With the increasing awareness of human diets and their impact on the environment, more and more people are shifting towards an eco-friendly diet. Many people switch to veganism to reduce their impact on the environment. A recent study reveals that nearly 9.7 million Americans are leading a vegan lifestyle, growing from around 2,90,000 people since 2004.
When choosing a vegan lifestyle, people usually turn their back to the traditional meat-based diet and focus on consuming a plant-based diet. However, there is one question that’s still on everyone’s mind: Do I need to sacrifice my coffee for a vegan diet? Is coffee vegan? Can Vegans drink coffee? Where does coffee fit when adopting a vegan lifestyle? If you are also wondering the same, you are at the right place. This article will expose the truth about vegan coffee, factors to consider when choosing a vegan coffee, and some healthy alternatives to dairy-based coffee creamers.
Is Coffee Vegan?
If you rely on your morning dose of caffeine to kick start your day, you must be wondering if vegans can drink coffee. So, Is Coffee Vegan? The short (and fantastic!) answer to this question is “Yes!”
To start with, there is no such thing as ‘vegan coffee’ because all coffee beans are vegan. Coffee is made from the berries of the coffee plant and is harvested and produced without using any animal product. The coffee beans are usually green when they are harvested. It is then dried and roasted to give a dark brown color. So, a freshly brewed cup of coffee without milk can be given clear vegan credentials.
What is Vegan & Veganism?
Being a vegan is a stricter form of vegetarianism where you avoid any food that is derived from animals.
The Vegan Society defines veganism as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable: all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.”
Veganism is a lifestyle choice- it is about living ethically and using products that are ethically sourced and created. It is about treating the world well and living sustainably with the creatures who share the planet with us.
And that is why not every coffee is vegan-friendly, even though they are technically all vegan. Let us find out what makes coffee beans vegan.
What makes Coffee Vegan? Can Vegans Drink Coffee?
Traditionally, coffee plants grew under a shaded canopy (with very little sunlight). The fallen leaves of the plants helped in retaining the soil quality, and the canopy also provided a natural habitat for many birds and animals. In return, these birds provided a natural pest control to the coffee crops without the need for any chemicals.
In 1972, farmers saw a new species of coffee plant that could be grown in direct sunlight and developed a quicker and higher yield. This is the modern way of growing coffee that involves extensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. It also led to a decline in the population of migratory birds.
This negative impact of modern coffee cultivation might conflict with your vegan values, and hence it is important to keep a few things in mind to find out whether or not your coffee is vegan.
Know how your coffee was produced: Though all coffee is vegan, some brands make special efforts to grow coffee beans without harming animals. Since vegans strongly believe in protecting animals and the overall environment, you should look out for products that have the Rainforest Alliance certification that ensures that coffee production did not impact the environment adversely. This certification aims to conserve wildlife, protect the soil and waterways, and support organic farming.
Check for bird-friendly certification: Similar to The Rainforest Alliance Certification, you should also check the Bird Friendly Certification for your coffee. It is the most comprehensive certification that is awarded only to brands that cultivate shade-grown coffee and protect the natural habitat of birds from deforestation. This certification ensures that your coffee is grown organically without any negative impact on the surrounding wildlife and environment.
Check the ingredients of pre-made coffee: Pre-made coffee drinks or coffee powder can sometimes contain dairy. Many fancy-looking gourmet coffee drinks use artificial sweeteners or chocolate syrups that have a tinge of dairy products. To keep your coffee vegan, it is important to avoid pre-made coffee or at least check the ingredients before drinking them.
- Choose vegan sweeteners: Most artificial sweeteners contain non-vegan materials and are usually preserved using animal products. When looking for vegan coffee, it is advisable to check the ingredients, do a thorough brand check, and choose only vegan sweeteners for your coffee.
By knowing the following checkpoints, you understand how vegans can drink coffee. By practicing a little bit of caution and putting some extra effort into checking how the coffee beans have grown, you can enjoy a sustainably sourced coffee for your vegan diet. A vegan coffee drink can keep you charged, energetic and reinvent your productivity.
Is Black Coffee Vegan?
Coffee, in all its forms, comes from coffee beans found on a number of coffee plants. Hence, when roasted coffee beans are added to hot water to make black coffee, they definitely qualify for a vegan diet. As long as you do not add milk, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners to your coffee, black coffee is indeed vegan.
Moreover, black coffee holds numerous health benefits, especially weight loss, and can be a perfect drink for your morning brew. But how about the increasingly popular decaf coffee? Let us find out.
Is decaf coffee vegan? Decaffeination is the process of removing caffeine from all its products. Some brands use liquid carbon dioxide to remove caffeine, while some use hot water to extract the caffeine molecules. Sometimes, the coffee beans are dissolved in solvents containing methylene dichloride and ethyl acetate. These solvents are not produced from animal products and hence remain vegan. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that vegans can consume decaf coffee.
Can Vegans drink Coffee Creamers?
Coffee creamers are store-bought powders or liquids that are added to coffee to give it a frothy texture and creamy taste. Most of the creamers contain milk, and it is important to look for vegan alternatives to coffee creamers.
- Almond and coconut coffee creamer: Almond and coconut flavored creamer is the perfect coffee creamer that balances both taste and froth of your coffee. It is a vegan, dairy-free, and low gluten alternative to regular coffee creamers. It is easily available in the market and may become your go-to creamer quickly. Moreover, almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, and when supplemented with protein coffee, they provide a strong boost to your energy levels.
- Soy coffee creamer: Reducing the consumption of dairy is one of the best foods to eliminate brain fog. A healthy and vegan alternative to dairy is soy. This vegan coffee creamer is completely soy-based and can be used by people with nut allergies. It is made of unrefined soy and sugar and can give you a smooth, creamy texture for your coffee.
- Oat coffee creamer: For all the oat lovers in the house, you can try an oat-based coffee creamer for a delicious taste. Oat creamer provides a seamless blend and produces just the right amount of foam for a tasty coffee brew. Try it with both hot and cold coffee drinks, and treat yourself to a delectable beverage.
- Cashew coffee creamer: For all coffee connoisseurs, cashew coffee creamer is excellent for daily use and is exceptionally rich and luxurious in taste. This vegan coffee creamer adds the perfect dose of natural sweetness to your coffee and is an abundant vitamin C and B source. So, add a splash of this creamer to your morning cup of Joe for a strong influx of energy.
These vegan coffee creamers are a mix of taste and energy. They can be easily made at home and add the perfect blend to your coffee. Whether you consume your coffee first thing in the morning for an energetic start or drink it for a mid-day recharge, these coffee creamers are sure to make your day happy and productive.
All in all, you do not need to sacrifice your coffee when choosing a vegan lifestyle. In fact, there are numerous options when it comes to your morning cup of vegan coffee. With that first sip, you are sure to get a rush of satisfaction, and caffeine is going to perk you up and may help you stay at the top of your game throughout the day. Further, by leading a vegan lifestyle, you can live your life ethically, without harming any animals and the surroundings, and contribute your part in maintaining a sustainable environment.