Letter: Non-Kosher in Starbucks

Letter: I want to make a public service announcement. As a young professional working in Lakewood, I would go almost daily to the Starbucks in Howell and whenever I would go I would see many frum Jews. I would get an iced coffee with almond milk which, when I asked, they said was kosher. Imagine my shock when this past time, after months of going there, I asked them if the Almond milk was kosher, and he said it is not. Giving the benefit of the doubt, it could be it usually is kosher and just today it happened to not be. But through my horror, it made me think. Why do we think it’s ok, why is it very accepted, to eat in an establishment that is literally treif?? I need to be able to have a drink so badly that I am willing to go to a place that sells actual non kosher food, and our food is prepared literally at the same time as the nonkosher food, and right next to it?? When did this even become a thing?? I can’t wait the extra few minutes that it will take to go down the road to a kosher cafe?? Am I that spoiled??

After this experience, I decided to not go to a nonkosher place, even if they do sell a “kosher” product. We are supposed to be kedoshim, separate!

May we all have the strength to make the right decisions for ourselves and to bring nachas to hashem. My goal is not to tell anyone else what to do, I simply want to bring awareness to an issue that I just encountered, and I’m hoping that I can help someone else to hopefully not make a mistake that I made.

– A girl in her 20s who is just trying to find her way in this world that seems to pull us into it’s materialism so much, to the point where we can forget who we truly are.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. first of all in general just because a goy tells you something is kosher it means nothing you have to check for yourself and second if for such reasons you wouldnt buy from starbucks even if its kosher simply because its a non jewish treif store which i respect your decision but make sure not to ever get a slurpee from seven eleven and also no entering target….. just make sure to b consistent with your veiws, and also thank you for bringing the awarness that people have to check themselves and not just believe a go, hatzlacha.

    • Correct I actually asked them to see the bottle before I started drinking it.., and that’s why I take soy milk not almonds milk because I’ve asked to see both bottles.. not recommending or saying it’s ok.. but true point..ask YLR

  2. The almond milk in Starbucks in almost NEVER Kosher. The refreshers have white grape juice which is yayin nesech. After a conversation with a rabbi from the CRC, I only drink the Americano or cold brew from Starbucks, and that’s only if there isn’t a Dunkin’ (or obviously a kosher coffee shop) around.

  3. I never understood why people in lakewood are buying things from non kosher Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-11, Rita’s (not the one on River Ave), Wawa when there are SO many other stores with good hechsherim most also cholov Yisroel?
    How can people trust a non Jewish establishment which sells treif and only has non Jews working there?
    This has always boggled my mind.
    To give credit, I don’t think the yeshivish/bmg families go to these places BH.

    • FYI I believe all the local Rita’s are cholov Yisrael unless you request otherwise – that includes Jackson, Howell, and Toms River. Very different than the other stores mentioned.

  4. There’s a kosher coffee shop in Howell closer to Lakewood we should just use that shop, support our own and know that we are getting quality kosher products.

  5. Almond milk at Starbucks hasn’t been kosher for like a year. And maybe actually check the products instead of just asking if it’s kosher.

  6. You are missing the point. Yes, it is kosher. But, how easily can it become not-kosher? Is it worth the risk? For what? A cup of coffee? Is there a Mashgiach watching to make sure that the workers don’t make a mistake? Is it Pikuach Nefesh? As our letter-writer said, there are other options that may not be as convenient, but they are definitely more “kosher”. Is that cup of coffee so very important that you are willing to take a chance with one of the fundamentals of yiddishkeit?

  7. there’s alot more not kosher with a non jewish establishment than the food itself, were the staff friendly? real friendly? too friendly? what about the clientele? is that your/our “new standard”? your parents spent years on maxwell house instant just to stay away from the lure, the influence, the pure pleasure. do you really feel better with the loss of feeling that your parents lived by? didn’t your father come to Lakewood to learn and just learn? you don’t have to follow, but to throw off the impression and run to the ultimate “have it” culture, is that more accomplished than the Holocaust survivors? than their children who went to kolel without knowing from where and how, so now we got the coffee?

    what about waking up?

