The Best and Worst Cafés and Coffee Chains Ranked by PETA

Nowadays, more and more decent humans everywhere recognize that we shouldn’t—and have no need to—exploit other animals for our food. PETA has assessed the animal-friendliness of coffeedoughnut, and bagel chains across the U.S. The resulting letter grades run the gamut from an “A” for chains that offer vegan milk and multiple vegan food options to an “F” for those that have failed to make any effort to be animal-friendly.

This ranking is dynamic, and the information will change as we receive updates from chains or learn of new menu options.

Grade A

Blue State Coffee

This New England coffee chain doesn’t charge extra for nondairy milk and has multiple vegan options, which are clearly labeled on its menu. With the Balsamic Roasted Tofu and the Chickpea Salad Sandwich, those looking for vegan options are sure to find something to fill their bellies when they stop in for a caffeine fix.

Dunkin’

Included on this international doughnut chain’s menu is a breakfast sandwich with Beyond Meat “sausage” (hold the egg and cheese to make it vegan). Other vegan food options include bagels (cinnamon raisin, everything, plain, and sesame), hash browns, an English muffin, and oatmeal (available at participating locations). Dunkin’ also offers almond and oat milk—some locations add a surcharge for it, but not all.

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee

Jack’s—a New York–based coffee chain—is 100 percent organic and offers a variety of nondairy milk options (including almond, oat, and macadamia), and all of its pastries are completely vegan. There are many vegan options to choose from, including homemade biscuits, seasonal scones, a Banana Walnut Crumble Muffin, and an Apple Cider Donut. The chain plans to expand to 25 locations by 2022.

Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s has long offered a variety of vegan milk options—including oat, almond, soy, and coconut. This U.S. chain also launched its Everything Plant-Based Sandwich nationwide after talks with PETA. The breakfast sandwich features a plant-based egg, a seasoned Beyond Meat sausage patty, and a slice of Violife cheddar cheese on a thin “everything” bagel. The chain also serves a variety of vegan pastries, which are clearly marked and vary by location.

Pret A Manger

This international coffee chain offers nondairy milks, including almond and oat milk, in espresso drinks at no additional charge. It has plenty of tasty vegan eats, too, which can easily be found on its online menu. You can use a vegan filter to locate dishes such as the Falafel & Hummus wrap. New seasonal vegan items are added regularly, including coconut bites and a pumpkin spice latte with real pumpkin purée. (Be sure to request vegan preparation.)

Revelator Coffee Company

Revelator Coffee shops offer oat or almond milk at an additional charge and have vegan food options, which vary by location. Most shops have vegan muffins and cookies. You can also find dishes such as the Smoked Tofu Hash with house-smoked tofu and charred summer vegetables, a vegan Caesar salad, and the TLT Sandwich with house focaccia, heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, and smoked tofu. The matcha chia pudding is vegan, too. Depending what state you’re in, your local Revelator Coffee shop might be called Octane or Wired Puppy. Click here to check.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

This specialty coffee chain, which has expanded from Portland, Oregon, (aka “Stumptown”) to cities across the U.S., offers almond and soy milk options at no extra cost. Partnering with local bakeries in each city, Stumptown Coffee Roasters offers a variety of sweet and savory vegan pastries that vary based on location. Some of these delicious treats include a gooey PB&J Cookie and Marion Berry Hand Pie from Portland’s Shoofly Vegan Bakery, a Rainbow Rice Bowl from Lalito in New York City, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Seattle’s Flying Apron, and Chai Blondies from Shake Sugary in New Orleans. In a rush? Pick up a carton of vegan Coconut Cold Brew to go.

Grade B

Aroma Espresso Bar

You’ll find almond, coconut, and soy milk at this East Coast coffee chain. Clearly labeled vegan items, including the Vegan Omelette and Vegan Portobello sandwiches, are also available. Many of its salads are vegan or can easily be made vegan, too.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle offers rich and creamy oat milk at no additional charge, which fits with its mission to offer delicious, sustainable menu options. The Chia Pudding with Strawberries and Raspberries is made with hibiscus and coconut yogurt. Check the website for seasonal vegan food options, and be sure to ask which items are vegan, as dishes can vary from store to store.

The Human Bean

The Human Bean coffee chain also features drive-through locations. It offers a variety of vegan milk options, including soy, almond, coconut, and macadamia, all for a small additional charge. It doesn’t serve much food but does have small-bite items available, which vary by location. Be sure to ask your local barista about vegan options.

Intelligentsia

This U.S. coffee chain offers soy, almond, and oat milk for a small surcharge and has vegan muffin and cookie options on its rotating menu. Past vegan options have included a chocolate chip hazelnut cookie and an oatmeal cookie with apricot—yum!

Philz Coffee

Philz Coffee began as a Bay-area coffee chain but has since expanded to locations in multiple states. We love Philz for offering soy and almond milk at no additional charge. Vegan food options vary by location—many offer vegan doughnuts. Check with your local shop to see what’s available.

