The Scary Reason You Should Never Order Almond Milk At A Coffee Shop

November 8, 2018 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Food

Almond milk is the best dairy alternative, if you ask me. Since quitting cow’s milk, I’ve seen a drastic improvement on my skin. Acne sufferers aren’t the only ones who should consider a switch; your stomach will thank you, too.

“Most of us have a hard time digesting cow’s dairy,” Nathalie W. Rhone, MS, RDN, CDN tells us. “If you are going to drink animal’s milk opt for sheep or goat. But even better to choose an unsweetened plant based milk like almond or coconut.”

So, if the nut-based milk is such a wonder food–why should drinkers be wary of ordering it in their latte at their local coffee shop?

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READ MORE: The Scary Reason Why You Should NEVER Add Milk To Your Coffee


Let's first address the issue of cross-contamination from the steamer wands. A cornerstone coffee shop order is the cappuccino or the late. If you're a lover of steamed or frothy milk, we can't blame you. If you're ordering a steamed drink, you will still be exposed to dairy milk because they don't change the steamer wands from milk to milk. And since more and more coffee shops are expanding their dairy and non-dairy offerings, people with allergies (either to nuts or dairy intolerance) must be aware of the possible exposure via the shared steamer wands.

"The steaming wand still touches every milk and non dairy anyways," a coffee shop employee revealed on Reddit.

The same goes for blenders, steaming pitchers and other kitchen tools used to prepare drinks. Starbucks is no longer 100% safe for people with nut allergies, a Quora user points out.

The work-around? Coralee Snow, a Starbucks barista out in Washington, warned on her Facebook page this summer: "If you have severe allergies to any of those things, PLEASE request a clean and sanitized steaming pitcher from the back.”

The same goes for if you don't want to be exposed to dairy milk. Stick to a regular coffee order and add your own almond milk at the bar, or request a sanitized steaming wand or pitcher.

Speaking of the bar, if you've gone to Starbucks or another major coffee shop chain in the past few years, you might have noticed that they stopped putting the almond milk and soy milk cartons right on the bar. Instead, they prepare your drink with them or you can ask them to pour you a cup and place it on the bar. Why?

This is likely due to how easy it would be for a person to contaminate the almond milk carton. Additionally, the cartons themselves aren't insulated like the other milk pitchers, so it could have been a problem with refrigeration as well.

Good luck out there, almond drinkers!


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor.

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