Jews And Starbucks

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  • #593123

    Homeowner
    Member

    There is a CR thread called Inviting Non-Jewish Co-Workers To A Simcha? that has gotten a bit removed from the original post and is now discussing issues of entering a non-kosher food establishment along with maris ayin.

    The bags of coffee have an OU so buying a bag of coffee beans would seem to present no problem. Does it present a problem of maris ayin, however.

    If you order a plain cup of coffee (e.g. Starbucks Pike Place), it is brewed in a machine with filtered water and served in a new paper cup with a plastic lid. Does this present an issue of kashrus?

    If you put milk in the coffee, the whole milk, 1%, 2% and skim milks are all OU but not Chalav Yisroel but they are served from metal containers marked for their specific use and washed by store employees. Does this present an issue of kashrus?

    In your opinion, is it okay for a frum Jew to buy a container of brewed coffee to go from Starbucks?

    Better yet, in your opinion, is it okay for a frum Jew to drink a container of brewed coffee while sitting inside a Starbucks?

    It should be noted that while many of the food and beverage items at this business have hechsherim (e.g. astonishingly, even some of the pastries are kosher), there are other items, like the breakfast sandwiches that are vadai tarfus.

    I am not telling anyone what to do and I am not saying what I do. I am just interested in hearing different perspectives.

    #799552

    yitayningwut
    Participant
    #799554

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    It doesn’t really matter what my opinion is. My Rav allows buying coffee and certain drinks at Starbucks.

    Kosher for me, even if its treif for you.

    #799555

    aries2756
    Participant

    Not that I approve of Starbucks because I don’t they are anti Israel, but that would apply to any Dunkin Donuts as well.

    #799556

    LBK
    Participant

    See Star-K article on the Kashrus of coffe – http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-thirst-coffee.htm. I think it addresses all of your questions…

    #799557

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Heh. This is one area where no one can accuse me of being an apikorus or lax in halacha.

    I don’t drink coffee. 🙂

    The Wolf

    #799558

    mw13
    Participant

    Seeing as “a lot of people who look frum, yeshivish and even chasidish go to various Starbucks stores” (and not only in brooklyn) and only buy coffee, I don’t see it being maras eyin.

    #799559

    Homeowner
    Member

    MW13, why isn’t it maras ayin if treif products are sold there?

    Also, I’ve looked at the websites in question and neither completely answers my questions.

    I’m quite surprised at the people here who were so machmir in the other thread referenced have yet to say a word.

    #799560

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I don’t have the right maare mekomos, but maybe Mosherose can tell us that it is assur to sit in the Cafe’s of goyim.

    #799561

    dunno
    Member

    Homeowner:

    Why would it be maras ayin? Wouldn’t it be the same idea as going into a non-kosher supermarket and buying a bag of chips?

    #799562

    so right
    Member

    or like going into Shop Rite that sells kosher and non-kosher.

    #799563

    metrodriver
    Member

    I can not cite any Halachic sources, but I do know that it was always (as far as I can remember) acceptable to buy black coffee (especially when traveling.) in any non-kosher food establishment. Not to speak of the Kosher ones. But on the subject of “Marris Ayin”, I had an interesting thing happen to me. I bought a sandwich and coffee in a Kosher establishment and went (without thinking) next-door, to a treif luncheonette to buy a newspaper. while in there, the thought hit me about the appearance of walking out with a sandwich from that place. That is, when the Mishna in Mass. Avos;??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? “And You Shall Judge everyone on a Benign Scale”. Meaning to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. came into play.

    #799564

    Homeowner
    Member

    dunno: I would think a place where people are sitting and eating and drinking is different than a supermarket. Wouldn’t you?

    #799565

    dunno
    Member

    Homeowner:

    Ok, let’s not get sarcastic here. I was asking seriously. And no, I don’t see why it’s so different. I don’t know the halachos of maras ayin all that well but I’m curious why those two scenarios are so different.

