Are Specialty Coffee Beans Kosher?

Periodically my landlord comes by to grab the occasional Grasshopper when he’s in the area. He’s also been known to bring someone with him so they can try a Grasshopper too. Thanks Phil, appreciate the love. Of course you know how awesome the Grasshopper can be, then you totally get it. This most recent visit, he brought along a Rabbi. This where I became a bit intrigued, I’d never put much thought into the question… Are specialty coffee beans considered Kosher?

Kosher and the Sustainable seem to play in the same circle… But you’ll never know. If you don’t ask.

Peace thru Yoga Owner former Director of the Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis. Though Mindi is Jewish by birth and tradition, she is not by practice. That means she does not practice Kashrut that means she does not eat food that is kosher as a general practice. But coffee is kosher

Above: Mindi Epstein, owner of Peace Through Yoga in Speedway

Let’s take brief step back for a moment; I’d had a number of customers over time that were all very much Jewish. One of my really good friends, Mindi Epstein,(She’s the very happy lady that owns Peace through Yoga), is Jewish.  I’ve always meant to ask her, but never seemed to remember, if fresh roasted coffee is kosher.

What does “Kosher” mean and what is the real significance?

For those of us in the world that aren’t clear what the word “Kosher” and I’d reason the word Kashrus” may be just a tad bit more foreign to you as well. (No pun intended.) Kashrus refers to the subject of Kosher food. The translation of the word kosher is “fit” or “proper.” To make it easier to understand, at least for me, the word Vegetarian gives me a general understanding of the type of food that person eats. And there are certain food choices that would be the best “fit” or “proper” for a vegetarian to eat. When applied to food, the term indicates that an item is fit or proper consumption according to Jewish law.

There are 3 Categories of Kosher Food… I promise we’ll talk about coffee soon…

In the Kosher lifestyle there are three categories:

  • Meat
    • A trained kosher inspector is present to make certain the animal was prepared appropriately.
  • Dairy
    • A trained kosher inspector is present and has inspected all forms of dairy. No matter the amount of milk, the food must be inspected and certified.
  • Pareve (this where we find coffee)
    • Goods that contain neither meat nor dairy ingredients, nor their derivatives. All fruits, grains, vegetables, water and minerals in their natural state are kosher and pareve.

So after giving you the long, drawn out answer, albeit complete, coffee beans are kosher because water is the only substance the beans the ever have direct contact with during the entire seed to cup process, it’s pareve. So now, you know, from a coffee guy in Indianapolis, that if you are a kosher Jew, it is acceptable to have an almond milk latte.  But if you’re out and about, and you are wondering if you can drink a cup of coffee, it’s best to order plain black coffee in a paper cup. Why? Because yes, coffee is kosher.