This is a good news and bad news situation.
Many K cups are vegan, but some are not.
To make life more complicated, the ingredients are usually only listed on the box itself, not the individual cup containers.
That makes things especially difficult if you’re used to grabbing a K cup at work or from a friend.
There are literally hundreds of unique K cups, so I haven’t created a list of all of them, but I’ve compiled the most popular ones and whether or not they are vegan.
It should help you be more confident on which ones are safe for vegans or not.
Which K Cups Are NOT Vegan?
Most K cups are literally just make from coffee beans, and then you can add whatever you want.
But there are 2 common issues that can cause K Cups not to be vegan-friendly:
- Milk ingredients
- “Natural Flavors”
Certain cups, like Starbucks Caffe Latte (box pictured below) also come with dairy packets.
The packets are separate from the cups themselves, but it’s a package deal, so most vegans wouldn’t be comfortable buying them.
Inside the packets are:
Sweetened Dairy Packet Ingredients: Reduced-fat dried whole milk, sugar, natural flavors, salt.
The dried milk clearly makes it not vegan.
The second potential issue is that many of the flavored K Cups have “natural flavors” in the ingredients.
These may very well be vegan, but there’s no way of knowing.
Companies are allowed to put many ingredients in “natural flavoring,” including many animal products.
From the official regulations, here’s the most important part:
The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the…which contains the flavoring constituents derived from…leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof,
I don’t think it’s safe to assume that K cups with natural flavoring added are vegan friendly, although some probably are.
In general, steer from cream or caramel flavors at the very least.
Popular K Cups That ARE Vegan
If you’re looking to stock up on K Cups, there are quite a few popular options that are clearly vegan friendly.
Here’s a list of those brands and specific cups:
- Folgers Classic Roast Coffee – The only ingredient is “coffee.”
- Eight O’Clock Coffee Dark Italian Roast – 100% Arabica coffee
- McCafe Premium Roast Decaf Coffee – 100% Arabica beans. Medium (Decaf) Roast
- Starbucks Pike Place Roast Medium Roast – 100% Arabica Coffee.
- Starbucks Breakfast Blend Medium Roast – 100% Arabica Coffee.
If there are any specific K cups that you’re not sure if they are vegan or not and would like help finding out, just leave a comment below and I’ll track down the ingredients (which can be tricky to find).