Vegan Drinks at Costa Coffee – if like me you have ever lived in the UK then you will have heard of Costa Coffee. It is the leading coffee chain in the UK, beating out Starbucks for the number one spot making a whopping £880.59 million compared to Starbucks ’ £361.7 million. Growing up in the UK, the first “coffee chain” to set up was Costa Coffee. We didn’t get a Starbucks for another 10 years. By that point, there were three Costa Coffee stores in my town. In fact, my now wife, when she first came to visit me asked when she got off at the train station “where is the nearest Starbucks?” at which point I responded, “we don’t have a Starbucks – we have a Costa though”. Her response and I quote here: “What Town doesn’t have a Starbucks?!”. Thank you for that stroll down memory lane. With the popularity of Costa in the UK and mainland Europe (it has the largest number of stores in the UK), it only means one thing – it’s time to break down all the beverages at Costa Coffee and find out all the Vegan Drinks at Costa Coffee.
What Drinks Are Vegan At Costa?
There are vegan hot coffees and teas as well as plant-based kinds of milk on the Costa menu, so various drinks can be made vegan with substitutions. Costa also offers a vegan Latte + range. The chocolate powder used in mochas and cappuccinos is not vegan due to potential cross-contamination and a number of the Frostinos and specialty hot chocolates contain dairy and cannot be made vegan.
Costa’s online menu provides a transparent breakdown of what is vegan and what’s not, allowing customers to specifically select drinks which are “vegan”, as well as “gluten-free” and “nut-free”. Costa is also one of the few coffee chains to distinguish between “dairy-free” and “vegan” for example – Peach Iced Tea comes up as “dairy-free” but not as “vegan”. This means that even if your barista is not able to tell you what is vegan or not at a Costa store you will be able to tell straight away through their interactive online menu.
Another nice thing to know about Costa is that you don’t have to worry about sugar processed with bone char. Sugar is an issue that constantly pops up in almost every Vegan Bev HQ article I have done. If you have read any of my other posts, you will have noticed the recurring theme of: “yes it looks vegan…apart from the fact that it contains sugar…sugar may not be suitable for vegans because of the potential of being processed with bone char”. This is because bone char is typically used in the United States to process sugar. It is rarely used in the UK (the use of bone char is heavily regulated in Europe).
Vegan Costa Coffee At Home
But first, are you a Brit living abroad and feeling super sad you can no longer enjoy a cup of Costa java (as a Brit living in the US I hear you!)? I have some good news – you can buy Costa ground coffee, whole bean coffee, and k-cups on Amazon.
Without further ado, let’s dig in.
Vegan Drinks at Costa Coffee – Menu Break Down
What exactly are the vegan drinks at Costa Coffee? In this section, I will break down all the drink items on the menu and provide summary tables for you to easily refer to.
Are the Coffees at Costa Vegan?
Several of the hot coffee drinks at Costa are vegan as-is or are vegan if ordered with soya, coconut, almond, or oat milk. Even more excitingly, there is no longer any extra charge for vegan milk.
I have summarized the vegan and non-vegan hot coffee drinks at Costa below.
If you would like to read more about whether coffee, in general, is vegan, you can here – Is Coffee Vegan? How To Find Out The Truth.
|Vegan Coffee Drinks at Costa Coffee||Non-Vegan Coffee Drinks at Costa Coffee|
|Latte (order with Soy, Almond, Coconut, or Oat Milk)||Gingerbread Latte & Cream (even if you order with plant-based milk it will still contain egg and milk)|
|Flat White (order with Soy, Almond, Coconut, or Oat Milk)||Cappuccino|
|Cortado (order with Soy, Almond Coconut, or Oat Milk)|
|Caramel Cortado (order with Soy, Almond Coconut, or Oat Milk)|
Some Commonly Asked Questions
Is The Mocha from Costa Vegan?
The mocha from Costa is not vegan, even if ordered with plant-based milk. This is because the chocolate powder used could have been cross-contaminated with dairy. Dairy is not an actual ingredient in the chocolate powder, so some vegans may be comfortable drinking the chocolate powder.
Why Is the Costa Cappuccino Not Vegan?
