R.I.P. Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte


I used to love you, but you tried to kill me.

So here’s some good, and horrible, news. I do believe I’ve — at least partially — gotten to the bottom of some of my gluten’ing.  Thanks to lovely reader Katherine Kelley, I discovered wheat starch in my generic Tylenol from Safeway. Imagine that! Thanks for that tip I would have never, ever, considered that, Katherine. And seriously, WTF?

Additionally, and this totally falls under the “shame on me” category, there’s gluten in my Skinny Vanilla Latte. Apparently I’m the kind of gal who has to learn hard lessons biannually, as I clearly forgot why I swore I would never go back to Starbucks. (Also, I just know I’ll be in line again before the week is out. What’s wrong with me? Don’t answer that.) Here’s the response I received when I asked Starbucks HQ about my go-to treat, since the people actually working in Starbucks did not seem to be clued into the gluten scene:

Our light syrups use gluten, so unfortunately for the Skinny Vanilla Latte that would mean that it does. We can also never guarantee that any of our products are 100% gluten free and if you are ever unsure of a product, we advise not consuming it because your safety and health is important to us.

So your health is so important we’d like you to never consume our products. Yes, I know I already knew this. But I read somewhere on the Internet that the SVL was totally cool, and I asked the barista, and well, that’s why I’ve been sucking down those lattes like a virgin on prom night. Stupid Internet, always telling you the wrong things.

In spite of me knowing full well that celiacs have to go above and beyond when checking ingredients, I do feel duped. First, by a generic brand that adds something in that’s not in the original and doesn’t bother to warn customers who, oh I don’t know, might have a serious medical condition that would be affected by said additive. And twice (thrice?) by a company that is all about fair trade and saving the children, but could give two shits about keeping their food safe. Or even labeled. Honestly, if I knew I could have a regular vanilla latte (which I’m totally unclear on at this point) I would still give Starbucks like half of my paycheck.

Starbucks, I’m willing to shell over so much money to you, yet you can’t be bothered to provide your employees (or your web site) with the basic information about allergens. I know I should just ignore you, but it’s kind of like I revert to being 10-years-old and I simply can’t help myself.

Damn it.

Any other foods/drinks/meds I should be outing here?

Image via Starbucks

92 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Gluten Free Restaurants, Uncategorized

92 responses to “R.I.P. Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte

  1. I don’t get it either. You’d think that a company as hip and supposedly conscious (environmentally, musically, fashion–and whatever the hell else they’re conscious of or about) would leverage that consciousness to the benefit of gluten-freeness. Just a little even. C’mon, for Java’s sake, even fast food restaurants have nutrition labels and (ok, probably duplicitous but still, they’re at least pretending to try) gluten-free options.
    I can’t stand coffee myself and wouldn’t mind if I never saw the green seabitch ever again, but the two most important women in my life (wife and daughter, who also suffers with the celiac) love Starbucks. Oh yeah, they’re gonna see this link.

  2. Starbucks…tsk tsk Sis. Go to Handsome or Intelligentsia or any of the actual great coffee shops you have out there. I HOPE YOU’VE LEARNED YOUR LESSON – Our Mom yelling at you.

  3. DAMN! What a bummer. RIP Pumpkin Spice Latte too.

  4. I totally love your blog and understand your frustrations. I am right there with you. I do have to say that I have never been a big fan of Starbucks and now I know to completely stay clear of them and their syrups. Have you tried Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. As far as I can tell through internet research (we know how good that is) and having the barrista show me the bag with the ingredients, the no sugar added vanilla powder does not contain gluten ingredients. Also I have had a lot of trouble with medications, the only pain killer I have found that I can safely take is CVS brand dye-free Ibuprofen, which specifically states on the bottle “does not contain gluten.” Good luck. I’m right there with you.

    • I’ve been very suspicious of the powders at Coffee Bean, but now I’ll make more of an effort since those are also in close proximity. Or, you know, give up my vanilla latte habit. Thanks Lisa!

  5. jenaj

    I’m sorry but all of this just makes me so very, very mad! No wonder I still feel like crap after two months of being gluten free. I cannot wait for the day that everything is labeled GF and the people serving us at restaurants are educated! I feel as though I need a guide to help lead me through this ever-changing process. Thank you for sharing your info with all of us, although it is very disappointing, I appreciate it all the same!

  6. Lisa

    I have noticed that Target is labeling their generic brand over-the-counter meds as gluten-free if the are. Last time I bought their generic tylenol it said it was gluten-free. And their generic claritin.