    #799566

    aries2756
    Participant

    Maybe because everyone knows that coffee is coffee and that even though they sell other products the main purpose of the store is selling “coffee”. So one should dan l’kaf zchus and assume that anyone that stops in is buying just that “coffee” or a similar kosher beverage. AND in this day and age if you see a YID coming out of McDonalds it is also normal to assume that he stopped to use the “clean” bathroom and buy a soda and not that he stopped to eat treif.

    It is very interesting how no one will stop you at a McDonald’s, 7 eleven, or Dunkin Donuts from using the bathroom but in many other stores including kosher stores they will tell you that the bathrooms are for “patrons only”. We can all understand that, but when you are on the road or in a dire emergency you really don’t want to hear that you just really need patience and understanding.

    So by the same token, we must teach ourselves and others to Dan L’kaf Zchus and assume that if you see a Yid come out of one of these establishments or one similar s/he needed to use the facilities or stopped to buy a coffee or soda.

    #799567

    charliehall
    Participant

    I don’t drink coffee, but a few years ago I was in a Starbuck’s and saw that their fruit salad was certified kosher for Pesach by Star-K. Could there be marit ayin for eating it?

    #799568

    so right
    Member

    aries: In other words, pretend that there is no longer any such thing as Maris Ayin?

    #799569

    Homeowner
    Member

    dunno, I am truly sorry you thought I was sarcastic. No sarcasm was intended towards you.

    I’m still waiting for answers to my questions particularly regarding the metal milk pitchers.

    (Am I talking to the wall? There are usually enough Jews at Starbucks 18th Avenue or Starbucks 7th Avenue [Park Slope]) for a minyan.)

    #799571

    dunno
    Member

    Homeowner:

    No problem. What’s the answer though? Why are they so different?

    #799572

    addicted
    Participant

    As far as I know a Jew is allowed to buy a black unflavored coffee in a disposable cup anywhere, and there is no kashrus problem.

    As far as the milk goes, if you drink chalav stam milk, you would be allowed to add that to your coffee.

    If you do not eat cholov stam, Starbucks has pareve soy milk with a hechsher on the container. I have asked to see the container in many different Starbucks around America (NY, California, Ohio, Maryland…), and they all seem to use the same brand that has the same hechsher. I would still ask to see the container each time though, just in case.

    #799573

    Sam l Am
    Member

    Maris Ayin applies in a non-kosher restaurant. Starbucks isn’t a restaurant, so it doesn’t apply.

    #799574

    charliehall
    Participant

    How is Starbucks not a restaurant? They serve food and drink, and are licensed and inspected as restaurants.

    #799575

    addicted
    Participant

    Starbucks is considered a coffeehouse, not a restaurant or cafe.

    I would classify a restaurant as somewhere you can eat a full meal. I don’t consider coffee and cake a meal.

    #799576

    metrodriver
    Member

    Sam I Am & Addicted; Starbucks is considered a restaurant for all practical purposes. They DO serve food in-house. You can really go into a pilpul that they serve only Mezonos (Cake) and what is the “Ikkar” and the “Tofail”, since they are a Coffee Shop that serves cake as a side dish. But, from a Halachic standpoint it makes no difference. Since they serve sit-down (as opposed to take-out only)meals, too. In that sense, the Barnes & Noble Book store is on the same level. (As a matter of fact. There is a combo B&N-Starbucks store in Manhattan, NY.)But, even for those people who drink Cholov Stam, there is a problem how the metal milk containers are washed. (What other food dispensing dishes are washed in the same batch or machine.)

    #799577

    frumladygit
    Member

    Addicted : This is a big problem. Kashrus wise. I should know. AS a girl I worked at a nonkosher coffeeshop. (before my days of making teshuva).

    In these establishments they also sell sandwiches. One popular one is ham and cheese. When the plates or knives, or anything- needs washing, they put it in the same dishwasher as the glass heat proof coffee pots, which catch the perculating coffee!