The Costa Cappuccino is not vegan (even if ordered with plant-based milk) due to the chocolate dusting on top of the cappuccino, which could have been cross-contaminated with dairy. Dairy is not an actual ingredient in the chocolate powder, so some vegans may be comfortable drinking the chocolate powder. If you are not comfortable with the cross-contamination risk and still have a hankering for a vegan Costa Cappuccino you could always order one with plant-based milk and without the chocolate dusting on top.
Do You Love Coffee?
Do you love coffee and just want an easy and complete guide that tells you all the rules of thumb on how to order vegan coffee or drinks at any coffee chain or restaurant? If you do – great then check out my complete guide to ordering vegan coffee below:
Are Costa Hot Chocolates and Other Drinks Vegan?
In this section, I look at other non-coffee hot drinks including hot chocolate.
Is the Costa Hot Chocolate Vegan?
The Costa hot chocolate is not vegan (even if ordered with plant-based milk) due to the chocolate powder used. This is because the chocolate powder used could have been cross-contaminated with dairy. Dairy is not an actual ingredient in the chocolate powder so some vegans may be comfortable drinking the chocolate powder.
The Costa White Hot Chocolate and the Blackforest Hot Chocolate & Cream both contain dairy as actual ingredients so are definitely not vegan, even if ordered with plant-based milk.
Does Costa Have a Vegan Hot Chocolate?
Costa Coffee does not currently have vegan hot chocolate.
Is Costa Coffee Chai Latte Vegan?
The Chai Latte is vegan if ordered with plant-based milk, meaning that the Costa Chai Latte does not contain honey. Many chai lattes at other coffee shops such as Starbucks do contain honey, making them non-vegan (for example at Starbucks the Chai Tea Latte is not vegan – see my post How To Actually Order Vegan Starbucks Drinks).
|Non-Vegan Costa Hot Chocolates||“Other” Vegan Drinks at Costa|
|Hot Chocolate||Chai Latte|
|White Hot Chocolate|
|Blackforest Hot Chocolate|
Are Costa’s Latte + Coffees Vegan?
Costa Coffee has a range of three Latte + drinks that are already made with plant-based milk and which have added vitamins and minerals added (such as protein, zinc, and vitamin B12). All three Latte + drinks are vegan as is. These were all drinks introduced since I left the UK – the Hazelnut Almond Latte + Protein would be my personal pick.
|Vegan Costa Latte + Drinks|
|Caramel Oat Latte + Vitamin B12 and Zinc|
|Vanilla Coconut Latte + Vitamin B12 and Zinc|
|Hazelnut Almond Latte + Protein|
Are Costa’s Coffees Over Ice Vegan?
In this section, I break down the Iced Coffees at Costa Coffee. Below is a summary table of the vegan and non-vegan iced coffees available at Costa:
|Vegan Costa Coffees Over Ice||Non-Vegan Costa Coffees Over Ice|
|Iced Latte (ordered with Soy, Oat, Almond, or Coconut Milk)||Iced Flat White (the whipped foam on top contains dairy)|
|Cold Brew Coffee Black||Iced Cappuccino (the whipped foam contains dairy and the chocolate may have been cross-contaminated with dairy)|
|Iced Americano Black||Cold Brew Coffee with Whipped Milk (the whipped milk foam contains dairy)|
|Iced Mocha (the chocolate sauce contains dairy)|
Is Costa Iced Mocha Vegan?
The Costa Iced Mocha is not vegan as the chocolate sauce used contains dairy as an ingredient (compared to the chocolate powder used in cappuccinos, hot chocolate, and hot mochas which is not vegan due to potential dairy cross-contamination).
Seeing how the iced flat white, iced cappuccino, and cold brew with whipped milk are not vegan due to the whipped foam on top, this begs the question…does Costa Do Vegan Whipped Cream.
Does Costa Do Vegan Whipped Cream?
While UK Costa coffee shops do not currently carry a vegan whipped cream, Costa just released vege kream made from flora plant in all its Polish locations. Fingers crossed it gets rolled out to further locations.
Which Frostinos Are Vegan At Costa?
