Mar 1, 2011
What's Kosher at Starbucks (2)

After publicizing Chicago's cRc rabbonim's opinion on kashrus at Starbucks, COLlive asked Rabbi Chaim Fogelman of the OK Labs how Lubavitchers should buy their coffee.

By Yehuda Ceitlin, Editor of COLlive

Like them or not, Howard Schultz's Starbucks did to coffee what Steve Jobs' Apple did to music and personal technology: Pricey, stylish and 'in'. And in Jewish circles both of these companies' products are heavily used.

While its easy to distinguish Jewish melodies from non Jewish tunes, getting the morning coffee has turned out to be a more difficult decision, as questions of kashrus overwhelm even religious Jews when choosing a grande or venti.

Last week, posted a guide for kosher keepers at Starbucks written by Chicago's cRc rabbonim. From the confusion among the many comments, it became apparent that the list was not clear enough.

So we turned to one of our own - Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, a rabbinic coordinator of the Crown Heights-based OK Kosher Labs for his opinion on how Lubavitchers should be getting their morning caffeine boost.

Q: At Starbucks or any other coffee-shop without kosher supervision, is it permissible to drink a hot, non-dairy drink?
A: Most halachic authorities say you can drink plain, unflavored coffee anywhere and only in disposable cups - provided the coffee is made in a dedicated urn that is only used for unflavored coffee, which is usually the case.

Q: But there isn't really a way of knowing if the store properly keeps the dairy and pareve dishes separate...
That's true, however even if the dairy and parve dishes are washed together, it usually isn't a problem when they are hand-washed with soap because the soap which is usually added right from the start of the washing session and creates a foul taste ("nosen taam lifgam") and the water is not "yad soledes" (too hot to handle) and therefore even if they are washed together, and in reality even without soap it is halachically permissible to drink beverages made in these keilim.

However, it would be more mehudar if the coffee urn was a large one, causing it to be washed alone. If they are washed in a dishwashers (a machine) it might be a problem since very hot water is possibly used and soap might be added only later on.

Q: How about soy milk for a coffee?
A: You may add soy milk directly from the carton as long as you can verify that it's kosher and pareve. Many are made on dairy equipment (cholov stam) and some might even have a dairy ingredient (Starbucks employees are usually willing to show you the carton).

Q: And heated soy milk for a latte, for example?
Heated soy milk is where problems begin. I would not use it unless you can verify the following:

1. You are certain that it's heated in a specially-dedicated pareve equipment. (And they would not use it for dairy even in an emergency - like if the dairy heater breaks down).

2. You are certain that they always use the same kosher company for its soy milk. (The barista [coffee-house employee] cannot be relied upon to claim so).

Q: What about adding syrups to flavor the coffee?
A: As long as it has a hechsher and its pareve status can be established (many are dairy cholov stam).

Q: How about non-dairy (coffee or tea) cold drinks that are made for you on the spot?
A: Three conditions should be met. 1. Only kosher ingredients are used (they are usually flavored) 2. New or disposable cup 3. That it's not first heated or boiled in an unforseen way.

Q: Are all teas kosher?
A: Plain raw unflavored tea (i.e. Lipton) is always kosher. However, herbal blends need a hechsher (they can be dairy and consequently not Cholov Yisrael.)

Q: How about bottled iced tea (like Snapple and such)?
A: They all need a reliable hechsher since they are often hot flashed or pasteurized during their production.

Q: In conclusion, would you say Starbucks should be avoided since it has no kashrus supervision?
A: Yes, but for a different reason: you can get a coffee elsewhere for a dollar as opposed to a latte... yiddishe gelt...

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
yes or no
can you write a list of drinks with a yes or no ..iced soy latte???
(3/1/2011 11:08:54 PM)
sense of humor
I always like your sense of humor like the last answer!
(3/1/2011 11:29:39 PM)
Americano or Coffee?
In last article it mentioned americanos are better than regular coffee out of the fear that maybe the coffee basket thing is washed in the dishwasher.

The question is whether or not there is a problem using the espresso/americano when the very machine also has a frother which is used for Chalov Akum.

Do you say that the entire machine gets heated from the frother and it is therefore a problem or is it ok?
(3/1/2011 11:37:52 PM)
No Belz, Satmar, Vizjnitz or any other Poilsher/Hungarian Chassidim would even enter a Starbuck's establishment never mind buying a coffee there.
We here in CH, are more 'maikel' about these issues, sad to say.
(3/1/2011 11:41:24 PM)
(3/1/2011 11:48:45 PM)
I;m sure that even now people will still be confused..
(3/2/2011 12:01:57 AM)
"Q: In conclusion, would you say Starbucks should be avoided since it has no kashrus supervision?
A: Yes, but for a different reason: you can get a coffee elsewhere for a dollar as opposed to a latte... yiddishe gelt... "
Or until Starbucks gets the OK hechsher.
(3/2/2011 12:22:58 AM)
lattes are fine they are made in a machine only used for the actual espresso
as to the milk they seperate the soy from regular milk and because of the issue of the same steamer

i actually tested the steamer and it reaches 215 degrees farenheit so it actually kashers itself so cold is definitly no problem as long as you dont get the caramel sauce (its dairy) and also hot

i was extremly upset at the last article it was completly unresearched and stupid
(3/2/2011 12:24:41 AM)
to #8
apparently you know better than CRC and the OK?

you forgot to ask...most starbucks now serve meat sandwiches--including ham--which is used in the same dishwasher, which technically would make the entire thing unusable whether or not parve/dairy stuff is going in at whatever you have to check for that too!!
(3/2/2011 1:29:11 AM)
Clarification still Needed!
The following is a quote from the CRC article. They recommened only going to airport-like Starbucks because they don’t wash any Treifos at those specific locations. The clarification that this post came to clear up was that CRC avoided the issue of Chalav Stam, which is treated in Halacha in the same manner as Triefos.
“The standard daily clean up at Starbucks includes a hot wash of all utensils and some parts of that washing are done without soap. (Emphasis added) This clean up process significantly challenges the kosher status of the otherwise kosher products and each product must be judged by a competent halachic authority.

The good news is that there are many Starbucks locations that do not serve hot meat sandwiches. These are generally the Starbucks kiosks that can be found in airports, department stores, supermarkets, etc., and at these locations the cRc is comfortable recommending any drink made from kosher ingredients (even though some others use ingredients that may not be kosher).”
So if one was to take the psak of the CRC in regards to the issue raised by the washing process, and Chalav Yisroel taken into account, in all Starbucks one would not be able to drink anything made in machines washed in the main sinks, ex. drip coffee.
Clarification is still needed in how Rabbi Fogelman dealt with the issues coming up in the washing process. See another article from Rabbi Fishbane from the CRC, here is a short relevant section ( see whole article Is in unclear how Rabbi Fogelman solved this issue. Please clarify. Again!
If there is an area in Kashrus where Chasidim Anshei Masse would follow a kulo major poskim won’t rely on for a $5 latte?

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“For our purposes, we need to know how hot the water in the first compartment is, and at what point is soap is added to this compartment. If the water is over yad soldes bo - 120 degrees Fahrenheit according the cRc and most major hashgachos - then you are being mavlia(absorbing) non-kosher residue into the utensils used to prepare the hot latte. However, if soap is added before the utensils, the soap invalidates the non-kosher transfer (Shulchan Aruch YD 95:4).
In researching this issue, I went to many different types of coffee houses in several different cities and can conclusively report that there are no universal guidelines on washing dishes - even among stores of the same chain. Furthermore, I have been told by the store employees that even if there is a set policy that might b'dieved skirt these kashrus issues, it is not necessarily always followed.”
Is in unclear how Rabbi Fogelman solved this issue. Please clarify. Again!
If there is an area in Kashrus where Chasidim Anshei Masse would follow a kulo major poskim won’t rely on for a $5 latte?

(3/2/2011 7:17:24 AM)
Maris Ayin!
Think about it!
(3/2/2011 8:30:01 AM)
Chaim - What about on an Airline coffee
Please explain if Flying on an Airline , can one drink a black coffee or Tea in the cabin .?
anyone who knows the answer please clearify
(3/2/2011 8:37:25 AM)
still confusing
I think this article is much worse than the last, it's misleading as it doesn't give details of Starbucks' actual practices. At least the last article was specific with the chart. You should have a Chabad Kashrus Rabbi go to Starbucks, see how it runs in a real store and in a kiosk-type store, and then have them tell us how to order appropriately in each situation.
(3/2/2011 8:38:58 AM)
Frappé w out treif base?
Can u grt frapucinno without the base (treif) meanin you are are drinking coffee blended w soy milk and ice?
(3/2/2011 10:13:06 AM)
This article does not address the issues raised in the previous CRC article
According to the CRC article, the equipment used to make the hot meat sandwiches are washed together with the coffee/latte equipment and its questionable if this is done in a dishwasher or in a sink that is Yad Soledes before soap was added. This article does not address this issue and the question still remains how can someone who keeps kosher drink Starbucks. How much more does this apply to all lubavithcher yungeleit that learned smicha?
See the link for complete CRC discussion,
(3/2/2011 10:13:07 AM)
Doesn't help
The original article was from a halachic investigation of starbucks and their practices. The cRc also knows about nosen taam lifgam. This article presents general ideas in halacha which would require each individual to investigate the details of each situation. The point of a hechsher is that you trust THEIR investigation, otherwise there is no point to the whole industry. In conclusion you should follow the original articles findings and NOT drink brewed coffee at a Starbucks which serves food.
(3/2/2011 10:40:05 AM)
to #8
??? unresearched??? the last artilcle was from the CRC who are very reliable. Meanwhile who are you?
(3/2/2011 10:40:52 AM)
to #4
you say
"No Belz, Satmar, Vizjnitz or any other Poilsher/Hungarian Chassidim would even enter a Starbuck's establishment never mind buying a coffee there. "
let me tell you that living in montreal and driving to NY very often you do see "all of these Chassidim" buying and using their establishments and in some cases their ingredients.

