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What Is Kosher Coffee?

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  • Written By: Rachael Cullins
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Kosher coffee adheres strictly to Jewish religious standards regarding eating and drinking. Coffee that is made strictly from water and java beans, without any chemical, dairy, or flavoring additions, is considered kosher, as it contains only these two ingredients. The addition of chemicals, dairy elements, or flavorings can alter the kosher status of coffee.

Foods that are kosher are defined by various rules according to the Jewish faith. The word itself means “fit for eating.” Some non-kosher foods are listed in Leviticus, the chapter of the Bible in which various dietary restrictions are found. Some animals, such as pigs and certain birds, are not kosher, and chemically based products whose production is not properly supervised by a rabbi are rarely considered kosher. The rules for kosher foods can be complicated, and many Jewish people vary in their adherence to a kosher diet.

Many coffees contain ingredients that are not considered kosher by Orthodox Jews. Kosher coffee that is branded as such is often approved by a rabbi during production, ensuring that neither its ingredients nor the mixing process interfere with kosher rules. Some kosher coffee is certified by a regional or national body to assure consumers of its kosher status.

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The addition of dairy products to coffee is often a barrier to making kosher coffee. Dairy from kosher animals, such as clean, healthy cows, is considered kosher. If an animal is discovered to be diseased after its slaughter, then milk gleaned from that animal is deemed non-kosher. Some Jews overlook this rule, due to the difficulty of determining such “uncleanliness,” and consider virtually all cow’s milk kosher. In this case, coffee that contains all water, coffee beans, and cow’s milk is kosher coffee.

Artificial flavorings can be a source of controversy surrounding kosher coffee. Many synthetic chemicals are not kosher, as they are unnatural or considered unclean. Additives to kosher coffee are often approved by a rabbi to ensure that they meet all standards for being considered kosher. Decaffeinated coffee can also pose problems with kosher status, since some decaffeination processes use chemicals.

Orthodox Jews who wish to drink only kosher coffee often stick to preparing their coffee at home so that they can be sure that no non-kosher products enter their drink. Jewish people who are ordering coffee at a coffeehouse or restaurant often order plain black coffee. Those who follow the strictest standards of kosher eating and drinking might order their coffee in a plain paper cup to avoid any chemicals from Styrofoam® or other synthetic materials.

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ddljohn
Post 3

@literally45-- I don't agree with you.

I remember reading about a very popular coffee brand in the news several years back. This coffee brand, which also has coffee houses all over the country, used to be certified kosher at one point. But after it was revealed that the coffee has a new ingredient in it that is made from insects, the certification was revoked.

Just as a piece of fresh fruit becomes non-kosher once an insect enters it, a coffee with ingredients like that is also non-kosher. So I think that a kosher certification for coffee is absolutely necessary. I personally, only drink certified kosher coffee. Although I can't judge you if you choose not to.

literally45
Post 2

@SarahGen-- I eat kosher but I'm not very strict about it. I feel like sometimes the really strict Jewish community over-does it by requiring that everything gets certified kosher if it is to be consumed by Jews.

Of course, things like meat, dairy and the like have to be kosher and I'm all for certification of those products. But I also don't understand why coffee or tea would be non-kosher.

I don't want to have coffee with chemicals in it either. But I don't think that most of the coffee on the market has chemicals. Just because something didn't get certified kosher doesn't mean that it isn't. That's just my opinion.

SarahGen
Post 1

I'm not an adherent of the Jewish faith, but I do enjoy many kosher foods. If I have the option of choosing a product between a kosher and non-kosher, then I usually choose kosher because I think it's healthier.

Anyway, I was at the grocery store the other day shopping for coffee and noticed that some packages had a kosher certification while others didn't. I had never noticed this before because I didn't even think that coffee could be non-kosher.

This has got me wondering about the coffees I usually drink and whether they're really safe for consumption. The bad part is that the coffees that had the certification cost just a bit more than the others.

I don't know if I should start drinking kosher coffee as well. I feel like if I start doing this, then I will need to purchase kosher alternatives of many other things. I'm not sure I'm willing to go down that road just yet.

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