With the rise in awareness about the effects of our diets on both the environment and our wellbeing, more and more individuals are opting to lead a vegan lifestyle.
Moreover, the benefits such as fewer saturated fats and increased nutritional value ensure reduced risks of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
With all these positive aspects, it’s no wonder that a huge chunk of the new generation is turning their backs on a long-established meat-based diet.
However, when it comes to coffee lovers who are willing to walk on the path of veganism, one question remains: Does vegan coffee exist?
Moreover, as they embark on their vegan lifestyle, they might wonder how this new change would affect their coffee-consumption habits.
If you are one of those individuals, you have come to just the right place. Here is all you need to know about getting that caffeine kick that you crave for in the morning while you remain true to your vegan lifestyle:
- 1 Is Coffee 100% Vegan-Friendly?
- 2 Does Coffee Have Animal Products?
- 3 What Are Some Steps You Can Take to Make Sure You Are Getting Vegan Coffee?
- 4 What Do Vegans Put In Their Coffee Instead Of Milk?
- 5 Bottom Line
Is Coffee 100% Vegan-Friendly?
Most individuals believe that just because coffee beans are actually a plant, they are vegan. However, it is not as simple as that.
You need to think about where your coffee is coming from, how it is being produced and treated by the farmers, and whether the animals and natural habitats that live in them are protected.
It is essential that you learn answers to all these questions before coming to a final conclusion.
People who decide to become vegan usually think beyond the food they consume. Veganism is a way of living for many, and it is about treating the world well, living ethically, and also caring for other living beings that share this planet with them.
They are then dried, shipped, and finally roasted. This process gives the coffee beans the dark brown color that we are all familiar with.
Now while the coffee beans are definitely a 100% vegan, there are some other factors you need to consider before you believe that the coffee you are drinking is vegan. These factors are better explained in the following section.
Does Coffee Have Animal Products?
In order to live a purely vegan lifestyle, all animal products, as well as by-products, need to be off limits.
This includes any products such as honey, eggs, milk and even materials such as wool and leather. As mentioned earlier, veganism isn’t just merely about a diet choice; instead it is a set of values that vegans pledge to live by.
Therefore, before you assume that you are good to go with a strong cup of black coffee, think twice.
The way in which your coffee beans are grown and cultivated might conflict with your vegan philosophy and ethical values. For ages, coffee plants were grown under a canopy of trees that grew in shade.
This ensured mulching of fallen leaves that retained soil quality and also offered a safe habitat for many animals and bird species. As a result, there was no need for any harmful chemical intervention as the birds delivered natural pest control.
However, a new hybrid coffee plant species emerged in 1972 that could easily grow and thrive in direct sun. It developed at a quicker pace and also brought out a higher yield as compared to its shade-loving predecessor.
Moreover, as these beans were capable of growing under direct sunlight, this meant that this new species of beans was easier and more convenient to harvest.
Due to the harvesting process becoming easier, this new way began gaining popularity and eventually became the most common and convenient way to grow coffee beans.
However, along with the ease and convenience came the need of intensive use of fertilizers and chemical pesticides. This was due to the fact that this new breed didn’t benefit from the nutrients and protection offered by the canopy.
Most coffee beans today are grown through this same process. This growing practice has lead to toxic water runoff, soil nutrient depletion, and soil erosion.
The most significant effect of this new practice is that it led to large areas of unsustainable deforestation which eventually resulted in a huge loss of biodiversity and a decline of 20% in the overall population of precious migratory birds.
The negative impact that these coffee beans grown in the sun have on the environment conflicts with the interests and values of vegans, as they believe strongly in the protection of the environment and the wildlife.
Therefore, it is essential to make sure that the coffee you are consuming comes from responsible and environmentally friendly ways.
There are several certifications that might help you make sure that your coffee beans are grown in a way that conserves the natural rainforests and the precious habitat they provide.
The institute, Rainforest Alliance, aims to safeguard soils, expand the livelihood of hardworking farmers and their beloved families, conserve wildlife and protect waterways.
You can easily find Rainforest Alliance certified coffee as it is readily available in numerous restaurants, bars and cafes. This certification reassures vegans about the impact their consumed coffee has on the planet.
Similarly, the Bird Friendly certification is also one of the most comprehensive attestations that are awarded only to coffee that is entirely grown in shade along with strict requirements that need to be met fully before any certification is approved.
The Bird Friendly certification is the highest attestation when it comes to the protection of the environment and the wildlife.
However, you might find it quite challenging to find Bird Friendly certified coffee beans as it is as exclusive as it gets.
You can also look out for organic certification as coffee beans that are entirely organic are grown without the usage of any chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
One high-quality dark roast coffee that is both Fair trade and organic is the ‘Underdog Coffee’s Tromso’.
All the aforementioned information about the connection between coffee beans and animal products will help you figure out if the product you are getting is ethically sourced and grown or not.
What Are Some Steps You Can Take to Make Sure You Are Getting Vegan Coffee?
Following are some things you can do to make sure that the coffee you are about to consume is vegan-friendly:
- You can ask your barista about the origin of the coffee they are serving. You might be surprised to learn that most independent coffee places take this issue quite seriously. While your vegan coffee might cost more than usual, it will be worth it when you’ll know that its production process aligns with your values and beliefs.
- Opt for a re-usable cup. This way you can easily cut down on any unnecessary wastage.
- Look out for Fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, and organic logos.
- Use a re-usable filter or a cafetiere instead of a disposable filter to prepare your delicious cup of coffee.
- Check the ingredients of any condiments such as sugar, cream, milk and syrups to make sure that they comply with your vegan lifestyle.
What Do Vegans Put In Their Coffee Instead Of Milk?
Following are some non-dairy alternatives for dairy milk that you can put in your vegan coffee:
Oat milk has a smooth texture and a creamy taste. While it can be foamed, it might produce larger bubbles.
Almond milk tastes bitter sometimes and it has a nutty flavor. You can also use vegan sugar to soften the taste a bit.
Soy milk has a creamy texture and a smooth taste. Professionals can easily create foam similar to dairy milk with this non-dairy alternative.
Hemp milk has a slightly vegetal and nutty flavor. It steams well relatively.
While rice milk has a neutral taste, it might leave your coffee a bit more watery than usually desired.
Cashew milk has a slightly less nutty flavor and a more sweet taste.
When it comes to taste, pea milk is known as the best substitute for dairy milk as it doesn’t leave a vegetal or nutty taste behind.
After conducting extensive research, we conclude that yes, vegan coffee does exist.
You can use non-dairy alternatives as mentioned above, and check the source of your coffee beans to find out their ethical and eco credentials to make sure that you don’t go against your moral values and beliefs.
For all the coffee lovers out there, there is no reason for you to give up coffee in order to enjoy a vegan lifestyle – as long as you put some extra efforts in the process, you can simply enjoy the best of both worlds!Last updated on: