Turns out (H/T The NYT: Blending a Strong Interest in Kosher Ingredients With a Taste for Starbucks Coffee, New York Times, July 6, 2012) that a couple of Starbucks loving Orthodox Jews decided to set up a website listing all the items you can have at Starbucks (as in: “have” as an observant Jew. Obviously if you pay, you can have whatever you like)
What’s the fuss you might ask? Why should there be a problemme in the first place… Well, there is.
Coffee beans and hot water are kosher: they do not run afoul of the biblical prohibitions against foods like pork and shellfish. But Starbucks does offer such items, for instance, breakfast sandwiches with ham. And the carafes, knives and other implements can commingle in Starbucks sinks and washing machines, which means particles from, say, a nonkosher smoothie mix can contaminate a spoon used to skim the foam off a latte.
But now you can visit: http://www.kosherstarbucks.com/help/about
And check out the menu. I really like that there are three options for how you evaluate what you are willing to eat/drink (Halacha is not black and white, and it’s good to see different approaches being given equal status. Being machmir, strickt, is the easy way out (as saying “No, not permittied” is faster than “Let me check this out and look into the matter, it might be permissable”) and not always the right one. I also really liked that they don’t write “Kosher / Treife” but instead “Recommended / Not recommended”. Technically, they don’t have the authorisation to declare a product kosher, and so it’s nice to see that they don’t.
Yes — there is better coffee than Starbucks out there. But when in NYC, Starbucks is part of the fun!
If in Jerusalem, I highly recommendeda “הפוך גדול חזק” (Big latte, extra strong) at Lechem shel Tomer… bliss…
Finally, this little item allowed me to create the tag ‘coffee’ and this blog will be better for it.