Disclaimer: this is a Guide to Vegan Drinks at Costa Coffee UK 2023. If you are in the UK and are interested in what Vegan drinks you can get from Starbucks, click here. Updated May 2023 to reflect new summer menu.
- Costa Coffee Summer 2023 Food and Drink - Vegan Options!
- Costa 2023 Drinks Update
- What Coffees are Vegan at Costa?
- Are Costa Express Machines Vegan?
- What Plant Based Milks are available at Costa?
- What Syrups and Speciality Flavours are Vegan at Costa?
- What festive drinks are vegan at Costa Coffee?
- What Non-Coffee Hot Drinks are Vegan at Costa?
- Is Costa Hot Chocolate Vegan?
- What Cold Iced Drinks are Vegan at Costa?
- What Food is Vegan at Costa?
- Non-festive Vegan Food
- 💬 Comments
Click here for my guide to vegan food and drink at Starbucks and click here to try my vegan copycat version of Costa's festive impulse Coffee Shortbread!
Costa Coffee Summer 2023 Food and Drink - Vegan Options!
I was given a little sneak peek of the latest Costa Summer campaign yesterday, including taking a screenshot of the drinks matrix so that I can advise which drinks are vegan-friendly and which need to be modified.
First of all, I want to start by saying that this is the biggest range of summer drinks that Costa has introduced post-Covid. There is a lot of emphasis on refresher drinks, which are fruity syrups mixed with ice and water, and a return of the bubble frappes.
They have also introduced a coffee whip which is sadly not vegan. It's made with their own brand of instant coffee and skimmed milk.
- Coffee Whip - Not Vegan and cannot be made vegan
- Blueberry Bubble Frappe - vegan if made with your selected dairy-free milk and with their vegan whipped cream. The blueberry sauce is vegan.
- Popcorn Frappe. This is an interesting drink, only advertised to their mailing list if you're under 35. Trying to target the influencer market, I guess. However, you can still request it in storec, even if you are the ancient age of over 35. Vegan if made with dairy-free milk and vegan whipped cream but WITHOUT the caramel sauce. Topping is also vegan.
- 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.
- Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonades are 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 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.
Coming soon for March 23, KitKat range. Not sure what this will entail, or what kind of syrup it will be, but it will be part of their Spring launch.
It's a new year for Costa and I'm excited to see what's on the menu for plant-based diets in the new year. In previous years they have waived the dairy-free milk penalty for Veganuary, not sure if that's happening this year. I have also heard that they will be implementing another price increase early this year.
Food-wise, the festive options are now gone, replaced with a Vegan Saus'ge and Breakfast bap and the Vegan Meatb'll wrap. It looks like there's no vegan cakes at all at the moment (but watch this space as I contact my instore moles later today), and no coffee based drinks, but a selection of new Fuze teas.
I remember, many years ago, being excited by the opening of a new type of shop on the high street: the Coffee Shop. If you are American, you will find the concept of Coffee Shops to be as old as time itself. In the 1950s, the Beatniks spent hours sipping black coffee (whilst using other stimulants) to debate endlessly about poetry and jazz, in the 90s Dale Cooper enjoyed his coffee black, too, along with a slice of damn fine cherry pie.
“Black as midnight on a moonless night.”Dale Cooper
Then came perhaps the catalyst: Central Perk in Friends opened Brit's eyes to the social aspect of coffee drinking. UK options were limited for daytime coffee soirees: we had pubs (not necessarily family friendly), and greasy spoon cafes. But we didn't have cosy, intimate places to meet friends during the day and enjoy a hot drink and a piece of cake.
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?
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.
Currently, Costa are only offering one speciality drink that is vegan: their Latte+ Range, which is a Latte with additional B12 powder. Now called the Energiser, as of May 22.
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 22 drinks. Sadly their first Autumn themed range, Costa's Maple Hazel range is not vegan - the maple sauce used contains milk. This is really disappointing because the Hot Cross bun syrup also contained milk, meaning that vegans or people with milk intolerances are unable to enjoy these seasonal drinks.
- Summer 22 drinks. Costa have introduced their Velvet Iced Latte range. This is simply plant-based iced lattes with different syrups in them. The only one of this range that isn't vegan is the chocolate and oat one.
- Strawberry Iced Infusion.
