What is Kosher?
Kosher food is food that has conform to the regulations of kashrut, which is the set of Jewish religious dietary laws. For religiously observant Jewish people, following Kosher food and drink laws are very important. So, we have taken steps to make sure that all of our coffee and tea (all brands and wholesale included) has been certified Kosher by reputable Kosher certifying organizations such as the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of San Francisco and Star-K Kosher Certification.
Is Coffee Naturally Kosher?
Yes and no. Coffee beans are inherently Kosher because water is the only substance that the beans come into contact with during harvesting, processing, and roasting process. Kosher issues arise when other factors are included such as the type of decaffeination process and use of flavor additives.
There are a variety of techniques for decaffeination, but they boil down to two processes: the natural water-based process versus a chemical solvent method. The chemical method uses ethyl acetate to dissolve the caffeine; ethyl acetate is created with grain so it is not Kosher for Passover. The water process uses activated carbon to filter the caffeine. Since San Francisco Bay Coffee only use the water method for our decaf coffee, all of our decaf coffee is Kosher on Passover.
For flavored coffees, flavorings (both natural and sometimes artificial) are added after roasting. Due to the sheer number of types of flavoring, the chances of a non-Kosher flavoring or process are higher, so this is an area of close inspection by the rabbis. San Francisco Bay Coffee uses only Kosher flavorings, but some specific flavors are not Kosher for Passover.
Lastly, the manner in which milk and sugar are added, and the location of the purchase of brewed coffee have Kosher implications. If you are trying to keep Kosher, then it’s best to buy Kosher certified coffee and brew and drink it at home with your own milk and sugar added to taste. But if you’re out and about, it’s best to order plain black coffee in a paper cup.