drink per day – According to the Mayo Clinic you should not drink more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. That works out to be 4 cups of brewed coffee (or as a comparison 10 cans of Cola or two energy shot drinks).
- Coffee comes from fruit – “Omg, wait you got to be kidding me”. Nope, kid you not. Coffee isn’t even a bean. It is a seed that comes from the Coffea Plant. A cherry-producing plant that produces stone fruits containing coffee seeds. The reason they are called coffee “beans” and not seeds is because the coffee seeds are oval and bean-like in shape.
Vegan Coffees At Starbucks
Do you love Coffee? Do you love going to Starbucks? Ever wanted to know exactly what is and what isn’t vegan on the Starbucks menu (spoiler alert: caramel sauce isn’t)? Then check out my article: How To Actually Order A Vegan Drink At Starbucks where I break down every drink item on the Starbucks menu.
Or, are you replacing your coffee addiction with some Boba Tea Love? Want to know if that is vegan. I have you covered with my article: How To Find Out “Is Boba Vegan?”.
Is Coffee Vegan – Things To Look Out For
While, yes, roast coffee is vegan. There are some things to particularly look out for which can change this.
Kopi Luwak is considered by many to be the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans that have been digested by a Civet Cat and then pooped back out. The coffee dung is then used to brew coffee. Hence the nickname “cat poop coffee” or “weasel coffee”. Originating in Bali, Indonesia this coffee can sell for up to as much as $600 a pound and up to $100 a cup. This coffee is not vegan and is not humane for the Civet Cats used to produce it.
Milk – the most obvious culprit for turning your cup of Java non-vegan is, of course, milk. The main thing to look out for is the addition of any type of milk when ordering a latte or any milk-based coffee drink. Today, I have not come across a coffee shop that does not have dairy-milk alternatives available. Below are some of my favorite milk alternatives plus some options for you to buy at home:
Is Coffee Vegan – Vegan Coffee Milk
|Type of Milk
Oatly, Original Barista Oat Milk (Amazon link)
Califa Farms Almond Milk (Amazon link)
365 by WFM, Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Amazon link)
West Soy Unsweetened Organic Soymilk (Amazon link)
Is Coffee Vegan – Less Common Dairy Milk Alternatives
These dairy milk alternatives are the ones you are not as likely to find in Coffee shops but can buy for use at home.
|Type of Milk
Pacific Foods Original Hemp Milk (Amazon link)
Forager Project, Organic Unsweetened Plain Cashew Milk (Amazon link)
Dream Blends Enriched Original Organic Rice Milk (Amazon link)
Milkadamia, Unsweetened Macadamia Milk (Amazon link)
Is Coffee Creamer Vegan?
Be aware that often dairy-free powdered creamers are not vegan. This is because they contain Casein. Be on the lookout for locations that sell filter coffees or the powered coffee creamers offered in waiting rooms along with free coffee. It is also something to watch out for when buying a powdered dairy-free creamer to use at home. If you are looking for a really good powdered coffee creamer I recommend Laird Superfood Cacao Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer on Amazon here.
Similarly, if you are looking for a liquid vegan coffee cream check out Califa Farms, Pecan Caramel Almond Milk Coffee Creamer on Amazon here.
Whipped Cream is not vegan, and I am yet to find a coffee shop that offers vegan whipped cream for my coffee. However, you can have vegan whipped cream squirted on top of your coffee at home with Wholefood’s 365 Oat Based Whipped Cream on Amazon here.
Sugar is a difficult area for vegans. That is because some sugars are processed using bone char so some vegans choose to avoid any sugar that could have been processed with bone char. If you are looking for a sweeter coffee then consider using an organic, raw, unrefined, or beet sugar-sweetened coffee (these won’t have been processed with bone char). Or even better maple syrup or date if they have it as an option.
Sauces and Syrups
Generally, sauces (for example caramel sauce) do not tend to be vegan. However, thin syrups often are. It is best to double-check with the barrister.
If you don’t want to drink anything that is tested on animals then artificial sweeteners are something to watch out for as they are often tested on animals.
Is Coffee Vegan? – The Final Sip
Unless your coffee bean comes from some “Cat Dung”, coffee itself is vegan. “YES, I knew it. Oh, happy days”. Unless you like your coffee just completely black then the main thing you must look for is what is being added to your favorite Java or Cup of Joe to create your caffeinated beverage of choice. For me, this isn’t so much an issue as I tend to just order an oat milk latte (coffee and oat milk). My general rule of thumb is that the more complicated the drink the less likely it is going to be vegan. Learn to enjoy the bean and the flavor it gives and you will find you no longer need any added caramel or other “extras” any longer. And remember the next time you drink a coffee take some time to thank Kaldi and his goats because without them we would probably never have coffee.
…now you know.
Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.
Like what you are reading
Like this article, want to find out more? Want to know if your favorite Root Beer, Soda, Wine, Beer, or even if your morning coffee (yes, your morning coffee) is vegan? Then check out some of our other articles and sign up for our newsletter below:
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