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Costa Coffee Christmas 2023 Food and Drink – Vegan Options – Sneak Preview!
October 23 – we are getting very close to Christmas season at Costa (I believe their range goes live around the 11th November but with a soft launch of black forest and gingerbread later in October). I popped into store today and discovered what the new drinks and some of the food will be be Costa’s Christmas Launch 2023. The drinks are mostly returning favourites and are easily able to prepare dairy-free. However, their sticky toffee pudding range of drinks will not be vegan.
Foodwise, there is not too much option for vegans, the usual Christmas lunch in a toastie (and assumedly in a cold sandwich too), plus a vegan Christmas cake slice. I think they will be keeping their usual vegan cakes alongside the festive range (the chocolate and caramelised vegan loaf cake, rocky road and toasted teacakes).
Costa Christmas Drinks 2023
- Gingerbread Latte and hot chocolate. These are vegan if made with plant-based milk and vegan cream but no gingerbread man or sprinkles.
- Black Forest Hot chocolate. This is vegan if made with plant-based milk and vegan cream but not the sprinkles. If it comes with a separate cherry drizzle, this may not be vegan (tbc).
- Terry’s Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate. This is from their new range. This will be vegan if made with plant-based milk and vegan cream. The sprinkles and chocolate orange slice is not vegan, so ask to be made without.
- After Eight Mint Hot Chocolate. Again, this will be vegan if made with plant-based milk and vegan cream. The After Eight is not vegan, and ask to check the sprinkles in store.
- Roasted Hazel Lattes and Hot Chocolates. These are just made with their usual hazelnut syrup but come with some gold decorations which are vegan. These need to be requested, as always, with plant-based milk and vegan cream.
Sadly the Sticky Toffee range will not be vegan. I have checked the sauce and it contains milk.
Vegan Christmas Food at Costa 2023
So far, the vegan Christmas range is slightly underwhelming with only the Christmas cake slice being suitable for vegans, alongside with mince pie. There is also two sandwiches, one is a toastie and one cold.
- Vegan Turkey and the Trimmings Toastie
- Cold vegan sandwich (not sure what this will be yet)
- Vegan Christmas Cake Slice.
Are Costa Coffee Marshmallows Vegan?
Yes! As of now (October 2023), Costa are now using vegan marshmallows!
More Vegan Roundup Guides!
I love to share recipes from my fellow plant-based food bloggers and here are some of my latest roundup posts!
Previous updates for 2023
- Mango and Berry Bubble Tea – confusingly there are two versions of this, one with a pre-brewed base and one that’s made to order. No idea really what the difference in flavour is, but both vegan.
- Refresher range: this is vegan. These are a range of three drinks: blood orange/yuzu, watermelon/mint and apple/rhubarb. They are basically just flavoured syrups mixed with water and ice. Might be nicer blended, which they can do in store.
- The iced coffees are still to be ordered as noted below.
- Coffee and Cream Frappe – this can be made vegan with dairy-free milk and vegan whip. It is flavoured with a real shot of coffee.
- Strawberry and Cream Frappe remains vegan if made with dairy-free milk and vegan whip.
- Tropical Mango Bubble Frappe – again, vegan if made with dairy-free milk and vegan whipped cream
- The Salted Caramel and Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frappes are not vegan. The base sauces have milk powder in them.
- The fruit coolers remain vegan.
As for food, it doesn’t appear that Costa have introduced any new vegan cakes, they are still churning out the same boring Rocky Road and caramelised cake slice. They have brought back the BB Chik’n Panini, in addition to the vegan meatball wrap and cheeze/ham toastie. So, food-wise, a bit disappointing again, but Costa have been consistently disappointing with their vegan food options lately.
Costa Spring 2023 Drinks Update
Mar/Apr 23: The new KitKat range is not vegan, the syrup used to make the drinks has milk powder in it.
March 23: Costa have finally released their vegan whipped cream! I have tried it, it is a sweet cream, but really nice. One thing though, it leaves strange lumpy bits at the bottom of the drink. Not sure what this, stabilisers of some sort maybe.
Note: The Rolo syrup is not vegan, it contains skimmed milk.
When coffee shops first started popping up on the High Streets of the UK, they only had simple menus with the drinks that are still among the most popular today: Lattes, Americanos, Cappuccinos, Flat Whites, Tea. These were offered with a soya milk option but not much else was on the menu for vegans.
Fast forward 15 (or more) years, and most restaurants and coffee shops on the High Street cater to all dietary requirements. It is still tricky trying to find something for the gluten free/vegan but they are getting there.
So, here are drinks that are vegan friendly and can be found in your local branch of Costa Coffee. Please note, some stores may not stock all the vegan Costa food options. I worked for Costa for 6 years and smaller stores often have more limited availability, however, you should always be able to find a fine selection of plant-based milks in store.