  7. Sarah Howells (GF Blogger)

    Oh this is sad news!! How frustrating when you ask in the shop and they don’t have a clue. And what’s worse is I might have to be physically restrained to keep me away…….

  8. Thank you for alerting me to this-this is an occasional treat I enjoy-who knew that I was getting gluten? Starbucks needs to clean up their act with regards to their gluten-free customers; I remember that they tried to sell a gf dessert before removing it because of the threat of cross contamination. No more light flavorings for me!

  9. I stick to the Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks because it’s made with Tazo and they state their products are gf but Oh how I miss the Mocha, Pumpkin Spice, and Peppermint Lattes.

    • I do love the Chai Tea Latte as well. Sigh.

    • katielady0305

      The Chai Tea Latte is ok, but you have to be careful because not all Tazo teas are gf. Some of their herbal ones are contaminated.

    • ExistentiallyDepressed

      I work at Starbucks and have celiac disease and I made corporate go through every item made with gluten. The chai concentrate used for the chai tea lattes does contain gluten because it uses barley sugar. So I would recommend you stop drinking that even if you’re not experiencing a noticeable reaction.

      And there is a difference between the sugar free syrups used for the skinny lattes and the light syrup. The light syrup is used only for the lower calorie frappuccino and until fairly recently did contain gluten. All of Starbucks syrups are gluten free but certain sauces are not. Mocha and white mocha are both gluten free but the white mocha contains dairy. Pumpkin Spice sauce last I checked contains gluten. The pumps for these sauces can be used interchangeably and if they are not properly sanitized can lead to gluten contamination.

      Also, Starbucks uses a special vacuum for food to clear crumbs from the pastry case but in many stores this same vacuum is also used to clean out the espresso hopper resulting in cross contamination in espresso beverages. If you’re getting a skinny latte and having a bad reaction I’d surmise that you’re getting contaminated that way or you have an I diagnosed dairy allergy (something that happened to me and to other people I know with celiac disease).

      • Wow, thank you SO much for this insight. I’m going to post on my FB so peeps can see what is up.

      • Ditto, thank you. The internet is a mess of conflicting information—this really helps. Hopefully someday Starbucks will choose to enlighten us humble, gluten-free plebs.

      • I’ve gotten much more adament now about asking to check the labels for all ingredients they’re using in my drink, and I discovered that the caramel drizzle thingy contains gluten, but the the syrups I’ve checked thus far have been gluten free.

  10. Paddy

    As a celiac, I’m much happier with “better not risk it” than “we dunno”.

    I used to work for Caribou Coffee, and being celiac meant I knew just about every ingredient in every item on the menu. I was always happy to answer questions as best I could. But even with me on staff as a certified food safety & sanitation manager in Chicago, I would NEVER promise that an item was 100% gluten-free. Coffee shops don’t have the same kind of dedicated prep areas that full service restaurants do. The same counters where steaming pitchers and cups sit during restocking and cleaning might be the same spot where lemon cakes were being sliced. Or the foam knife being used to pour a latte might have been washed in the same sink as a bakery tray.

    Are the items made with gluten-free ingredients safe? Probably. Was there a reasonable chance for cross contamination? Certainly.

    It’s the same reason I advised folks with nut allergies to stay away from certain items, even though they were nut-free. I know that all my coworkers have been trained not to use the same scoop to serve the Snickers topping and almond slivers as for other toppings. But do you REALLY want to risk your life with a hung-over college kid making $8.25/hr who’s just made her 115th mocha starting her shift at 5am? I worked there as a supervisor and I trained people, and I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    So think about it that way. Starbucks isn’t telling you to shove off. They’re telling you they don’t want to be responsible for you getting horribly sick.

    Unless you want to pay for them to remodel their prep areas and change their successful business model.

    They don’t cater directly to our dietary needs. Instead of being angry, patronize someone who does. Or at least says they do because they’re portering profits over your safety….right?

    • Anytime you go out to eat you risk cross-contamination, that’s not my big problem here. My problem is I asked if I could have the SVL, I went online, and there was zero information aside from a barista saying she didn’t think there was gluten in it. Therefore, I spent a year-and-a-half drinking gluten without knowing. A very simple *contains gluten on the Starbucks website would have kept me away. If I then choose to enjoy a Chai Tea Latte, knowing it’s gluten-free but also at risk for contamination, that’s on me. But making zero effort to let the consumer know there are products with gluten that are not obvious, is irresponsible and lazy. And yes, I’m angry that my health was negatively affected because no one at Starbucks can be bothered to put allergen information on their website or properly train the staff.

