In recent years, soy, almond, oat, and other vegan milks have become widely available at both local cafés and national coffee chains. That’s because more people are realizing the many benefits of going vegan. Cows are smart, sensitive animals who fight for their young, but cows used for their milk are forcibly impregnated, their calves are stolen from them, and they’re hooked up to machines for most of their lives. They live in this endless cycle of exploitation until they’re no longer considered useful to the dairy industry, which is also contributing to environmental devastation by producing massive amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Customers shouldn’t be punished for making the right choice, which is why many coffee chains aren’t charging extra for nondairy milk. Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the U.S., still refuses to end its surcharge for vegan milk, even when smaller chains are making no upcharge the norm. So if you’re wondering where you can grab a coffee without being punished for your compassion, look no further!
Here are some coffee chains that don’t have a vegan milk surcharge:
Blue Bottle Coffee
This chain serves high-quality coffee with vegan milks, including oat milk, at no additional cost. It’s even testing oat milk, instead of cow’s milk, as the default option at two of its locations: N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles and Jackson Square in San Francisco. The decision is part of the chain’s effort to become carbon neutral by 2024, since the dairy industry is a huge contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions.
Ordering a beverage from Philz Coffee is a unique experience in the coffee shop world. Instead of the traditional method of ordering, paying, and waiting for your drink to be made, at Philz, you go directly to the person serving your drink. This personalized experience offers you the chance to customize a drink to your specifications. Ask your barista to make it with almond, soy, or oat milk and pay no additional charge. Philz even stopped selling 2% dairy milk to make room for oat milk. Enjoy your hand-crafted beverage with a vegan doughnut or a bagel topped with avocado or hummus.
You can get almond milk at Panera at no additional charge, thanks to PETA’s talks with the company. Some locations also offer soy milk, if that’s your vegan milk of choice. Order your almond milk latte, cappuccino, or chai tea latte, along with any of Panera’s vegan-friendly food options.
Noah’s New York Bagels
Noah’s offers almond and soy milk in its coffee and espresso beverages at no additional cost. Many of the chain’s bagels are vegan (avoid those made with eggs, cheese, or honey), and some locations offer hummus, peanut butter, and jelly.
Pret A Manger
This café chain stopped charging for dairy-free milk at all its locations internationally, so you can enjoy almond, oat, or soy milk in your coffee at no extra charge. Many locations also offer delicious vegan food options, such as the Super Veggie sandwich and the Falafel & Hummus wrap.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown Coffee—which has locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Portland, and Seattle—offers soy and almond milk without a surcharge. All locations also offer sweet and savory vegan food items, but the exact offerings vary since they’re all made locally.
These compassionate companies are leading the way toward a fee-free future for vegan milk. Ask Starbucks to follow suit and show that it cares about animals and the environment by ending its surcharge: