How Vegan Coffee Benefits Everyone + The Planet

How Vegan Coffee Benefits Everyone + The Planet

The difference between vegan coffee and regular coffee isn’t as obvious as plant vs. animal protein.

All black coffee is naturally vegan. Harvesting the fruit from the Coffea plant and roasting coffee beans doesn’t involve animal or animal byproducts either.

So why is some coffee not vegan? That’s a puzzle we’re going to solve today as we discover what makes the perfect vegan-friendly cup of Joe. 

Veganism: It’s More than A Dietary Choice

Vegans strongly advocate for animal rights, shunning the use of animal products in every aspect of their lives. They don’t nosh animal-derived foods (meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.) and avoid animal products such as leather, fur, and wool.

But veganism is a lifestyle that also promotes:

Environmentally-Conscious Decisions

Vegans prioritize:

  • Sustainability. Animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, deforestation, and other unsustainable, planet-harming woes. Vegans strive for sustainable foods, hoping to shrink their ecological footprint to protect and safeguard the environment for future generations.
  • Economic and social justice. Veganism also intersects with broader concerns about social justice and economic inequality. Some vegans argue that the resources used to feed livestock could be better allocated to address global issues like food insecurity. 

Better Health 

Plant-based, vegan diets are linked with lower risks of chronic diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and certain cancers.[*

Vegans typically consume more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes than the average American. These vegan foods are rich in essential nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, which have been connected to better health.[*]

That’s why going vegetarian or vegan just one day a week (ala Meatless Mondays) isn’t just about eco-friendly foods but also beneficial for your well-being.

So Why Is Some Coffee Not Vegan?

It’s one thing to keep your coffee cruelty-free. It’s an entirely different thing to sip environmentally-conscious java. That’s why even technically vegan coffee isn’t always vegan-friendly.

Based on the intel we just shared, coffee may not fit the vegan ethos if:

  • It’s not organic. Conventional coffee is one of the most chemically-treated foods on the planet. These highly toxic synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides wreak havoc on the health of the farmers who use them. They also get into our air, soil, and waterways, damaging local wildlife ecosystems.
  • It’s not Fair Trade. When coffee growers aren’t paid fairly, they lack the financial means to improve the fertility and sustainability of their land. Unfortunately, it costs money to earn Fair Trade certification, and many small coffee producers lack the capital to snag this label.
  • It contains animal-derived additions. Some coffees have animal-based flavoring agents and powdered milk/creamers — especially all-in-one capsule coffee pods (like K-cups). Even flavors marketed as “non-dairy” may not be vegan if they contain casein, a protein that comes from cow’s milk.
  • How To Make the Best Vegan Coffee Drinks

    There are three steps to brewing up the best vegan coffee drinks on your own:

    1. Choose Your Beans

    Stick to organic, Fair-Trade, unflavored beans if you’re making a cup of coffee at home. Then you won’t have to worry about suspect additives sneaking into your java.

    Whipping up cold brew coffee or iced coffee recipes? Opt for dark roasts like espresso or French. They’ll maintain that robust coffee flavor even when you dilute your brew with ice, non-dairy milk, or a scoop of plant-based ice cream (it’s called an affogato, and it’s amazing). Same goes for decaf varieties.

    2. Pick Your Plant-Based Milk 

    There’s nothing wrong with the workhorse that is straight-up black coffee. 

    But if you prefer a splash of creamer or want to treat yourself to a vegan latte, there’s a plethora of unsweetened plant-based milk alternatives to suit every palate. You can find these at your local grocery store, Starbucks, Amazon, etc.:

