Flavored Coffee

I love coffee of all kinds, but I am worried about drinking flavored coffee. I’ve heard that it’s not gluten free. Is that true?

For coffee lovers, even the thought of giving up any favorite brew can trigger fear of caffeine withdrawal symptoms. But you don’t have to worry. It’s hard to find a flavored coffee that is not gluten- free.

Coffee is flavored in two ways. Flavoring is either added to the beans after they are roasted but before they are ground, or it is added as syrup after the coffee has been brewed. Joseph Staffieri, founder of Flavor Development Corp., a New Jersey  company that makes flavorings for  coffee, said it would be unlikely to find gluten in a coffee flavoring since gluten containing ingredients are not part of the flavor-making process. In fact, his plant is completely gluten free and he has never used any gluten- containing ingredients.

Staffieri, who has worked in the flavor industry for more than 40 years and supplies flavors to coffee companies throughout the US and Canada, said it would not make sense for a coffee flavor maker  to use gluten in a product. And even if a company did use a gluten- containing ingredient in a flavor, Staffieri said, the amount that would end up in the coffee would be so minute it would be untraceable.

He calculated that the amount of flavoring in a cup of coffee is about 1 part per million. That accounts for all the components of the flavor. Any theoretical gluten- containing ingredient would only be a small portion of that 1 ppm. Even if the flavoring was all gluten, at 1 ppm it would be well below 20 ppm, which is the amount the Food and Drug Administration has set as the standard for gluten- free food.

There’s a lot of speculation about gluten in coffee flavorings, but these are the facts.


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