After being diagnosed with Celiac you have to make a lot of changes to your lifestyle and most of these changes affect your diet. Finding out which products are safe for you and which ones can cause symptoms can be a tough process.
One of the things that most people consume every day is coffee. So if you’re someone with gluten allergies, you’ll have the question whether coffee is gluten-free or not. Don’t worry though, because we’re here to help you out.
For a short answer, yes, coffee itself does not have any gluten. However, there can be instances where this can change depending on additional ingredients added as we will see further into this article.
How Coffee Is Made
To achieve a better understanding of whether coffee is gluten-free or not, let’s first look at how coffee is made. Coffee is made by roasting and brewing coffee beans and adding additional ingredients depending on the type of coffee you’re having.
Since coffee beans belong to a different family of plants compared to wheat, barley, and rye that contain the protein gluten, they are gluten-free.
In addition to that one may add milk, cream and other dairy products to their coffee as per their liking and while these do contain lactose, they’re free from gluten. Water and sugar added to coffee are also gluten-free.
Having established what goes into making a coffee, let’s now answer the question at hand.
Does Coffee Contain Gluten?
Generally speaking coffee isn’t made from any ingredients that contain gluten. Therefore, coffee is gluten-free, however, there still remains a risk for cross-contamination.
What this means is that the ingredients used to make coffee might be processed in the same facility that produces gluten-containing products and improper cleaning of equipment may cause small amounts of gluten to contaminate the naturally gluten-free ingredients.
While this is a rare occurrence, it can trigger symptoms in someone who is extremely sensitive to even small amounts of Gluten.
Is Flavored Coffee Gluten-Free?
If the ingredients used to add flavor to coffee are gluten-free and do not have any source of contamination then flavored coffee will also be gluten-free, and if there’s cross-contamination or if the added ingredient itself is made from wheat, barley, or rye, then the coffee will not be gluten-free.
Now, I’m sure you’re asking the question that if there is a risk of cross-contamination, what should be done about it? Well, there are two alternatives, either you make your own coffee at home by roasting and brewing the coffee beans yourself, or the more convenient option of purchasing coffee that is made in a separate dedicated gluten-free facility.
While this can raise the costs, it is definitely better to buy something a tad more expensive than to risk your health.
Coffee Brands That Are Gluten-Free
To get you started, here are some of the best brands that have been labeled as gluten-free.
Anthony’s Organic Instant Coffee
This product will provide you with authentic Arabica bean flavored instant coffee perfect for on-the-go consumption. It also comes with instructions at the back that are easy to follow allowing you to make enjoyable coffee within no time.
1936 Instant Coffee Hazelnut
This instant coffee carrying the Hazelnut flavor is made from Arabica beans which will provide you with a great flavorful experience. In addition to being gluten-free, it is non-GMO and kosher.
Tierra Farm Coffee
This brand will provide you with a wide range of flavors to choose from all of which are not only delicious but are also gluten-free, peanut-free, and USDA organic.
Alpine Start Premium Instant Coffee
This coffee comes with a lot of benefits such as gluten-free, dairy-free, keto-friendly, non-GMO, and vegan making this product an ideal choice to serve to a large group of people. Everyone can consume and enjoy this product without any worries.
In addition to these, there are many other brands as well that will provide you with a gluten-free and flavorful experience that you will fall in love with.
Ordering Gluten-Free Coffee At Coffee Shops
When it comes to ordering coffee from coffee shops, here are some of the key points that you should keep in mind so that you can avoid cross-contamination.
Let your concerns be known
Make sure to tell the person taking your order that you’re sensitive to gluten and get them to write it down on your cup so that anyone working on the coffee can know right away that this order requires special care.
Blended drinks are very likely to contain gluten either by ingredients or through cross-contact so make sure that whenever you’re ordering something like a frappe, you instruct the person taking your order that you are allergic to gluten and that the blender should be washed thoroughly rather than simply rinsed so that you can avoid potentially hazardous consequences.
Be mindful of flavors added to your coffee. There could be a chance that whichever flavor you want your coffee to be, the syrup used to achieve that flavor might contain gluten. You can ask to check the ingredients of the syrup and ensure that it is indeed gluten-free.
Using same containers
Since cafes can be very busy with loads of customers streaming in, in order to save time, some baristas might reuse the same containers especially for milk containing drinks and products. So make sure you instruct the barista to wash all containers thoroughly so that there is no cross contamination.
Another potential source of contamination could be the heating equipment especially those which involve the drink coming in direct contact with the equipment. Therefore, make sure your barista either uses a separate machine for heating your coffee or cleans the equipment very meticulously.
One approach that you can adopt is to simply order black coffee so that the risk of cross-contamination with milk and flavors can be completely avoided. Once you get adjusted to the taste, you might not have to go through the hassle of having to check everything each time.
Don’t be afraid to ask
If you’re unsure or fear that something might contain gluten, don’t hesitate to ask for the ingredients or demand washing the equipment carefully and thoroughly, remember, your health is always the priority.
Go to gluten-free cafés
Be on the lookout for shops and cafés that specialize in serving gluten-free drinks and coffee. These shops have been made to cater to your needs and are well aware of the risks of cross-contact and would therefore be very careful with your order.
Check before you go
When planning to visit a shop, you might be unsure whether they serve gluten-free coffee and other drinks or not. The best way is to call them or check out their website (or look up their gluten free reviews online) to know your options. For example, Dutch Bros has a variety of gluten-sensitive options including Dutch Classics, Americano, Chai, & Smoothies
and don’t also forget to keep in mind all the precautions beforehand and elaborating your concerns to your server regardless of whether the café specializes in gluten-free drinks or not.
Are Other Coffee Products Gluten-Free?
Of course, then there’s the question of other coffee flavored products such as snacks, cakes, chocolates, breads, and others, are they also gluten-free? The answer to this can vary depending on the product. Just as with coffee, if the product is made from ingredients such as wheat, you can be sure that it is not gluten-free.
Generally unless clearly stated to be gluten-free and made in a separate facility free from Gluten, you should assume that the product contains gluten, especially products such as bread, cakes, and other snacks that are usually made from wheat flour. Make sure you go through the ingredients beforehand and look for the certified gluten-free label in order to prevent any serious consequences.
Can Gluten-Free Coffee Still Trigger Symptoms?
A stomach sensitive to gluten might also be sensitive to other allergens, and sadly, one of those is coffee which can irritate your stomach causing it to mimic the symptoms of Celiac disease and while you question whether the product was the issue, it might just be your sensitive stomach.
Furthermore, coffee that contains milk also carries another potential allergen, lactose, which might also be something you could be allergic to. If you are experiencing something as such where you cannot find the cause of your symptoms, try limiting your coffee use or replacing milk-related products to see if there’s any improvement.
The best way to escape the symptoms of gluten-allergy while still enjoying your daily coffee is to make sure to only use brands that sell coffee made in a dedicated gluten-free facility as well as ensure thorough cleaning and avoid using potentially harmful ingredients to make sure that your coffee is safe for you. In addition to that, it is also better to restrict your coffee consumption whenever possible to avoid irritating your sensitive gut. With thorough care and precautions even you can enjoy the goodness of coffee without any issues whatsoever.