It’s really important to remember that if you’re unsure what is vegan, just to ask your barista: they are trained intensively to know exactly what you are after and give you coffee advice. Of course, if you have an allergy, always ask your barista to check for cross-contamination risks with products too.
What Coffees are Vegan at Costa?
All Costa coffees can be veganised, just ask for your preference of milk:
- Flat White
- Cortado/Caramel Cortado
- Mocha Cortado
Are Costa Express Machines Vegan?
No, Costa Express Machines are not vegan. They only have dairy milk options.
What Plant Based Milks are available at Costa?
- Ultimate Blend
Important Note: Costa changed from using Alpro milk to using a company called Adez (owned by Coca-Cola, who also own Costa…coincidence? I don’t think so). Unfortunately, due to the production of these milks, none of them can be confirmed as gluten-free (a sign instore confirms that the plant-based milks “may contain wheat”), which makes it impossible for gluten-free vegans to enjoy their normal drink at costa. Very disappointing decision from Costa who, time and time again, seem to ignore what their strong customer base wants and needs.
What Syrups and Speciality Flavours are Vegan at Costa?
So this one is both easy and difficult. All the Monin syrups (this includes Caramel, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Sugar Syrup, Gingerbread) are all vegan. However, some of the festive sauces are not, and contain milk. Note: as of 2023, Costa use very few Monin syrups now, using their own branded, cheaper tasting syrups. These are, however, vegan:
- Sugar Free Vanilla
- Sugar Free Caramel
- Sugar Free Gingerbread
What festive drinks are vegan at Costa Coffee?
Currently, Costa states on their website that none of their festive drinks are vegan. However, this is if they are prepared to “brand standard”, i.e. with all the whipped cream and toppings. Some of the Christmas drinks can be veganised if you just know what to ask for.
- Autumn 23 drinks. Sadly their Autumn themed range, Costa’s Maple Hazel range is not vegan – the maple sauce used contains milk. This is really disappointing because vegans or people with milk intolerances are unable to enjoy these seasonal drinks.
You can of course ask for any of the festive syrups in your favourite coffee/mocha drink too.
What Non-Coffee Hot Drinks are Vegan at Costa?
So what can you drink at Costa if you don’t like coffee?
- All the Tea and Fuze Tea Infusions
- Chai Latte
Is Costa Hot Chocolate Vegan?
Costa hot chocolate is now vegan again! However, if you have a milk intolerance or allergy, there is a strong risk of cross contamination during production of the powder, so please bear this in mind. However, this is wonderful news for those of us who have been missing our Costa hot chocolates or mochas!
What Cold Iced Drinks are Vegan at Costa?
- The Mango and Red Berry Fruit Coolers
- Mango Berry Bubble Tea
- Watermelon and Mint Refresher
- Blood Orange and Yuzu Refresher
- Apple and Rhubarb Refresher
- Iced Lattes (made with plant-based milk with and syrup). Costa sometimes refers to these as pour-over iced coffee (along with their other iced coffees that aren’t blended).
- Cold Brew (without the topping) (not sure if Costa even does cold brew anymore?)
- Iced Americano
- Coffee Frappe. This can have an additional syrup shot added to it.
- Costa’s Mint Frappe is vegan, I personally checked a bottle and it states that it is suitable for vegans. Just make sure to order it with dairy-free milk, vegan cream but without the chocolate sauce/sprinkles.
- Costa’s Strawberry Frappe can be made vegan. Again, order with their vegan cream and with your choice of dairy-free milk.
Unfortunately, the Iced Cappuccinos and Flat Whites are prepared with a dairy foam topping, so these are not suitable.
What Food is Vegan at Costa?
Costa have been consistently good with their vegan food options, particularly their cakes, but it does depend on what store you visit. I would recommend that if you want to visit a specific store for a cake and a coffee, give them a call first to make sure that they have some vegan options for you.
I find that periodically this list of vegan food changes, possibly with seasonal updates, but these are usually on the menu throughout the year (albeit sporadically).
Do Costa Coffee do any vegan Pastries?
No. At the moment, Costa do not sell any vegan pastries. The croissants (plain and almond), pain au raisin and chocolate twists all contain butter.
Non-festive Vegan Food
- Rocky Road Slice
- Vegan Saus’ge Bap
- Vegan Smokey Ham and Cheeze Toastie
- Vegan BBQ Chick’n Panini
- Costa now collaborates with M&S food, and the plant-based range is clearly marked M&S Plant Kitchen. This includes Tomato & Basil soup, Hoisin no-duck wrap, Nutty salad, golden syrup porridge and some fruit pots. Note: branches based in Tesco stores do not stock the M&S range.
- Chocolate and Caramelised Biscuit (Lotus) loaf cake
- Brown and white toast (make sure to ask for dairy free spread)
- Toasted Teacake (with dairy free spread)
- Fruity Flapjack
- Rice Cakes
- Pick n’ Mix
Updated Oct’ 23