Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coconut milk at Starbucks YOSA (yay or step away)?

You know we are coffee junkies around here but personally I’ve never had a Starbucks habit. My fam tells me this makes me a coffee snob, so I guess I’m a snobby junkie then. I say it’s all Lauren’s fault “be choosy with coffee and anything you consume daily”.  I will admit, Starbucks does an ok job in a jam such as  an airport. The protein plate and a KIND bar have saved many a meal and their Blonde roast, crazy high caffeine, does make me feel like I can take over the world.  But as a daily, multiple-cup coffee drinker, I’m pretty much a psycho about using organic milk or organic half and half and those aren’t available at Starbucks. Lets be honest, Starbucks is all about quantity and not quality.
Then I heard about Starbucks coconut milk menu addition that debuted this month. Clients were curious, I was skeptical. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. And then almost immediately, this ingredient label showed up on my news feed:

Ingredients: Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2.

 We weren’t the first to question this coconut milk. Many articles called Starbucks’s bluff in its non-dairy alternative. “Starbucks debuts coconut milk that isn’t coconut milk” and in “Why Starbucks and I Are ona Break” our friend Alyssa Hertzig says “I'm not sure why corporations assume that people who can't have dairy automatically want their coffee to taste like birthday cake

So what exactly is wrong with their coconut milk? First, milk (dairy or non dairy) doesn’t need a laundry list of ingredients. There are also 3 different gums (if there are “probiotics” these are “con-biotics" not good for intestinal flora) corn (probable GMOs), carrageenan, lots of sugar and very little coconut (so less of that good fat). The first ingredient listed is water. So basically everything is wrong.

Lauren has blogged on carrageenan before. It’s difficult to digest particularly for anyone with GI issues and a carcinogen. Sometimes it’s cited as seaweed derivative but it’s a definite “STEP AWAY” ingredient in nut, seed or coconut milks.

Starbucks sells this as “single origin Sumatra coconut milk…from the tropical Indonesian island of Sumatra.We call bull-Sumatra on this one!
Don’t fall for any sketchy Starbucks marketing… in our “yay or step away” analysis, we say step away!If you’re on the hunt for an easy-to-find coffee spot, we like the almost all organic Le Pain which can be found all over NYC.  Joe’s coffee/  uses good quality milk too. 
OR  you can DIY at home with Grady’s and homemade coconut (all you need coconut and water) or almond milk that will  save money and gnarly ingredients.
So are you a coffee snob? How do you take your coffee? What else would you like to see YOSA’d? #yayorstepaway? Have you tried Starbucks coconut-ish coffee?


  1. This is a bummer, but good to know! I'm not a huge Starbucks fan either, but was hoping when stuck this would be a great option. Love YOSA and what about gelatin? I have heard a lot about it.

  2. Gelatin- good one as in bone broth or gelatin that is being used in cooking/paleo etc?

  3. I have issues with all the commercial coconut milks! I just make my own!! It's so good!

  4. That may answer my question! I was referring more to the capsules or powder people use to cook with.

  5. I was very excited about the coconut milk option at Starbucks but now I don't even want to try it! Thanks for setting the record straight...

  6. I was looking for articles on Organic Cow Milk and I came across yours inspiring read. Great post!