  • Coconut milk. Similar in consistency to half-and-half, coconut milk is made by blending coconut flesh with coconut water. This vegan milk contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that may boost your energy and mental performance.
  • Nut milks. Cashew, macadamia, and almond milk have similarly thin consistencies and smooth, nutty flavors. They’re good for steaming lattes but may not be thick enough for cappuccinos.
  • Oat milk. Extracting the sweetness from oats gives this vegan milk a creamy, tasty flavor akin to cereal milk. Used at many coffee shops, its natural emulsifiers make it ideal for frothing lattes and cappuccinos. Oats also take fewer resources to grow and harvest than nuts, so they’re an eco-friendly option. However, it can be high in carbohydrates. 
  • Hemp milk. Made from the nutritional powerhouse that is hemp seeds, this milk is thin, creamy, and slightly nutty. It’s loaded with healthy fats, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins. 
  • Flax seed milk. Flaxseed milk imparts earthy, slightly nutty notes and has a consistency close to cashew milk. It contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants, and vegan protein
  • Soy milk. Though it varies in flavor, soy milk is typically higher in protein than other vegan milks. However, soy is one of the top GMO crops. 
  • Pea milk. One of the most nutritious vegan milks on the market, pea milk has a neutral flavor and a thicker consistency. You’ll find vitamin A, several B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and one of the best plant proteins in this option.  

  • Watch out for GMO oils, artificial sweeteners, gums, emulsifiers (like carrageenan), and artificial coloring agents in these store-bought plant-based milks. The fewer ingredients, the better.

    What about dairy-free creamers? Hard pass. Many contain potentially animal-derived artificial ingredients, milk derivatives, corn syrup, thickening agents, and unhealthy and environmentally damaging vegetable oils (like palm oil).

    3. Add Some Flavor

    Step up your barista skills and add a pinch of these sugar-free flavorings to your cold or hot coffee:

      • Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, clove, allspice, ginger, apple pie, or pumpkin spice help recreate anything from your fave PSL or cafe mocha to a dirty chai latte.
      • Sugar-free extracts. A drop of peppermint, almond, anise, coconut, or vanilla extract turns a plain cup of coffee into *chef’s kiss.*
  • Low-carb vegan sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit.

  • Try experimenting with these flavor combos to craft your own stellar vegan recipes and copycat coffee shop faves. 

    Psst! Instant coffee slashes your prep time and total time in the kitchen when you’re in a hurry.

    What are the Benefits of Vegan Coffee & IQJOE?

    Vegan coffee is good for your brain, body, and the health of the planet.

    Combining vegan coffee with plant-based milk delivers more omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than coffee with dairy-based creamers. These all-stars improve your brain health and overall well-being.

    Choose coconut milk, and you’ll also gain beneficial MCTs. These can help your body produce more ketones (if you’re on a vegan keto diet), reduce keto flu symptoms, support fat loss, enhance mental performance, and more.

    🥥 Read Next: The Ultimate Guide To MCT Oil

    IQJOE: The Perfect Vegan Instant Coffee for Your Brain

    IQJOE instant coffee is the vegan coffee dreams were made of. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO. It’s also keto-friendly. 

    But the pièce de résistance? IQJOE is adaptogenic coffee, which means it’s formulated with brain-boosting ingredients that enhance your concentration and thinking while promoting steady, feel-good vibes.

    Each serving contains:

    • 200 mg Natural, Organic Caffeine for a bold flavor and long-lasting, jitter-free energy.
    • 750 mg Magtein®️ (Magnesium L-Threonate) to elevate your mood, mental clarity, and focus.
    • 250 mg 8X-Concentrated Lion's Mane Extract, an adaptogen that lowers stress, enhances productivity, and supports mental health.

    Just add one IQJOE packet to hot water, stir until dissolved, and enjoy! The whole process takes less than a minute — so you get more time to veganize your favorite coffee shop recipes at home.

    Want to take your brew on the go? No sweat! IQJOE flavors like Vanilla Spice, Toasted Hazelnut, and Caffè Mocha already taste barista-made.

    So Should Everyone Drink Vegan Coffee?

    We could all make more environmentally-conscious choices, and vegan coffee creates an easy swap to do so. Ethically sourced, cruelty-free coffee beans ensure your caffeine fix doesn’t harm the planet, endanger animals, or exploit farmers. So that’s a resounding yes!

    Can’t pick from our plant-powered garden of brews? Try all four flavors of the best vegan adaptogenic coffee with the IQJOE Variety Pack!


    Written by Lauren Ciccarelli, a writer and research geek passionate about low-carb nutrition, mental health, and meditation. Her 2,500+ articles empower doers with science-backed tips for leveled-up living.