      • Paddy

        The lack of information on the site is incredibly frustrating, and frequently the labels on the products themselves are even less helpful (Contains: Water, Sugar, Natural Flavors… thanks a bunch).

        I was having more a knee-jerk reaction to the backlash at Starbucks’ recommendation to avoid their products in cases of extreme sensitivity. A company doing business on scale that large orders from my third-party providers.

        I remember when Caribou was expanding into Dubai and Kuwait, their entire shipment of product was held at customs. One of the ingredients in the blended cooler mix was gelatin. Gelatin can be made from horse, cow or pig, and only the cow-derived version is considered Hallal. So suddenly the entire shipment of product for an entire chain of stores opening in a week was impounded because there was a possibility that even a bit of the powdered drink mix could have gotten on or in the other items. They had to wait for a faxed affidavit from the suppliers of the mix confirming it was a beef-derived gelatin before they could bring it in. And even then, future shipments had to be relabeled to confirm they conformed with Hallal standards.

        When 98% of the population isn’t affected by something so specific as the source of the eight ingredient on the list, it doesn’t seem like it’s something worth worrying about… until it is.

        I understand the feeling about not labeling the syrup. Why on earth would a sucralose and water mixture even need to have a grain-based additive? It’s not like it needs a thickener….

        But it’s just that reason they, seemingly callously, advise folks with severe sensitivities to steer clear all together. They can only guarantee what the label says when it arrives in their warehouse. They’re relying on a third-party supplier for their ingredients, and that supplier is relying on ANOTHER supplier, who’s relying on another supplier. And at least one of those suppliers in the chain is only going to list the bare minimum FDA requirement on the label.

        Mostly, my point is it’s not Starbucks’ fault for following their own policies. It’s up to those of us with dietary restrictions to research as best we can. And if we can’t get a clear answer, we can only blame ourselves for what happens if we take the risk.

        As a post script, I love this blog as a source for ideas and tips for outings and new products. This blog is why I’m fat, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

      • Thanks Paddy, and yes, natural flavors is redonkulous.

        I may get irritated by products that contain gluten that don’t need to (and I will, oh I will) but if someone tells me about it then I can grumble to myself and move on. It’s just the complete lack of transparency that burns my ass. I also know that baristas cannot be expected to be up to speed on everyone in the world’s food issues. But something on the website, or in literature in the store, for someone who is actively looking should be a given.

        End of rant. For today.

  11. I had much the same problem when trying to support a new coffee shop in my last small town… I gave them my business and they poisoned me with their devil-beverages. I always order my chai with soymilk, because real milk in the amounts that you get in a cafe beverage will make me pretty intensely sick. Every time I went to this new coffee shop for a chai, I’d spend the next hour suffering stomach cramps and feeling like I wanted to die. The first time I thought it was something in my lunch, the second time I watched them like a hawk while they pulled out the milk to be sure they were really using soy. By the third time I’d cottoned on to the fact that they were using real milk somewhere and asked to see the bottle of their chai mix.

    It did not come in a bottle. It was freaking *powdered*. Which meant it was like 80% powdered milk. I just about flipped my shit. I wasn’t entirely sure which offended me more… that they’d poisoned me with stealth-dairy or that I was paying like $4 for a cheap-ass powdered drink (no wonder it didn’t taste as good as the other coffee shops in town, but it was literally right next door to my office). I had like a fifteen minute conversation with the owner trying to explain to her how this product was a problem and getting pretty intense with her about why she needed to educate her staff and at least add something to her menu board saying that the drinks will contain dairy even if you order them with a non-dairy substitute. Next time I went in there, nothing had changed, so I never went back, and always warned visitors away from the place. If they don’t give enough of a shit about their customers not to keep causing them harm when the problem is pointed out, they don’t deserve to stay in business.

  12. My last fiasco with getting mysteriously glutened was in my own kitchen. I mix up my own gf flour from a recipe on wisebread.com 3 parts cornstarch, 3 parts brown rice flour, 2 parts soy or sorghum flour, and 1 part masa flour. All of a sudden I was getting glutened regularly from anything I baked at home. Turns out that a person has to check each box of cornstarch for the ingredients! The boxes I had were a brand that started with an H (hearth? heart? yellow/gold color boxes). In the ingredients list it said, “May contain wheat, soy, milk,…….” the list went on and on.

