A Lesson From Second Cup On Checking To Make Sure Your Food Is Vegan

I’ve been a vegetarian since my teens and I’m almost 40, so I’m no stranger to checking ingredients. I have always made sure there were no meat or meat parts in the foods and drinks that I buy. You know, things like gelatin from fish bladder membranes in my wine. Yuck! As a vegan, things haven’t changed. But, even though I’m a hardcore checker, I can still screw up.

How Do You Know Your Coffee Is Vegan?

It’s Getting Easier To Make Informed Decisions, But Not Effortless

Let’s talk about having coffee outside of the house.

For example, there are so many sites that let you know exactly what is vegan at Starbucks. I can easily order something off the menu at Starbucks with confidence that I’m ordering a vegan drink.

Second Cup is different, though. It’s hard to find any information on how to order vegan from there. But, I assumed it would be quite similar to Starbucks. Especially because many of their syrups are available for purchase and a look through the ingredients tells you that they are vegan, just like most Starbucks syrups.

I ordered a soy hazelnut latte the other day and thought, ‘Wow, this tastes much creamier than Starbucks latte! Their soy milk must be creamer.’

As I thought about this throughout my day, it didn’t make sense. The latte was really creamy, and it didn’t seem right to me. So, I did what I always do when I’m not sure – I sent the company an email asking them which of their products are vegan.

Here’s the response I got:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Second Cup. Our Brewed coffees and teas will contain no dairy unless requested. As well, our iced coffees and iced teas are free of animal by-products.

We now carry Almond milk in our cafes! The Almond milk (provided by Earth’s Own – Almond Fresh unsweetened original) has its own designated spout for steaming but we do not consider ourselves a vegan facility.

For additional information pertaining to the almond milk we use, we invite you to visit their website at http://www.earthsown.com/almond-fresh.htm 

Our creamy syrups (chocolate, white chocolate, vanilla, caramel) and powders (Frrozen Hot Chocolate, Frrozen White Hot Chocolate, Chai) contain dairy by-products. The majority of our Torani Syrups are dairy free (with a few exceptions). Our lattes are typically made with a creamy syrup and a Torani syrup, but may definitely be substituted with no creamy syrup.

Some possibly non-dairy beverages may include:

Brewed Coffee/Tea
Iced Brewed Coffee/Tea
Iced Soy/Almond Latte (with a Torani shot of; vanilla, gingerbread, salted caramel, peppermint, maple, Sugar-free caramel/vanilla).
Italian Soda (ask barista to see ingredients of syrup)

We have recently introduced our selection of Grab & Go items that are Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten Free! These snacks include our classic Almond Biscottis, Chocolate Almond Biscottis, and Energy Bars! We have also introduced our selection of Mixed Nuts. These items are packaged individually and will be located near the registers.

As you can see, the creamy syrups will ‘typically’ (is there no fast rule for this?) go into their lattes, and I can guarantee that it went into mine. There’s no way that soy milk alone would be that creamy.

The Lesson: Always Double Check To Make Sure Your Food Or Drinks Are Vegan

You can’t just assume like I did. If things are not outright labeled vegan, it’s important to educate yourself when it comes to ordering out either by looking it up online or outright asking the people who work at the company.

I think, for now on, unless a product is labeled vegan, I’ll be skipping Second Cup and heading to Starbucks where I can be confident in what I’m ordering.

Or, better yet, I’ll just make my guaranteed vegan coffee at home!

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