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A Guide to Vegan Coffee Drinks at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts

Vegan Coffee

When you are out and about this fall and Pumpkin Spice is everywhere, beware – it may not be vegan.


Coffee has recently been removed from the “do not drink” list when it comes to your health. In fact, one recent study has shown that moderate intake is good for potentially delaying diabetes symptoms.

Brewed coffee contains Polyphenols (antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage) and other essential nutrients such as Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and Niacin.

As with most nutrition advice, coffee consumption is best when you are in control of the ingredients – such as when you brew it yourself at home. But I have to tell you, my favorite thing to do after my Saturday and Sunday early morning runs is to stop at either Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks for a large coffee.

I typically order black coffee for myself, but each fall there are so many tempting other flavors to choose from. I do anticipate the coming of Pumpkin Spice and Peppermint Mocha each year, but this year, I am more mindful about the products that may be lurking within. The flavoring used in these yummy drinks are not always vegan.

PETA offers a handy guide for both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts on their website to help you navigate the menu and order vegan coffee drinks that do not lack flavor.

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Starbucks, for example, offers a variety of plant-based milk options such as soy, almond and coconut that can easily be replaced in lattes and Frappuccino’s. Hold the whipped cream on these and you are set!

Other ingredients to avoid at Starbucks include:

• Java Chips (found in the Double Chocolatey Chip Frap)
• Caramel Drizzle (on any of the Caramel beverages and the Smores Frap)
• Protein Powder (usually in the smoothie drinks)
• Honey (found in the toasted coconut cold brew)
• Most “sauces” contain milk, with the exception of mocha.
• If your drink has a clear syrup added to it, it is most likely vegan.

PETA lists the following Holiday beverages that can be made vegan friendly (by subbing plant milk and asking to hold whipped cream):
• Gingerbread Latte
• Peppermint Mocha
• Toffee Nut Latte
• Cinnamon Latte

Spoon University also has created a list of Starbucks Vegan drinks - visit spoonuniversity.com for more info.

At Dunkin Donuts, they have also started offering Almond Milk as a non-dairy alternative to milk and cream for hot and iced coffees and lattes. Unfortunately, most of the flavor “swirls” used in beverages are not vegan with the exception again for the mocha flavor. The Flavor “shots”, however, are all vegan, per their “Vegan Menu Offerings” list. Feeling like a frozen drink instead of a hot coffee? Strawberry and Minute Maid Orange Coolattas are vegan.

PS – while DD donuts are not vegan, they do have a variety of bagels that are, including Cinnamon Raisin, Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Twist, Everything, Garlic, Onion, Plain, Poppy Seed, Salt, and Sesame