so don't judge so quickly
(3/2/2011 10:54:15 AM)
star fan
Hey #4
youve never been to manhatten.check out the javits center
and starbucks on39/8 , 45/brodway ,penn plazz etc.
(3/2/2011 11:12:06 AM)
I am afraid this all part of the same malaise that we are suffering from in Lubavitch.

Not only regarding Starbucks, but tznius and many other halachos that one would assume "Chassidm" and for sure Chbad Chassidim should be careful with. Slowly but surely many in Chabad are moving towards Modern Orthodoxy and are forgetting the ideals of Chassidus, which are much more than just wanting Moshiach. What is happeing with our view of Halacha?

Why would any Lubavitcher want to go into Stardbucks? This is just another step on a slippery slope.
(3/2/2011 11:41:51 AM)
to #19
you are so right!
(3/2/2011 11:54:47 AM)
I never drink starbuck coffee because you could never be 100%sure. Please answer about drinking a coffee or a tea on an airplane because that's when I get desperate.
(3/2/2011 12:24:14 PM)
I'm Not a Rov
I had the pleasure of sitting together with a Rov on a flight. I mentioned that I won't have a coffee because I noticed the flight attendant pouring milk into the cup before the coffee.
He smiled and gave approval to my svoro, then casually asked the flight attendant for a coffee!
To those who can't understand why a Lubavitcher would go in to Starbucks I say... Enjoy Crown Heights. You'd be pleased to hear that the largest percentage of Chabad no longer live in neighbourhoods with Kosher coffee shops.
Rabbi Fogelman: Why would you have a problem with a cold drink in a clean but used real cup?
(3/2/2011 12:37:48 PM)
Cholov stam?
Cholov akum!
(3/2/2011 1:03:58 PM)
To #'s 19,20,22
First off two wrongs don't make it right. 2nd, if you're looking for heterim to go Starbucks or anywhere else for that matter, the yetzer hora can and will supply with an entire list of heterim.
(3/2/2011 1:55:44 PM)
I have been to many Starbucks locations in both the US and Canada, and have only once been offered Soy-milk that is not the same usual one which has a Minnesota Kosher symbol on it (I believe it is rabbi zeilingolds Hashgacha), that time the Starbucks location in question was out of the company provided one that is Kosher.
I always have the employee show me the carton, but to me cold Soy-milk is one of starbucks's strong points as it has always beenthe same brand and Hashgacha.
(3/2/2011 3:13:48 PM)
Former Barista
To #4
I have personally served black coffee in a paper cup to Belz, Satmar, Vizjnitz and other Poilsher/Hungarian Chassidim. (I worked about one block from Bloomingdales) They were very happy to hear me greet them in yiddish. (BTW they also accepted soy in the container, once they checked the hechsher on the packaging.)
(3/2/2011 3:13:53 PM)
Sholom Doverber
I have seen charedim in much worse places than Starbucks; with the peyos swinging.
lets not be so quick to denigrate our own.
(3/2/2011 4:26:54 PM)
to #4
i have seen plenty of other chassidim in starbucks and even seen them ordering drinks with regular milk.
(3/2/2011 5:59:05 PM)
dont you see what a risk you are taking with ur kashrus just to have ur starbucks coffee? why bother.. next you know youll order coffee at mcdonalds chas veshalom. start bucks started selling ham sandwiches there is real trief on their counters in the sinks they use. lubavitchers go above the letter of the law- so why here are people finding the slightest allowance to drink there?!
(3/2/2011 6:36:17 PM)
I don't understand. Here you have a rav hamachshir supply the svoros and a psak. And along you come... with your eigene svoros... and start providing "soft arguments" (es past nisht, etc.) for a halachik question. The Rebbe was very much against people who did these things (see the Rebbe's comments about people who made problems about benedictine). If you don't want to go to Starbucks, it's your prerogative. But don't confuse your own religion (I won't call your views chumros, as they aren't grounded in halacha, which would make you machmir in halacha) but go something like this: "Why would any Lubavitcher want to go into Stardbucks?" (see comment 21.) Reb Yid, I'll see shabbos in 770. In the meantime, I'll be headed to Starbucks for some nice bed-time coffee and efsher a mamar chassidus.
(3/2/2011 7:37:54 PM)
To 31