Frostinos are the specialty iced drinks at Costa Coffee (like a Frappuccino). There are currently five Frostinos on the Costa Menu. Out of the five Frostinos on the Costa Coffee menu, only the Coffee Frostino can be ordered vegan if ordered with oat, soya, almond, or coconut milk.
|Vegan Costa Frostino||Non-Vegan Costa Frostino|
|Coffee Frostino (if ordered with Soy, Oat, Almond, or Coconut Milk)||Belgian Chocolate & Cream Frostino|
|Salted Caramel & Cream Frostino|
|Mint Choc Chip Frostino & Cream|
|Strawberry & Cream Frostino|
Which Costa Fruit Coolers and Iced Teas are Vegan?
Fruit Coolers are smoothie-like creations and the Ice Teas are…well Iced Teas. Both Fruit Coolers on the Costa menu (mango & passion and red summer berries) are vegan. The Strawberry Iced Infusion is vegan, but the Peach Iced Tea is not vegan. Interestingly the peach iced tea is dairy-free. It is not clear what the non-vegan ingredient is, but I am confident it is most likely to be honey. Honey is most often present in iced tea (if you would like to read more about it in the post, I wrote you can – Is Tea Vegan? Time to Know the Complete Facts).
|Vegan Costa Fruit Cooler & Iced Tea||Non-Vegan Costa Iced Tea|
|Mango & Passion Fruit Cooler||Peach Iced Tea|
|Red Summer Berries Iced Tea|
|Strawberry Iced Infusion|
Are The Teas at Costa Vegan?
Tea lovers rejoice, all the hot teas and infusions at Costa are vegan.
|Vegan Teas & Infusions at Costa|
|English Breakfast Tea (ordered with Soy, Oat, Almond or Coconut Milk)|
|Decaffeinated Tea (ordered with Soy, Oat, Almond, or Coconut Milk)|
|Earl Grey Tea|
|Pure Green Tea|
Costa To-Go Drinks
Like other brands, such as Starbucks, Costa also has a To-Go range you can buy in pre-packaged form from supermarkets and grocery stores. Are they vegan? Luckily enough I have covered this topic already in my Coca-Cola post – see Is Coca-Cola Vegan? Secrets to Know About Coca-Cola Drinks.
Coca-Cola? Yep, Coca-Cola. In 2019 Coca-Cola bought Costa Coffee as its first hot drinks brand for $5.1 billion. Not only does this mark a huge change for Coca-Cola betting on a large retail-based coffee chain, but it also means an increase in Costa “To-Go” pre-packaged drinks. If you want to know what “To-Go” drinks are vegan and what is not check out my Coca-Cola article.
Do you live in the US and you are feeling bummed that you can’t enjoy a cup of Costa vegan deliciousness? Fear not you can still have a taste of Costa from the comfort of your own home courtesy of Amazon – click on this link to see Costa Whole Bean coffee on Amazon.
Vegan Drinks at Costa Coffee – The Final Sip
Costa Coffee – it’s bigger than Starbucks…in the UK. In terms of vegan drinks and options, Costa is the same as most of the other main coffee chains out there. Yes, there are vegan options, but there are still a lot of things you can’t have. The Chocolate Powder on the Cappuccino was the biggest blow for me. How can you have a cappuccino without a sprinkling of chocolate powder? Seriously, just get some chocolate powder that has not potentially been cross-contaminated. How hard can that be?! However, that said, Costa, has by far one of the most vegan user-friendly menus I have come across for any coffee chain. Order at the store using their interactive online menu really makes ordering as a vegan easy and offers an extra safety net when the person serving doesn’t know. It happens. Also a big thumbs up to Costa for having a fully vegan as-is range as well as not charging extra for vegan milk.
…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
Want to know what is and is not vegan at other coffee chains and restaurants, such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Dunkin’ Donuts, Peet’s, Philz’s, or Dutch Bros. If you do, then check out my other posts below:
- How To Order Vegan Coffee? What Every Vegan Must Know
- How to Actually Order Vegan Starbucks Drinks
- Vegan Drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts – How to Actually Order Vegan
- Which Dutch Bros Drinks Are Vegan? The Complete Guide
- Vegan Drinks at Gloria Jean’s – How To Know What’s Vegan
- Vegan Drinks at Peet’s – How to Know What’s Vegan
- Vegan Drinks at Philz – How to Actually Order Vegan
- Vegan Drinks at Panera – How to Know What Is Vegan
- Vegan Drinks at Coffee Bean – How to Order Vegan
- Vegan Drinks at Biggby Coffee – How To Really Order Vegan
- Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte Vegan? The Amazing Truth