Answer: No. Starbucks Cold Foam is a dairy-based topping, which makes it non-vegan.
But what I like about Starbucks is that it has already joined the bandwagon in producing vegan-friendly options for plant-based consumers.
There’s no complexity here when it comes to Starbucks drinks. Thankfully!
Starbucks Cold Foam made its first blush in the market in 2014 and has gained popularity among Starbucks fans. It’s simply made with vanilla syrup and non-fat milk. While the former is vegan-friendly, the non-fat milk is an animal by-product.
Are you a Starbucks goer too? If so, it’s time to learn more about its Cold Foam!
Starbucks, the Coffee Giant
Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl were students at the University of San Francisco, where they met and became business partners.
Bowker, Baldwin, and Siegl dubbed the Starbucks trio, were inspired and taught by Dutch-American coffee master Alfred Peet.
Peet is known to be the “Dutchman who taught the U.S. how to drink coffee.” He established Peet’s Coffee & Tea in 1966 in Berkeley, California.
Peet taught the Starbucks trio his own roasting technique, and the trio founded Starbucks in 1971.
Bowker was inspired by his other business partner that a business name that starts with the letters st is powerful.
The trio then started to list names that start with st and thought of Starbo, a mining town. But they instantly thought of Starbuck from the chief mate’s name of the Moby-Dick book.
However, Bowker said it only sounded right but had nothing to do with the book.
Starbucks first sold coffee beans during the first five years.
Alfred Peet supplied the coffee house with green coffee beans during the first two years since Starbuck opened.
However, Peet distanced himself from the trio after they started experimenting with ultra-dark roasts.
In 1986, Starbucks started selling espresso, and the rest is history.
Today, Starbucks has more than 34,000 locations all over the world under licensing and franchising programs.
Starbucks Cold Foam Is Not Vegan-Friendly
Bad news. Starbucks Cold Foam is made with non-fat milk derived from animal milk and vanilla syrup.
Non-fat milk. Although it’s non-fat, it is still sourced from cow’s milk. It’s also called skim milk, in which fat has been removed.
Vanilla syrup, on the other hand, is vegan-friendly, as it’s only made with water, sugar, and vanilla extract from vanilla beans.
However, sugar is a controversial ingredient since it can be processed with animal bone char depending on the manufacturer.
For Starbucks Cold Foam, the ingredient skim milk is enough to stay away from it.
Starbucks Cold Foam was first released in 2014 in the company’s Reserve Roastery in Seattle. But it’s also worth noting that its Cold Foam isn’t the same as whipped cream.
Starbucks Cold Foam isn’t made with cream but only skim milk and vanilla syrup.
Good news. You can ask your Starbucks barista to top your drink with non-dairy cold foam.
It’s as delicious as the regular cold foam, but it won’t give the same texture.
Sounds good enough, right?
Starbucks started offering plant-based milk in 1997, although it has been receiving backlash for asking for an extra fee for the said milk.
Many vegans, even PETA, have encouraged Starbucks to get rid of the extra fee when a customer asks for dairy-free milk.
Starbucks offers Soy Milk, Oat Milk, Almond Milk, and Coconut Milk in most U.S. locations, while offerings may vary in some locations outside America.
In 2009, Starbucks also started offering salads and baked goods free from high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients.
Starbucks also offers low-calorie drinks that use skim milk and a customer’s choice of natural sweeteners such as honey, raw sugar, and agave syrup.
It also offers artificial sweeteners like Splenda, which is a sucralose-based sweetener, Equal, and Sweet’N Low.
Customers can also opt for Starbucks’ sugar-free syrup flavors if they order low-calorie drinks.
Since Starbucks offers plant-based milk, its low-calorie beverages can always be replaced with plant milk on request.
Starbucks Vegan Options
Another good news. Starbucks offers plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives, especially when it comes to its coffee drinks.
You only have to ask your barista for the kind of ingredient you want for your drink, such as plant-based milk flavors, for a fee.
You can have many options at Starbucks, but the most common and widely ordered drinks are on this list.