After Eight Hot Chocolate. Mint Aero Hot Chocolate This is made with a vegan mint syrup. Just make sure to ask for your drink to be made with your plant-based milk of choice, and no cream. Also, this comes with a mint Aero chocolate, which is not vegan. As with most Costa drinks though, this is simply a repurpose of their mint syrup.
- March 22 The Hot Cross Bun range of drinks are not vegan! The syrup contains milk. I was told originally that it was just cinnamon syrup, but I have had it confirmed that it is a milk based hot cross flavour sauce.
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?
As of November 2021, Costa hot chocolate is now vegan again! However, if you have milk intolerance of 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
- Peach Iced Tea
- Strawberry Tea Infusion
- Iced Lattes (made with plant-based milk with a Monin 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)
- Iced Americano
- Coffee Frappe. This can have an additional Monin syrup shot added to it.
- Costa's Mint Frappe syrup is vegan, I personally checked a bottle and it states that it is suitable for vegans. Just make sure to order it without cream or chocolate sauce/sprinkles and with dairy-free milk
- Costa's Strawberry Frappe syrup is also vegan. Again, order without 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).
Non-festive Vegan Food
- Rocky Road Slice
- Vegan Bac'n Bap
- Vegan Saus'ge Bap
- Vegan Smokey Ham and Cheeze Toastie
- Vegan BBQ Chick'n Panini
- Vegan Macaroni Cheese Meal Box
- 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
- BOSH Chocolate Slice
- Brown and white toast (make sure to ask for dairy free spread), plus the toasted teacakes
- Toasted Teacake
- Impulse Gingerbread cookie, seasonal designs
- Shortcake (Impulse product)
- Fruity Flapjack
- Rice Cakes
- Pick n'Mix
Ri Matt says
I LOVE THIS - this is sooo helpful for any coffee-shop addict, but especially for Costa lovers ... and not just relevant for the UK, but globally too!!
Love this!! Central perk made coffee places cool again. This is great for vegans and non vegans too. Thank you!!
Kirby Jeanne says
Thanks for bringing up the LOML Dale Cooper and using the quote I have tattooed on my arm. If I find myself in the UK, I now know where to get my vegan beverages!
i’m gonna have to check out a costa!
Sarah buckley says
This is super helpful!
Love that you curated this for everyone!!
Ok these look so tempting and I wish I loved near a Costa!
No Costa here?what a pity!
This is so helpful, thank you.
This is so helpful, thank you!
Thanks for this guide!! This is so useful!! And it makes me miss Costa coffee. Wish we had one in Toronto.
What a helpful guide, yummy Costa coffee!
Super informative and so helpful! I can tell a great amount of work and research went into this.
It was interesting to read about the evolution of coffee shops in UK, I didn’t know any of that!
Wow, that's a lot of options, I remember when I was in Germany Costa is just below my hotel. I wish I had this list before maybe they also offer the same there. Keeping this one when I visit UK next time I run for London Marathon.
Heather @ Writer's Life for You says
It's really helpful to know the vegan drinks and food at Costa. If I'm ever in the UK I know just where to stop to get my vegan coffee fix. I would want to eat the Rocky Road Slice.
What a great article on how to order vegan coffee! This works perfectly in any coffee shop around the world! I'll be sure to get my coffee fix at Costa when I finally travel to the UK!
Deborah fox says
What about the new frappe that are out for this summer, which are dairy free, as the computer system won't allow them to search without cream on to find what other ingredients are in them.
Hi Deborah, I have noted above the following frappes are vegan, but emphasis to the barista which plant-based milk you want them made with, and NO CREAM on top.
Coffee Frappe. This can have an additional Monin syrup shot added to it.
Costa's Mint Frappe syrup is vegan, I personally checked a bottle and it states that it is suitable for vegans. Just make sure to order it without cream or chocolate sauce/sprinkles and with dairy-free milk
Costa's Strawberry Frappe syrup is also vegan. Again, order without cream and with your choice of dairy free milk.
Mango Bubble Frappe. This is vegan if made with dairy-free milk and served without the dairy swirl. I asked in store and the bubbles are vegan (they use carageenan instead of gelatin)
Mark Ward says
I’ve been told by an ex Costa manager that their new Adiz plant mills aren’t actually Vegan????
Hard to believe but should be looked into!
Really! I used to work for Costa and am still in contact with my old branch so I will do a little investigating into that!