  8. Let us put aside for a moment the Kashrus issue.
    How about strange individuals who appear at Starbucks from time to time.
    One good lesson we learned from Covid:
    Keep a distance of 6 feet from weird individuals.

  9. I just recently stopped going into non kosher for coffee as well. I used to try to look away as non kosher food was being prepared alongside my drink, but I can’t anymore. I can make my own coffee, or, so luckily, go into themany kosher options available in NYC.

  10. It’s cause ppl think they’re cool so they like to go to “goyish” places.
    IF WE DON’T MAKE KIDDUSH THEYLL MAKE HAVDALAH.
    Also support your own community. You spend more time finding out if it’s kosher then just driving the extra minute to get to a kosher place… I don’t know if you noticed but there’s plenty of kosher food establishments.

  11. my 2 cents after the kosher chinese fiasco 6 months ago
    i decided NEVER to eat by a food establishment owned by an “eyno shelunu” even if a mashgiach is present.
    the KOSHER CHINESE ALSO HAD A FULL TIME MASHGIACH and look what happened..
    the kashrus agency didnt even apologize for their mess up and when i tried calling no one picked up or called back its a shame theirs no accountability
    its all a sham,all about money !!
    we b’h have plenty of options here in lkwd that we dont need to look elsewhere for our food and drink options
    the letter writer is 100% correct

    • The “full time Mashgiach” there was a joke.
      The one time I walked in to that place he was sitting in the seating area. I asked him a couple questions and it quickly became clear that he was there to collect a check and was not very aware of what was going on in the store.

  12. In Lakewood!!!! There are a million Jewish stores that sell kosher chalav yisroel. I don’t even understand the yetzer harah to buy food from these places.

  13. Hold yourself back from all the physical pleasures of this temporary physical world-we are just living in for a short while-and bring yourself closer to Hashem and his Presence.

    May it also be a zchus to bring Mashiach already bkarov

  14. I only use Starbucks when I’m away from Frum areas with Kosher coffee. That being said, in my experience the oat milk is always kosher (and tastes better than almond) and the syrups are almost always kosher and usually parve. But I ask them to show me the container every single time to see the hechsher. They always accommodate and are happy to learn what to look out for. I also try to only rider cold brew or nitro cold brew as they are less kashrus sensitive

  15. I have always asked for Coconut milk and always ask to see the carton. So far, I have never seen one without a hechsher. Always ask to see it. Never assume. I also will only order Americano – as someone else mentioned – as I have been told that Americano uses its own machine while other drinks are made on the same equipment.

  16. just want to say that if decide not to go into starbucks because its goyish treif i respect it but for the same reason no going into 7 eleven or target…

    • You can also see: http://www.star-k.org/articles/kosher-lists/1709/starbucks/

      2023 STARBUCKS INFORMATION

      Please be advised that Starbucks corporation has decided to end the expanded STAR-K kosher information program.
      Consumers are advised that effective immediately the STAR-K can only recommend a limited number of drinks and can no longer vouch for the kashrus of many of the flavored items previously listed.

      In general Starbucks stores serve hot treif meat and cheese. Therefore, since 2011, Rav Moshe Heinemann Shlit”a, STAR-K Rabbinic Administrator, suggests that one should avoid if at all possible, buying drinks prepared with equipment that may have been washed with treif equipment. There are drinks (see list below) that are prepared without any contact with questionable equipment and are acceptable at any store.

      When one is traveling, (traveling means when one is away from home and no other viable kosher certified coffee option is readily available), this creates a situation of sha’as hadchak – i.e., a difficult situation and one need not be concerned with the restrictions on the beverages listed below (based on the Psak of the Noda B’Yehuda quoted in Yad Ephraim, Y.D. 122-6, D’H’ Shelo’ it can be found in Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Kama 36) . One does not need to be driving on the highway to fit into the category of traveling.