    This is a BIG Misconception, that we can buy black coffee in a disposible cup. People need to think Whats going on before the coffee hits your disposible cup? The stainless steel coffee filter that holds the grinds is in fact washed out in a sink/dishwasher that serves up pork as well.

    #799578

    aries2756
    Participant

    Actually, Starabucks is a coffee brand! And Dunkin Donuts started out as a Donut Shop but is better known now for its coffee than for its donuts, so both might be considered on the same madreigah. The fact that they also serve other products besides coffee does not take away the “ikar” that they are coffee houses.

    Most fruit stores also sell nosh and some refrigerated products but we don’t rename them grocery stores, they are still fruit stores because their “ikar” is still fruit.

    #799579

    so right
    Member

    Everyone should read what frumladygit posted, and shudder. After you finish shuddering, reconsider your position.

    Knowing the insider information frumladygit just told us, would you still drink — even a black milkless — coffee at a Starbucks or other coffee shop???

    #799580

    charliehall
    Participant

    “You can really go into a pilpul that they serve only Mezonos (Cake)”

    By that argument a vegetarian Chinese restaurant would be in the same category, as it would likely not serve any kind of bread.

    Give me a break!

    #799581

    charliehall
    Participant

    “In these establishments they also sell sandwiches.”

    I don’t think Starbuck’s sells sandwiches.

    I don’t drink coffee, ever. (Well I’ve had two cups in my life, most recently in 1980.) So I’m not shuddering.

    #799582

    Morris Eyein
    Member

    I have “eye” on every Starbucks and the shidduch committe database will be noted

    #799583

    Helpful
    Member

    Starbucks sells treif sandwiches.

    #799584

    Are the sandwiches prepared in individual stores (which would then mean equipment needing washing), or do they get delivered pre-packaged? For example,Dunkin Donuts are set up so that one store will bake the donuts for several others, which are then delivered to the other local operations. So you’ll see donuts being baked at DD on Burnside Ave (which is certified kosher), which are then in turn distributed to several other local DD’s.

    #799585

    Feif Un
    Participant

    Regarding the dishwashers and non-kosher food being sold: I believe it’s a machlokes between the cRc and the OU as to whether it’s permissible to eat/drink in such a place or not. I was at a shiur a few years ago on it. I believe the cRc holds it’s not allowed, and the OU holds it’s fine. I guess it would depend on where you live, as the kashrus agencies are sort of territorial: if in the NY area, go by the OU, if in the Midwest, go by the cRc.

    #799586

    usbaers
    Member

    about a year ago there was a very good article on this subject in Community, a brooklyn magazine, which addressed most of these questions. it would be worthwhile to try to find it.

    #799587

    dunno
    Member

    frumladygit

    The OU says it’s ok.

    #799588

    Helpful
    Member

    The OU does NOT say its okay to eat in a Starbucks that washes treif dishes with the coffee pot.

    #799589

    dunno
    Member

    I personally called the OU and asked if I can get a black coffee there and add in soy milk (I only drink Chalav Yisroel). They told me it was 100% ok.

    #799590

    addicted
    Participant

    I hope that Starbucks is okay to sit in, or else a lot of bochurim will have to find another dating hot spot.

    #799591

    Homeowner
    Member

    For what it’s worth, the sandwiches are pre-packaged.

    frumladygit, you say, “AS a girl I worked at a nonkosher coffeeshop. (before my days of making teshuva).”

    Was that a Starbucks you worked at?

    #799592

    artchill
    Participant

    so right:

    I used to shudder when I drank coffee, that’s why I drink ONLY decaf now!

    Starbuck’s here in Chicago offers milk straight from the container as well as other perks for Green Level members. All have OU certification and cRc says things are fine. In Chicago they have introduced high power percolation for individual batching as a result everything takes place within a self-cleaning machine and don’t have glass coffee pots.

    I have seen them refill the metal milk containers by swishing the inside with the new hot water machines, it is NOT placed in a dishwasher. I feel perfectly comfortable drinking from Starbuck’s and most Yeshivish people who don’t use Dunkin Donuts drink at Starbuck’s.

