Is Coffee Vegan

Tags - #Vegan_Blog

Things that make a coffee

So if you’re wondering if coffee is vegan then the short answer is Yes!

Just think about it, what makes coffee? Coffee is nothing more than roasted beans of a plant. It doesn’t involve any animal or doesn’t even need to use any animal by-products.

Image by ❀️A life without animals is not worth living❀️ from Pixabay

Can vegans drink coffee?

The answer is Yes! Of Course, you can drink coffee. The only thing you should look for is the kinds of milk and creamers used to make them. Black coffee is always vegan, but dairy-based coffee is not.

As a vegan, you can always use plant-based milk alternatives for your coffee.

What about ethics?

So now that you know that coffee is vegan, at least almost all of it. Then let’s clarify the ethical side of things.

Most of the coffee comes from developing countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Costa Rica, CΓ΄te d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Mexico. With Brazil being the largest producer of coffee in the world.



Poorly Paid Farmers

The global demand for coffee with low profitability means farmers work for a very low profit. Living mostly in poverty with having huge production quotas to fill. Like in Guatemala coffee pickers often receive a $3 daily wage for picking 45 kilograms of quotas.

Forced labor is also often reported in these countries. Workers suffer physical violence as well as threats of loss of work and wages and even food if they fail to perform.



Child Labor

Some of these countries also fall victim to child labor and exploitation. The U.S Department of Labor reports an estimated 34,131 child laborers in Vietnam with an age of below 15. The same report finds around 5,000 children working in coffee plantations in Brazil.

In CΓ΄te d’Ivoire children are often subjected to Human trafficking and forced labor. These children are often forcibly transported to coffee plantations from nearby countries and are recruited to work for little or no pay.



Environmental Impact

Normally people don’t think about the environmental impact of coffee but this is a bigger deal than what most think. A 2003 UNESCO study found that it requires 140 liters of water for a standard cup of coffee. Most of which is used to grow the coffee plant.

The second problem is throwing billions of coffee cups each day. The plastic coating on these cups is hard to decompose and causes global plastic pollution problems. Only a fraction of these cups is recycled while the rest are dumped in landfills.

Overusing pesticides and insecticides also makes the land unsustainable. The increase in these products is due to higher demand, more competition, and lower prices.

Bad production practices are also harming the industry. The International center of tropical agriculture (CIAT) released a report warning that 50% of the land used for coffee will become unsustainable by 2050. The main reason for this change is global warming. As coffee plants are extremely sensitive to temperature differences, global warming will push the temperatures into extremes for these plants.

Some of the varieties such as Arabica beans might become more expensive or uncommon due to price hikes.

All these different aspects impact the environment in a negative way.



Not all coffee is Vegan

Now let’s talk about a kind of coffee that is rare and not vegan. It is called Kopi Luwak, this coffee is made from coffee beans plucked from civet’s feces. Kopi Luwak is an expensive coffee selling for as much as 80% in the United States.

Civets are catlike creatures with long tails like a monkey, face markings like a raccoon, and stripes and spots on its body. They play an important role in the food chain eating insects and small reptiles with fruits like coffee, cherries, and mangoes.

When eaten by civets the digestive enzymes change the protein structures in the coffee beans, while removing some acidity to make a smoother coffee.

But as this kind of coffee gained popularity with people from Indonesia and other countries the more and more civets are being confined into cages for coffee plantations. It is also so that money can be made from tourists as they visit to see civets.

Personally, this is the kind of coffee one should avoid even if you’re vegan or not.


So almost all the coffee is vegan safe. The only things you need to look for are the milk and creamers used in them.

Be careful where your coffee comes from as everything has an environmental impact on our actions. So the next time you drink your coffee do think about the impact that you might be causing on a larger scale. Be responsible and you’d have no issues.