The super-market sells entire pigs (while alive! Okay, just kidding, but it's possible). But they also sell Kedem grape juice.... It might not be a slippery slope, but it can be a slippery isle and next thing you know, you'll be swimming with the treife fishes! R"L!
(3/2/2011 7:40:21 PM)
To 31, 4
Thumbs up!!!
(3/2/2011 8:40:35 PM)
former barista....i drink there but should you?
i think the issue is the confusion (which is understandable from these articles.) i worked as a barista and i feel comfortable in my knowledge of the procedures including cleaning "in theory" and what is actually done, and i can tell you that this follow-up is really lacking. point is, if you are unsure, which most people SHOULD be now, you should maybe reconsider getting coffee there (yes, brewed coffee can be made treif now at starbucks due to cleaning issues.) but besides that, what happened to maris ayin? i think most people here would never walk into a treif fastfood restaurant for coffee so why are we trying to make starbucks ok? it is now (except for kiosks without sandwiches) a treif fast food restaurant! the former serve all sorts of bacon and meat sandwiches and so does starbucks. why is it so easy to be high and mighty regarding most fast food chains but nobody can seem to be able to give up their starbucks???
(but if you want a summary....iced soy (pareve) lattes in disposibles (drop the shot into disposible), americano (including iced) in disposibles, and teas (iced if they make it in front of you) are the only drinks i'd buy. syrups ok with a heckshur check. but NO brewed coffee!)
(3/2/2011 10:07:27 PM)
to # 4
Be proud of ur own ppl!!
Non lubavitchers r very quick to have cholov akum!!
Its a chabad thing to be extra particular with cholov yisroel!!
Proud 2 be a Lubavitcher!!!!!
(3/2/2011 10:40:19 PM)
responding to #35
maris Eiyin is in the eyes of the beholder. Even today, most people, both Jewish and Lehavdil not, associate Starbucks with coffee. For this reason, it is permissable to enter many other establishments that serve treif, such as a supermarket, a bowling alley etc.
(3/3/2011 6:22:09 AM)
looking for a job?
This article just made me way more confused!one person says it's treif another says its kosher, the only possible solution seems to open a kosher chain in ch!someone get in touch with starbucks and see if its possible!
(3/3/2011 3:58:50 PM)
to 38:
its NEVER gonna happen... it would become a hangout, lose all its money, and eventually close down. no normal girl/boy would want to go into a store which is a big mob of genders colliding into each other (even if it is Starbucks)...
(3/3/2011 7:13:13 PM)
question?! comment!
ok so i just say DONT DRINK THERE!!! #38 has a good idea! now i am wondering what about coffee bean and tea leaf???? i know you guys dont have it in ch but does anyone happen to know???
(3/3/2011 7:43:50 PM)
it's not like it's even good, what's the problem?
seriously people, there are alot of great cafes all around nyc that don't serve meat sandwiches and sell way better coffee. starbucks roasts in such large batches that they as a policy are not precise and err towards overroasting , making for a totally unnuanced coffee but still charge specialty prices. if you keep cholov yosroel it's not like you can order a steamed drink anyway so save yourself some cash and get a better cup of coffee from the corner store (or dunkin donuts, they make a mean coffee, would you walk in there? i would!)
(3/3/2011 10:41:02 PM)
to 36
are you comparing us to modern orthodox??? it is very normal not to drink chalav akum!!! again, unless you compare to M.O
and yes!! we should be proud of ourselves, our ideals, and keep them!!!
(3/4/2011 5:21:20 PM)
Please don't call Lubavs MO
I find it insulting to call Lubavitcher Chassidim "Modern Orthodox"!! Those name callers do not appreciate that MO follow many kulahs but strictly adhere to halacha. They do not eat bugs in leafy vegetables or broccolli / califlower! MO have standards of halacha. Please do not insult me!
(3/6/2011 9:39:19 PM)
StarBucks cafe......YEP YEP YEP..............
I'm not too sure i understand completely why the jewish people would even dare to think that such a good establishment like StarBucks--coffee house would dare not to do everything with the consumers "health" in-mind...Give me a break!! (I love their frapuccinos)..........
(3/7/2011 4:30:13 PM)
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