    #799593

    frumladygit
    Member

    Homeowner, no, it was not Starbucks where I worked. This was the day well before Starbucks was around. It was Tim Hortons. But I believe the point, is that if Starbucks today does serve food, you should be aware that everything gets washed together in hot water dishwasher as it did at Tim Hortons.

    By the way you don’t have to have Starbucks actually serving up Ham sandwiches to get Treif coffee. Say if the employee brings in a treif sandwich from home, and on lunch break wants to cut it with a knife? What standards of kashrus do they have to stop her from bringing in outside food? NONE. What will it bother them if she uses store equipment such as a knife to cut her sandwich? Then of course it gets into the dishwasher…

    Also even if they are only selling cheese sandwiches, there is the problem with Rennet, which is the gastric juice from a pig/cow used to make cheese curdle. (aka bacterial enzymes)What would be interesting to create is a documentary of Starbucks’ pratices and how “kosher” it really is to get a coffee.

    Someone should just go in with a video camera and order something and then ask a few questions about where do things get washed and have them show you around. This would be an eye opener to watch.

    #799594

    aries2756
    Participant

    frumladygit, that all might have been true at that time and place, but a lot of the stores today use only disposable products and if they sell only prepackaged they wouldn’t even have a dishwasher so that might not be an inyan for the stores thats is probably why Kosher organizations don’t have a problem with buying coffee there.

    #799595

    Homeowner
    Member

    frumladygit, respectfully, what goes on at Tim Horton’s is not relevant to Starbucks. At Starbucks there are no metal knives used or available for customers. All sandwiches are prepared and pre-packaged outside the stores. If a customer asks for a knife, he or she is given a plastic one that itself is wrapped in plastic.

    If an employee eats a treif sandwich, and many do, I don’t see how it can get into the food unless you are suggesting that the store violates both the New York City Health Code as well as its own corporate policies.

    #799596

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Hi everyone.

    Is this just a big speculation of maris ayin? Do you really think it depends on the definition of a “restaurant”?

    #799597

    so right
    Member

    You cannot assume a coffee shop that doesn’t have a kashrus inspector (and Starbucks does not) will do anything different than the horrible conditions described by frumladygit, that should give any strictly kosher observant observer chills up his spine.

    #799598

    metrodriver
    Member

    Frumladygit; In your last paragraph you advise that “Someone should just go in (To a Starbucks)with a video camera and order something…. and ask to be shown around where they wash the dishes, etc… ; Do you really believe that they’re so naive to show you around when you’re holding a video camera in your hands?! But if they get official OU certification, I trust the OU if they tell me that it’s 100% OK to buy a coffee from Starbucks.

    #799599

    oomis
    Participant

    McDs is primnarily a treif restaurant. Starbucks is primarily a coffee house where the coffee it sells is kosher. When one goes into a treif burger palce, it is more likely he is there to order a burger than a cup of cafe. When he is in Starbucks, it is more likely he is there for the coffee, not the unkosher baked goods.

    #799600

    Homeowner
    Member

    oomis1105, I think you were responding to my question, not one from aries.

    Also, as noted in my original post, some of the Starbucks pastries are kosher. You can find packaged items like black and white cookies with a hechsher. As a matter of fact, if you find a friendly barista unpacking pre-sliced cake out of the box, it might surprise you to possibly see a hechsher on the box as it did me.

    I am not sure how one can determine the likelihood of a given customer’s motivation for using a particular business.

    #799601

    dunno
    Member

    Someone told me that it’s muttar to get a soda from McDonalds nowadays because people assume that you’re not going in for the treif food. Which brings the question of what is considered maras ayin in this day in age…

    #799602

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    i go to starbucks all the time, i buy coffee (black), and i sit there for hours. when i see a jew in a starbucks i assume he’s oing the same thing as i am. it’s a coffee shop, not a burger joint. they sell coffee. their primary focus is coffee. the coffee is kosher. are you all beginning to see my point?

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