- Cold Drinks
- Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato
- Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso
- Iced Caffe Americano
- Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- Iced Coffee (order with plant milk)
- Cold Brew (order with plant milk)
- Iced Espresso
- Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte (order with plant milk)
- Hot Drinks
- Flat White (order with plant milk)
- Starbucks Reserve Latte (order with plant milk)
- Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato
- Cafe Latte (order with plant milk)
- Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte (order with plant milk)
- Coffee Frappuccino (order with plant milk)
- Mocha Frappuccino (order with plant milk and without whipped cream)
- Espresso Frappuccino (order with plant milk)
- Matcha Frappuccino (order with plant milk and without whipped cream)
- Fruit Drinks
- Strawberry Acai
- Mango Dragonfruit
- Pineapple Passionfruit
- Vegan Dragon Drink
- Paradise Drink
- Strawberry Overnight Grains
- Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box
- Rolled & Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries
- Plain, Cinnamon Raisin & Everything Bagel (order with Organic Avocado Spread, Justin’s Hazelnut Butter, or Classic Almond Butter)
- Strawberry Overnight Grains
Make Your Own Vegan Cold Foam
Of course, as vegans, we are used to making our own food and drinks at home. And Cold Foam isn’t an exception.
It may not be as froth as the regular Starbucks Cold Foam, but it’s also delicious, vegan, animal-friendly, and way healthier!
You can treat this as a Starbucks copycat, which you can use on your own coffee at home.
Provided that you have the equipment needed, or let’s say you’re such a coffee lover that you almost have Starbucks at home, here’s what you can do.
- ¼ cup full-fat canned plant milk (coconut milk is also a great option)
- 2 tbsp. oat milk
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. maple syrup
- ¼ tsp. salt
What you need:
- Shallow bowl or mug
What to do:
- Put the coconut milk first in the fridge for about an hour or so. This will allow the milk to harden even better.
- Put all the ingredients in a mug or bowl and froth using the frother for 60 seconds until the mixture becomes airy and fluffy.
- Your vegan cold foam is ready!
If you don’t have a frother, you can try the whisk method, although it will take more time before the mixture achieves the texture of the cold foam.
You can also use a blender, food processor, or electric mixer. But you can also do it with a hand mixer manually.
Is Cold Foam Healthy?
Every food or beverage, when consumed in moderation, won’t hurt. However, excessive consumption will take a toll on your health over time.
Starbucks Cold Foam, for instance, is made with skim milk.
Skim milk is lower in calories and a great source of protein, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals.
However, it’s something that vegans avoid since it’s derived from cow’s milk.
Skim milk has less than 0.5% milk fat, which became popular among all people who seek a low-fat or low-calorie diet.
Many people use skim milk because of its low-calorie content and the removal of milk fat through the fortification process.
However, this has also been a subject of debate among health experts. Others question the health effects of the fortification process.
Excessive skim milk consumption can also cause digestive system issues, including cramps, diarrhea, and bloating.
It can also cause acne, nausea, and other unhealthy symptoms.
Since skim milk has less saturated fat, some people claim that it only makes them unsatisfied and would want more. This leads to weight gain despite being low in calorie content.
Skim milk is also known for adding sugar, which can cause vital organ issues, endocrine function, and other health problems.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting your added sugar intake to 36 g per day to avoid any adverse health issues in the future.
However, many people go beyond the recommended intake, especially how other food ingredients are used.
So, its’ always best to use plant milk instead of cow’s milk as these are naturally sourced and don’t harm anyone’s health.
The Bottom Line
Starbucks Cold Foam is not vegan-friendly as it’s made with skim milk, derived from cow’s milk, and vanilla syrup.
However, the coffee giant offers non-dairy cold foam, which is as delicious as the regular one, although the texture isn’t the same.
Starbucks also has a lot of vegan options for you to choose from, and you can check all of them here in an article I wrote.
If Starbucks isn’t easily accessible to you, better yet, make your own coffee at home. You can control the ingredients you like, and it’s vegan-friendly most of all!