    I was shocked. This is similar to the day we discovered corn syrup as an ingredient in our cans of dark red kidney beans. Unbelievable the lengths food corporations will go to to mess things up.

  13. I got horribly sick from a Bare Escentuals Buxom lip gloss after a salesperson at one of their stores told me that all of their products were gluten-free except possibly the lotion with oatmeal in it. I went in to a Sephora after I suspected the lip gloss and a Sephora customer services representative they got on the line with said there was indeed gluten in it. There’s no information online about it, though, which is so frustrating. If some sources know the product is not gluten-free, can’t it just be made public so we can avoid it?

    I’ve switched over to only gluten-free certified companies, or companies that state that their products are gluten-free anyway. NARS does, and I’ve ordered lipstick from Red Apple Lipstick and I like it. I’ve also used this blog for info: http://www.glutenfreemakeupgal.com/

    Good luck–I know how frustrating it is! I went in for a battery of tests this past winter because I kept getting sick and couldn’t figure out why. Seems to just be cross contamination…and also, apparently the light syrup I’ve been consuming in Starbucks drinks. Won’t be ordering any more skinny vanilla lattes, thanks for sharing the info!

    • katielady0305

      Thanks so much for this! I have been trouble getting info from BM recently. I went into the store and of course no one knew so they took my number and said they would call. My answer was “well, some of it has gluten in it but most of it doesn’t.” and that was it. WTF what does and what doesnt?

  14. aprilshowers

    Starbucks is awful. No one that works there (at least the ones I’ve been to) even know what gluten is. And when you fill out the form on their website to complain or even just ask about ingredients they force you to enter your address! Unless I am ordering a product that needs to be shipped to my house I tend to shy away from just giving out my address willy-nilly on the internet. And of course then they reply only half answering your question and kindly letting you know that they are mailing you some coupons (which I would use for, what? Luna bars I suppose?). So, whoever lives at 1 Main St, Boston, MA, I hope you like Starbucks!

  15. katielady0305

    The problem with wanting Starbucks to be able to provide beverages that don’t get cross contaminated and having baristas who are knowledgeable about the subject is that it would take more time. Starbucks has turned into the McDonald’s of coffee and people are so impatient and not willing to wait around for more than a minute for something made to order. If people weren’t in such a hurry then it could happen.

  16. Thankfully, I’ve scored with having a friend who works at Starbucks who does a paleo diet, so she’s mostly GF already. She lets me know what I can and can’t have, she does extensive research as do I. Thankfully, slowly but surely more companies are starting to become aware of the gluten issue. They just need people like us badgering them. (I actually just found your blog too, through someone on FB that reposted your link) I’m glad you’re out here, and if you want feel free to also check out my GF Blog (BreakingDownReality.com).

  17. Monin is a compnay that will guarantee they are GF…also if you have a Peets coffee they are pretty well informed…I just get my skinny latte and dump the packet of splenda…or even better for you (what better time to give up artificial sweetners?!), they will steam a packet of the sugar in the raw sugar while steaming the milk….fantastic latte this way and it’s only a few additional calories…a minute worth of jumping jacks will beat it out for you. =)

  18. Katherine Kelley

    I swear I feel like every time I find something that is gluten free like OTC medication, a shampoo, or lip balm I like I need to buy 12 of it in case they change the formula. Ugh. Hope you ferret out everything and start feeling better.

  19. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I get grumpy with unnecessary ingredients (why on earth does mayo need flour? I mean really!) and finding strange ingredients in places they have no business being! Great blog – pleased to be a follower now!

  20. Pingback: Make a Gluten-Free Frappucino Your Own Damn Self | Gluten Is My Bitch

  21. Victoria

    I have found out that all of the syrups are made from a barley base. So ant type of coffee syrup us gluten free peeps can’t have :( I always just get a non-fat cafe misto and add a Splenda or an iced coffee with milk. Both are cheap and not bad at bye. Too bad no deliciously flavored drinks for us!!

  22. OMG and WTF! Tonight went to the Starbucks with my teen girls and thought I’d treat myself to a SVL on this very cold Autumn night here (in CO)….which I stopped drinking because I was tired of spending almost $5 a day on them (People smoke for less than that a day!). I had NO IDEA there was gluten in it! I ended up finding your blog because when I got home about an hour and half after finishing it my pj bottoms barely fit over my tummy it is so swollen! Now its gurgling and acting crazy! Freakin Starbucks. I was gonna ask the attended at SB but I thought, seriously, why would gluten be in that?! (kind of like your pain reliever experience…..ridiculous!) We are just going to have to raise so much awareness and make such a loud constant noise that companys begin to do things differently! And cue the vicious instant heartburn….ugh!!! Hives and more to follow :(

    • I’m so sorry! I think a letter writing campaign is in order. Just to let people know that no syrups are safe for celiacs in some way. It’s not on the website, and most baristas have no idea. Unsafe, man.