Starbucks

You can find a Starbucks pretty much anywhere these days. Thankfully, the coffee shop giant expanded its vegan food offerings in 2018. Vegan items are now clearly labeled but vary by location. Options include the Lentils & Vegetable Protein Bowl with Brown Rice, the Vegan Superberry Açaí, and a variety of grab-and-go snacks. Soy, almond, coconut, and Oatly oat milk are also available for an additional charge.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

This international chain offers almond, coconut, and soy milk for an additional charge. While larger vegan food items vary greatly by location, Coffee Bean stores offer a selection of vegan snacks, such as Coconut Maple Vanilla Superfood Cereal. Contact your local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to find out what vegan food options are available.

Grade C

Black Rock Coffee Bar

This trendy coffee bar offers a variety of vegan milk options—including almond, coconut, and soy—for an additional charge. Some locations also have hemp milk. Food options are locally sourced and vary based on location. Contact your local Black Rock Coffee Bar to find out what vegan food options are offered.

Dutch Bros Coffee

This drive-through coffee chain offers oat, soy, almond, and coconut milk at an additional cost. Although it doesn’t have many food options, it does offer small vegan breakfast items—including oatmeal and granola bars—that vary by location. Be sure to ask which of the flavored syrups are suitable for vegans.

Dunn Brothers Coffee

Dunn Brothers Coffee shops offer almond, coconut, and soy milk for an additional charge. Vegan food options are limited but include an açai bowl, oatmeal with fruit and nuts, and avocado on a plain or “everything” bagel.

Illy

For an additional charge, you can get soy or almond milk at any Illy location. Food options vary by location. At larger cafés, you might find a delicious vegan doughnut, while at smaller shops—such as those in airports and hotels—your only choice may be a fruit cup.

It’s A Grind

This California-based coffee chain offers a choice of soy or almond milk for an additional charge. Food options vary by location. At some It’s A Grind shops, you might find a veggie burrito.

Jittery Joe’s

This Georgia-based coffee chain offers soy and almond milk at an additional cost. Some of the bagels are vegan, but no vegan toppings are offered.

Noah’s New York Bagels

This California bagel chain offers a choice of almond or soy milk at no additional cost. The food options, though, leave plenty of room for improvement—you can choose between a hummus sandwich or peanut butter and jelly on a bagel.

PJ’s Coffee

This New Orleans–based coffee chain offers almond or soy milk for an additional charge. Select locations offer only vegan-friendly chips, bars, hummus, and other quick bites.

Grade D

Biggby Coffee

Biggby Coffee offers soy, coconut, oat, and sometimes almond milk, but it lost points for its surcharge on vegan milks. The coffee shop chain also lost points for its lack of vegan food options.

Caribou Coffee

Although Caribou Coffee shops offer almond and soy milk, the chain lost points for its high surcharge for nondairy milk and lack of vegan-friendly food options. (Beware: Even the oatmeal contains dairy ingredients.)

Coffee Beanery

This U.S. coffee chain offers soy milk, but the additional cost for it will go up as you order a larger-sized beverage. Other than a garden salad, Coffee Beanery shops don’t offer any vegan-friendly options.

DRNK Coffee + Tea

This Southern California coffee chain has plans to expand nationally, and we hope this means it has plans to expand its vegan menu options, too. While shops offer almond milk at an additional charge, don’t expect to find any vegan food here. A vegetarian sandwich is offered, but modifications to make it vegan don’t leave a patron with much.

Grade F

These chains have some major work to do to keep up with today’s increasingly conscious consumers.

Big Apple Bagels

This franchise bakery chain doesn’t offer any vegan milk options, and people looking for vegan fare can order only peanut butter, hummus, or guacamole on one of its vegan bagels.

Bruegger’s

This U.S. bagel chain doesn’t carry any vegan milk options. You can obtain only a simple meal at a Bruegger’s by ordering hummus and a vegan bagel.

Krispy Kreme

This international chain doesn’t offer a vegan milk option or any vegan doughnuts.

Manhattan Bagel

This U.S. coffee chain doesn’t offer vegan milk options. While some of its bagels are vegan, beware—even the hummus contains milk stolen from cows.

Shipley Do-Nuts

Like Krispy Kreme, this U.S. doughnut chain doesn’t offer any vegan milk options or vegan doughnuts.

Deferred Grades

These chains are in the process of making some changes that will have an impact on their grades. Be sure to check back for updates.

Einstein Bros. Bagels

This U.S. bagel chain just might become friendlier to vegans soon. It lost points for its high surcharge for vegan milk, but after receiving 43,000 signatures from PETA supporters, the company announced that it’s testing Kite Hill vegan cream cheese in select Missouri locations.

Not in Missouri? Speak up and help the largest bagel chain in the U.S. earn a better grade! Click here to contact your local Einstein Bros. location to ask that it start offering vegan cream cheese, too.

*****

Has one of your favorite restaurants received a failing grade? Contact it through its website, Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media platform to let it know that you’d like it to offer vegan options (or more of them)—and encourage your friends to do the same. Share this article on Facebook.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind