Is Coffee Vegan?

is coffee vegan

Because coffee is a fruit that grows on a tree, coffee is vegan as long as you drink it black on its own or with sugar.

Lots of people drink coffee with milk and so if you are vegan or perhaps currently vegetarian and considering becoming vegan then you cannot drink coffee with dairy milk although there are many alternatives available if you like to drink white coffee.

What kind of coffee is best for Vegans?

For many vegans making the choice to eliminate all animal products or any food derived from animals is much more than just a choice of diet, it represents who they are, their beliefs and the values by which they choose to live their life.

Many vegans also care deeply about the environment and the way we treat our planet. They try to consume products that are grown in a sustainable and fair way.

Organic coffee does not contain any pesticides or man-made chemicals ensuring that it is 100% natural.

Not only is organic coffee much better for the environment but it also tastes much better because chemicals applied to the coffee cherries whilst they grow to kill off the bugs, penetrates through to the coffee beans inside and can have an adverse effect on the flavour.

You will have to pay a bit more for organic coffee but the benefit you get far outweighs the small extra cost.

Find out more about Organic coffee in our detailed article:

What Is Organic Coffee?

Something else to look out for as a vegan is the Fairtrade label on coffee. Lots of coffee produced around the world comes from some of the poorest nations in the world.

Sometimes they can be taken advantage of but Fairtrade certified coffee ensures that everyone gets a fair deal.

Find out more about Fairtrade coffee int his article:

What is Fairtrade coffee?

Whilst all coffee is vegan, if being vegan means more to you than just the diet itself then drinking Fairtrade organic coffee is a great choice.

The best vegan milk for coffee

There are no exact numbers of vegetarians or vegans and numbers are based on surveys that may not be representative of the whole population however one thing for certain is that the number of vegans is definitely on the rise.

The Vegan Society suggests that that the number of vegans in Great Britain has multiplied by 4 in the period from 2014 to 2019 going from 0.25% of the population in 2014 to 1.16% in 2019.

Just over 1% of the population living a vegan diet doesn’t sound like much but with a population of more than 66,000,000 people that means there are more than 600,000 vegans and the rise seems set to continue.

That is a number that cannot be ignored and the good news is that if you are a vegan but you like white coffee then you can choose from a range of different options.

The main high street coffee shops will offer soy milk, almond milk and sometimes coconut milk as well.

Because plant-based milk is much more expensive than regular dairy milk some coffee shops charge more for plant-based milk and others don’t so if you don’t drink dairy milk its worth checking out which coffee shops do not add a surcharge as it will save you quite a bit of money over the long term.

All of these are available in your local supermarket and it really does come down to personal taste so the best thing to do is to try out the most popular ones and see how it works with your palette.

Soy milk is probably the most popular and as long as you heat it correctly in a milk frothing jug and with a steam wand you can actually get a really good texture that comes pretty close to dairy.

Soy has a naturally nutty flavour to it so be careful not to add too much of it to your coffee or it can overpower it.

Almond milk is the next best milk to mix with your coffee if you are steering away from dairy.

It works best with lightly roasted coffee but you need to be careful that it doesn’t split in the cup and leave the milk curdling. Make sure you heat your milk to a similar temperature to the coffee to avoid the risk of the milk curdling.

Almond milk is also quite sweet so you won’t need to add as much sugar.

There are many others that you can try such as oat milk and coconut milk but these are best tried if you like a flavoured coffee because they have quite strong flavours on their own.

Creating the right texture and temperature for plant-based milk is important if you want to get them to work in harmony with your coffee in the same way as dairy milk.

You can get powdered milk that is vegan but that is not something we recommend because it just ruins the flavour of coffee and you are better off drinking it black than adding the powdered stuff.

Here are a couple of articles to help you heat and froth your milk in the ideal way to get the best cappuccinos and lattes out of plant-based milk:

How to froth milk

The best milk frothers

Is Instant coffee vegan?

Instant coffee goes through a lot of processing before it ends up in a jar full of coffee granules but none of those processes involves any animal products or derivatives so yes, instant coffee is vegan.

Instant coffee may be the easiest way to make a cup of coffee but it’s the least flavoursome for many reasons. Try one of the other methods for brewing coffee and you will enjoy it a whole lot more.

Find out more in one of these articles:

The best way to make a coffee

What is instant coffee?

So the bottom line is that if you are vegan then you can drink black coffee to your heart’s content because coffee is ground down from the seeds inside coffee cherries that once roasted we call coffee beans.

That makes coffee beans 100% plant-based and therefore vegan. It’s only when you start to add milk that you need to choose something non-dairy and there is plenty of choice ensuring you can enjoy a latte the same as everyone else.

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