cRc Guide To Starbucks Beverages

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Over the years, Starbucks shops have evolved from simple coffee shops to stores that serve many kosher and non-kosher items, with the most serious non-kosher items being hot meat sandwiches. The standard daily clean-up at Starbucks includes a hot wash of all utensils and some parts of that washing are done without soap. This washing process challenges the kosher status of the otherwise kosher products and each product must be judged by a competent halachic authority. 

When evaluating these issues, Rav Schwartz Shlit”a, Av Beis Din of the cRc, acknowledged that there is basis for being lenient on many of the items being sold at Starbucks stores, but directed the cRc to be true to the mission of a reliable Kashrus Agency which only recommends items that are free of all shailos and not those which are only acceptable b’dieved.

Rav Schwartz Shlit”a noted that this is especially true when there is a viable alternative which is not subject to the same shailos, and indeed there are many Starbucks locations that do not serve hot meat sandwiches.  These are generally the Starbucks kiosks that can be found in airports, highway rest-stops, supermarkets etc., and at these locations the cRc is able to recommend any drink made from kosher ingredients (even though some items in those stores are not kosher certified).  [Please be aware that some kiosks (mostly in department stores) share sinks and other equipment with nearby eateries; those Starbucks facilities have the status of full-service stores noted below.]

To fully explain the details, questions, and shailos involved in this issue the cRc printed an analysis of the topic in the Spring 2011 edition of The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, and that article is available on the cRc website.

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The following list is accurate at this time for stores in the United States, and since the information is subject to change this list should not be used after July 31, 2011. [The list is limited to beverages and does not address foods sold in Starbucks (e.g. sandwiches), or toppings and other items added to beverages.]  It is also worth noting that many items sold at Starbucks are dairy and chalav stam.

For a full article from the cRc about Starbucks, please click HERE to read more.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Moved to Los Angeles. We have Starbucks here. However, we have COFFEE BEAN west coast chain that uses Cholav Yisroel milk….how cool is that! ps. We have no EZ pass issue either!Have a happy and Kosher Pesach form the West Coast!!!

  2. Maybe I’ve been laboring under a misconception my entire life, but I have always thought the if something is kosher bdieved, it is still kosher. Being kosher is like being pregnant…it either is or it aint…

  3. 1. Your Coffee Bean without hashgocha t’midis is just as worthless even with the Cholov Yisroel milk.

    2. You want to go to purgatory d’dieved or l’chatchila?

  4. #2,

    Kashrus is like many areas of Halacha: something may be permissible b’dieved, but not permissible l’chatchila. For someone addicted to caffeine, it may often be a situation of sha’as ha’dchak, which is similar to b’dieved. It depends what the other options are.

    Fortunately, I gave up caffeine over a decade ago, so I don’t need to rely on this leniency (I no longer have to worry about getting caffeine withdrawal headaches on Yom Kippur either).

  5. #5, Lets all give you a standing ovation. What does your lack of caffeine addition have to do with anything? Ever hear of DECAF?????

    PS Dont give up your day job!