      We cannot recommend syrups, sauces, toppings, powders, soy or almond milk or other items not listed below unless customer confirms that they bear a reliable certification.

      Please note: Starbucks stores serve cholov stam.

      Please see our coffee article for more information.
      Click here to download the 2023 Starbucks Recommendations Chart
      The following recommendations are for the USA and Canada only.
      [Following is a chart on their site. the first column is:
      HOT BEVERAGE
      Second column: ACCEPTABLE AT ANY STARBUCKS
      Third column: ONLY ACCEPTABLE WHEN TRAVELING (BEDI’EVED)

      (It’s best to see the chart on the page; it may not copy over perfectly.)

      CAFFE AMERICANO
      Avoid using the “shot” glass.
      Yes Yes
      CAPPUCCINO
      (Cholov Stam)
      Yes
      COFFEE, REGULAR AND DECAF No Yes
      ESPRESSO
      Avoid using the “shot” glass.
      Yes Yes
      ESPRESSO MACCHIATO
      (Cholov Stam)
      No Yes
      HOT TEA
      Unflavored
      Yes Yes
      HOT TEA
      Flavored with kosher symbol on box
      Yes Yes
      LATTE HOT/CAFFE LATTE
      (Cholov Stam)
      No Yes
      ICED BEVERAGES ACCEPTABLE AT ANY STARBUCKS ONLY ACCEPTABLE WHEN TRAVELING (BEDI’EVED)
      BOTTLED STARBUCKS DRINKS
      (Cholov Stam). with a KD
      Yes Yes
      COLD BREW Yes Yes
      ICED COFFEE No Yes
      ICED CAFFE AMERICANO
      (Cholov Stam)
      Yes Yes
      ICED CAFFE LATTE
      (Cholov Stam)
      Yes Yes
      NITRO COLD BREW Yes Yes
      REFRESHERS BEVERAGES (ALL FLAVORS) No No
      TEAVANA BLACK ICED TEA No Yes
      TEAVANA GREEN ICED No Yes
      TEAVANA ICED WHITE TEA No Yes
      SYRUPS, SAUCES, TOPPINGS, MILK SUBSTITUTES ETC…

      CONSUMERS MUST CHECK FOR RELIABLE KOSHER SYMBOLS

      WHIPPED CREAM found in most Starbucks stores is made from heavy cream (Cholov Stam) and vanilla syrup that carry a reliable Kosher certification. Before adding it to the product, consumers must first verify its kosher status by checking the original containers for a reliable kosher symbol.

  17. Put the almond milk aside, getting iced coffee there is not mutar either. You can only buy either an americano (hot or cold) (I put in soy milk that has a hechsher) or an iced (soy) latte which is basically a cold soy based americano

  18. Starbucks, Luxury cars, mansions, designer ____, vacations… Is it possible that some very fine people lost focus on why they are in this world? The Yetzer Hara is very talented, and it sure looks tempting, but the tougher the nisayon, the greater the reward.

  19. At a Brooklyn Dunkin several years ago someone asked for Kosher milk, aka Cholov Yisroel. The Barista brought out an arizona milk and refilled the cholov yisroel bottle. Apparently that was happening on a regular basis. You can’t trust any of these places if you want to be makpid on cholov yisroel.

    • Yes. Eye opening! I’ll never drink black coffee anywhere again. Better to buy bottled drink with hechsher or soda if no kosher coffee shop is around.

  20. I only eat in my own house. I don’t trust that anybody is kosher but me. I believe KB”H will reward me. I don’t go too far from home because I need to get back to kosher home base. Shveyr zu zein a yid!

    • Maybe you’re a gilgul of R’ Aaron Kotler. Though in those times it was different.
      BTW, R’ Mordechai Gifter was once at an affair and asked ‘m’meg essen du – can we eat here?’. Someone said ‘Rosh Yeshiva, aleh essen du – everyone is eating here!’.
      He went back to the yeshiva and gave a shmuz: “There is a new mashgiach in town, his name is R’ Aleh’. Again, it was different in those days.

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