More and more people today focus on their well-being and nutrition and ditch the traditional meat-based diet for a vegan lifestyle.
Consumption of plant-based foods has many scientifically proven benefits including improved cholesterol levels and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Beyond the health benefits, veganism is a sustainable choice for the environment while fighting animals cruelty.
The vegan diet can be very different from the traditional style of eating in many ways. But what about coffee, can vegans drink coffee?
While in the supermarket, you can find coffee that’s labeled as “vegan”, this article will reveal whether it is something to consider or whether it’s simply a scam.
Read further to examine coffee in the context of a sustainable vegan worldview as well as look at vegan-friendly coffee beans and coffee machines.
What Is Vegan Coffee?
Veganism is a diet choice that avoids the consumption of any animal products. This includes consumption of meat, fish, eggs dairy as well as any other animal-derived byproducts.
People who follow a vegan lifestyle also choose to avoid buying animal-tested cosmetic goods, leather, or other items which used animals for their production process.
Since coffee beans come directly from the coffee cherry plant and no animals are involved in their production process, unless you’re buying Kopi Luwak, coffee is completely plant-based and suitable for people who follow a vegan lifestyle.
If all the regular coffee is vegan, it means that there is no need to look for a “vegan” label on coffee beans, and it is just used for marketing purposes.
Black Vs Milky Vegan Coffee
For the coffee to remain vegan, it needs to be drunk black. Since vegans do not consume any dairy products, as soon as you add milk to coffee, it is no longer suitable for plant-based diets.
Black coffee also offers other benefits, it is high in antioxidants, low in calories, and doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels, which is why many health-conscious people prefer to consume their coffee this way.
But since black coffee is an acquired taste and you might prefer mixing your coffee with milk to make the beverage milder and less bitter, there are plenty of vegan alternatives that are readily available in the stores and cafes today.
Here are the best vegan kinds of milk for coffee:
Oat milk has a similar flavor to dairy milk, contains Vitamin A, D, and B12, and is good for steaming.
Soy milk is popular and readily available in cafes all around the world. It has a mild flavor and smooth creamy texture which foams well but can curdle when mixed with coffee cold.
Almond milk is a popular choice that has a subtle nutty taste that works well with coffee but depending on the brand, some almond milk isn’t very creamy and can split.
Coconut milk has a subtle tropical coconut flavor and creaminess if you select a good brand.
Apart from these more popular options, you can also mix your coffee with macadamia milk, hemp milk, rice milk, cashew milk, or hazelnut milk.
Vegan Coffee Creamer
Similarly to milk, choose vegan coffee creamer, which is made of oats, soy, or another non-dairy alternative, to make sure your coffee is vegan.
The only thing to watch out for when buying coffee creamers, vegans should avoid creamers that are labeled as dairy-free or lactose-free.
While these products are suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, they still contain casein, which is derived from milk, making it unsuitable for vegans.
Vegan Lifestyle And Ethical Coffee
The vegan lifestyle is more than just about making the ingredients animal-free.
For most vegans, it is a lifestyle choice rather than a dietary requirement, which means that they also strive to only buy products that are ethical, good for the environment, and care about our planet, animals, and humans.
When you consider this, you need to bear in mind that some coffee can be grown and processed in a way that doesn’t align with the vegan philosophy.
In order to make sure the coffee you’re drinking agrees with the vegan lifestyle, avoid coffee that uses harmful chemical pesticides, damages the ecosystem, or doesn’t reward the farmers.
Instead of searching for the “vegan” label on the coffee beans, look for these certifications and attributes to make your coffee vegan-friendly.
When compared to sun-grown coffee, the shade-grown beans are safer for the wildlife, maintain biodiversity, reduce the need for fertilizers, improve the quality of the soil, and reduce soil erosion.
This certification means that the coffee beans have been grown in a way that conserves the birds and their natural habitat.
Rainforest Alliance Certification
This ensures that the coffee beans are produced in a way that conserves wildlife, protects waterways and soils, and well looks out for their farmers.
Organic coffee is produced without the use of harmful chemical pesticides or fertilizers that damage the ecosystem. Buying organic coffee reduces its impact on the environment, reduces soil erosion, toxic water runoff, and soil nutrient depletion.
Fair Trade Coffee
Vegan-friendly coffee supports ethical supply chains that give back to the farmers rather than the big corporations.
Fairtrade certified coffee supports a better life for farmers and their families by making sure they are fairly compensated for the product as well as directly providing community development and transparent trading partnerships.
Is Folgers Coffee Vegan?
Let’s look at one of the popular coffee brands, Folgers coffee.
This coffee prides itself in having a low carbon footprint and moderate water footprint, and of course, the beans are suitable for vegan diets.
You can also look up the green score of your product, which assesses its nutrition, processing, food safety, impact on the environment as well as toxic additives to make sure that your coffee is vegan and eco-friendly.
Vegan Decaf Coffee
Decaffeinating coffee is a process where green seeds are soaked in hot water and the caffeine oils are dissolved in methylene dichloride and ethyl acetate.
While this process doesn’t involve any animal products, it uses chemicals that might not align with the vegan lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a decaf coffee that uses a natural, chemical-free process to remove caffeine from the beans, select Swiss water decaf coffee.
What’s the Best Coffee Machine for Vegans?
While in most cases, traditional espresso machines are vegan-friendly, other coffee makers that use capsules can be a problem for people following a vegan lifestyle.
Since the aluminum construction of capsules that are coated with plastic is difficult to separate and recycle, each year, around 30,000 capsules end up in landfills where they take around 150-500 years to break down, polluting the environment on a large scale.
That’s why if you choose to prepare coffee with a capsule machine, select vegan society-approved capsules that are biodegradable, ethical, and sustainable.
Of course, to maintain the actual coffee vegan, select black coffee or coffee pots that use alternative types of milk, which have recently been launched in some countries by different companies and can produce almond, oat, or coconut flat whites.
Is Coffee Vegan?
Since coffee beans come from a plant and there are no animal products used in the production process, all coffee is vegan.
Vegans can enjoy regular black coffee as well as flat whites and cappuccinos when using alternative plant-based milk.
To make sure your coffee aligns with the vegan lifestyle and its production reduces the impact on the environment as well as rewards the farmers, search for beans that are Fair Trade, shade-grown, organic and Rainforest Alliance certified.