      • Casey

        Okay…so…I have Celiac…but I’m pretty much A-Sympto…so sometimes its hard to know that I’ve been glutened…but I’ve totatly been slurping up the Gingerbread Lattes this holiday season at Starbucks…I looked at the lable of the syrup…did I miss something?!

      • I just asked about the light syrups, and got the response. What was on the Gingerbread syrup label?

  23. I hate that they are not just up front about it. Just sending an email that says please do not frequent our business anymore is frustrating.

  24. Amazing Amazon

    Thank you for verifying what I already suspected but could never get a straight answer. I am laying in bed having glistened myself with the sugar free vanilla in my coffee this evening. And indeed gluten is not reflected on the website. I’m very glad I found your site – thanks

    • Ugh. I’m sorry. It’s so unclear, it’s best just to steer clear of the Mermaid. Yet, somehow I can’t. Seriously, someone needs to do a Starbucks intervention on my ass. Feel better soon!

  25. Seriously Celiac...

    I live in Kuwait and Starbucks has been my treat. This makes so much sense now… I have been pretty sick for a lot of the past two months. I have been having Starbucks for the past two months about 3 times a week. Now to detox from Starbucks… Oh joy. That leaves no coffee place here in Kuwait that I can frequent. I am going to have to make my own coffee now… Urgh!! Thanks for posting this!!!

  26. Pingback: When Gluten-Free Restaurants Aren’t Safe | Gluten Is My Bitch

  27. Lauren

    I drank a skinny Starbucks peppermint mocha latte the other day and got sick within the hour. Classic gluten symptoms–nausea, severe headache, cold sweat, anxiety, and diarrhea a couple hours later. It hit me like a ton of bricks (I felt great when I walked in there and left feeling like I had the flu). I normally drink plain coffee that I brew myself but was in the mood for a treat. It didn’t even occur to me that gluten could be in a coffee drink.

  28. I have been having some difficulties figuring out what coffee products are safe to consume. I am totally addicted, even though I can only drink decaf (placebo effect, anyone???).
    So, which coffee brands are safe to consume? Which creamers do you guys use? I have heard that coffeemate is safe, but I drink the flavored ones and I’m a little credulous that they are in fact GF.

    Great to hear that the chai latte at Starbucks is safe , maybe I’ll start ordering that . I have been drinking the vanilla latte lately and I was suspicious of that one.

    Thanks everyone!

    • Maybe some other people can weigh in here because I’ve given up on flavored coffees since the great gluten’ing of 2012. The rep did say it was the “light” syrups that were filled with gluten, but I did not go back to drill down on everything else because I’d rather just say, “See ya’ later, Jack.” Or order a chai tea latte, or regular coffee.

      If anyone knows the answers, please weigh in!

  29. Jessica

    I kept hoping the chai tea latte was GF like everyone says, but I get a reaction every time I order one. I finally gave up and now stick with the soy lattes which I’ve never had a problem with. Ho hum.

    • That is a bummer. It’s just tea and milk, so it shouldn’t have gluten at all. I’ll check on that . . .

      • Katielady0305

        It is a tea concentrate so there are a lot of other ingredients in it, I used to think that it was ok but every time i drink it i feel sick, not as bad as other things but like headache and runny nose. It might be from all the sugar in there I dunno

      • Your’e better off just focusing on water, with lemons, or carbonated water with lemon is delicious. Or I love to put fresh fruit in my water as well keeps it fun, tasty and fresh.

        Haven’t you heard the street tale that coke and pepsi are used at crime scenes to dissolve blood ! And people drink that, not cool.

        Keep it smart and simple and that’s just living well.

  30. Murielle

    Those bastards! I hurt had a vanilla skinny latte at second cup and I’m extremely nauseous ( ps I’m celiac too) I’m very angry right now! Thanks for the info!

  31. Pingback: Starbucks Gluten Free Menu

  32. Laurie

    Is anyone certain that the Starbucks Tazo chai latte is gluten free? I’m new to this gf scene and would hate to give up those delicious drinks.

