More and more people are becoming vegan for a variety of health and ethical reasons. Though there is a wider range of vegan foods available now, you might be surprised to realize just how often animal products sneak into your favorite food and drinks. Here are four things to keep in mind when trying to figure out whether or not your coffee is vegan.
Learn How the Coffee Was Produced
Technically, all coffee may be vegan, but some brands of coffee are made in ways that result in harm to animal populations. Since many vegans believe strongly in protecting animals and the environment, you may want to stay away from certain coffee brands if you are a vegan. Look for products that contain the Rainforest Alliance seal to support coffee grown without clear-cutting rainforests and destroying local animal habitats.
Ask Before Drinking Premade Coffee
Most vegans would never dream of pouring milk or cream into a cup of coffee, but when you are grabbing a pre-made coffee drink, you might not realize that it contains dairy. Some companies, like 11th Street Coffee, know that a lot of fancy gourmet coffee drinks end up drizzled with chocolate syrup that contains dairy even if the rest of the drink is vegan. Before ordering a fancy premade coffee at a shop, try to learn about each individual ingredient.
Examine Your Mixers Carefully
If you hate drinking your coffee black, you might be tempted to grab one of the many exotically-flavored non-dairy creamer options. Though these products do not contain dairy, you should still be careful. Many of them contain stabilizers and preservatives made from animal products. Always read the label and research unknown ingredients before trying a non-dairy creamer.
Pick Vegan Sweeteners
Unfortunately, many sweeteners secretly contain non-vegan materials. Of course honey is not vegan, but some commercial simple syrups may be also be preserved with animal products. Some types of refined sugars are even processed with animal bone charcoal filters during refinement procedures. As always, it is important to thoroughly research products and their companies before supporting them.
By practicing just a little bit of caution, it is easy to weed out non-vegan coffee products. You can still make many delicious drinks with soy milk, agave syrup, and other vegan options, so dedicated caffeine addicts do not need to give up their favorite treat when they go vegan. Vegan options continue to expand, so you can even find many vegan coffee shops and companies that produce vegan coffee products.