Starbucks – August 2008 and September 2009
Do Starbucks drinks contain gluten? Yes, SOME do because of the flavorings or add-ins. For example, both the java chip and vanilla bean have gluten in their mixes and have continued to for several years. Whether they still do in 2020, I don’t know, because I stopped asking when I stopped using any of their flavorings. The Pumpkin Spice was (and may still be) safe for years, but I got to the point of not liking the plasticky-chemical aftertaste, and the way it made my tongue brilliantly orange for the rest of the day. I only get their (hot or iced) decaf lattes. (I can’t handle the caffeine in the regular coffee; it has nothing to do with gluten, though.)
For flavoring, I first switched to Nestle Coffee-Mate (the ones in the dairy section). I don’t get using powdered creamer – it’s not creamy, and it doesn’t cool your drink off at all! If you want limited ingredients, get the Natural Bliss version, which is adding more and more flavors to their line. The Natural Bliss Pumpkin was great.
Unfortunately, in 2018 or 2019* Nestlé added an oat-based creamer to their line and are not using certified gluten-free oats. This means that they have introduced cross-contamination into their lines. While oats are naturally gluten free, ones which aren’t certified may have been harvested alongside wheat or could be grown on farms that share fields – i.e. when crop rotation is done, the wheat and oats may swap fields. This is inherently not safe. Not all Celiacs can even eat oats, but those of us who can? We need to be eating Purity Protocol Oats. Not familiar with that? Read more here and here.
There are also Celiacs who have learned they get equally sick from oats as they do from gluten. When the oats aren’t even certified, it is a double whammy, and eliminates the product line for all of us. Or, at least those of us who don’t cheat.
Now I’m using Reddi Whip Barista Series – Nitro Coffee Creamer and Sweet Foam Coffee Topper. I found a decaf I love from Caribou. If I’m out and need a bit of a boost? I get a plain, decaf latte from Starbucks. Iced or hot, I’ve never had any problems, and yes, I’m super sensitive – and I react fast. Too fast to take a risk if I’m not already at home, if you get my drift. The Reddi-Whip website says both products are gluten free. They’re delicious but regrettably difficult to find.
But we all react differently, so ask. Use your judgement. And if you’re not just avoiding gluten, double-check everything. Always.
*I’m not sure when the oat creamers came in, but I first found them for sale near me in 2019.