  33. Deana

    Hi, I just found your blog and I love it…and you!! I found you through a web search for ‘is Starbuck’s tea gf”. After coming back from a visit to the SB where my daughter works I realized that I totally glutened myself. My daughter recommended a mix of the passion tea and green tea for me, without sugar. When I got a refill I didn’t even think about it and I had the barista ‘sweeten’ it for me.Well, here I am a couple of hours later and I had to put on my pj’s cause I’m too bloated to fit into any of my pants!! Oh, the headache is fun too. I not only have a daughter that works at SB but a really good friend is a store manager, and I do find it frustrating that there is no information from SB for us gluten free peeps. I never expect an $8 an hour employee to know what I should order (when I went to Olive Garden about a month after going GF a waiter glutened me by adding cheese to my salad-so it can happen anywhere) but I would love it if SB would give us a heads up, that’s all we want. There is a mexican restaurant in town that I’ve eaten at since I was a kid, and when I went GF I looked at their website to see if they had any info regarding ‘safe’ items for me to eat and they had nothing on the website. Their answer to this via their website was that since they only have 3 locations, they aren’t required by law to state what is gf or isn’t. I was really disappointed, all I wanted to know was if the spices they use to season their chicken is gf or if they use chicken broth for their spanish rice, but I guess that’s too much to ask because I emailed them 6 months ago but they’ve yet to answer me. Anyway, that’s enough ranting for the moment, I just wanted to let you know I’m a fan!! Thank you!!

  34. Starbucks iced soy chai is great, but I always feel bloated and get diarheeeea chacha and then finally stopped when i realized it. However the tough part of all of this is i met an “owner” of a Colorado franchise and she told me it’s 100% gluten free, so what the F is going on here? It can’t be or it’s contaminated badly in house.

    I recently go with an iced green tea, no sugar and been doing better, any one have other thoughts on this basic green tea?

    • I’m wondering the same thing about Pepsi and Coke – they are bottled regionally I think. Twice now – that I know of – I’ve gotten badly glutened after drinking it. Once it was Coke, though, and once Pepsi. So could it be that because both brands use regional bottlers – each bottler may tweak the recipe a bit? I know the Cokes overseas are drastically different than they are in the U.S.

      It’s either that or I have suddenly become intolerant of high fructose corn syrup. I feel like a little lab rat, testing, taking notes, testing, waiting, wondering. Ordering a “coke” or look alike was my go-to strategy when I got caught with a group going out to eat dinner or gathering with food. Instead of having to go through the 100 question food quiz with the waiter or the hostess I would just pretend to not be hungry and be satisfied with a coke. Now, even that isn’t an option! I feel like an alien!

  35. Emilie C.

    Thanks for posting this. Decided to try a skinny mocha today…had NO clue or even thought there might be gluten in it. Not two hours later: debilitating pain and fatigue. Didn’t figure out it was the mocha until I saw this post.

  36. Maria

    All this time I though celiacs couldn’t drink any coffee! I have been recently diagnosed and I’m still getting use to this new lifestyle. I used to drink coffee and now my mornings are so depressing with out my happy mug full of black coffee

  37. O.M.G. I never realised! No wonder I’ve been sooooo ill this past few months. Thanks so much for posting this.

    P.S. Hello from London. Just discovered you and enjoying the book very much. Cheers!!!

  38. Megan S.

    I am SEVERELY sensitive and allergic to Gluten. I also learned the hard way with Starbucks. For that very reason, I am a much bigger fan of Coffee Bean. They even started selling pre-packaged GF Lemon Biscotti cookies that are SO good. Anyway, not only do I get the stomach pains but I break out in an incredibly itchy rash if I have even the slightest bit of gluten. I can have Coffee Bean’s Vanilla Powder with No Sugar Added without issue. They have even added it to their website…yes, they are manufactured in a facility where cross contamination could occur but they do not contain any gluten. This includes their Vanilla (Regular & NSA), Chocolate (Regular & NSA) and their White Chocolate powder. ALL of their coffees and teas are also gluten free. You can contact them about other powders and seasonal drinks as well :)

    • wow, great info Megan. I usually skip Coffee Bean because the powders are intimidating, thanks for letting us know!

    • @MeganS – Studies show that you cannot be ALLERGIC to gluten so what do you mean you are severely allergic? Who told you that you were. Please elaborate for us.

      • Megan S.

        I have an allergic reaction when I consume even the slightest bit. I tried a wheat free diet since they can test for that and that was positive and I still reacted to anything that contained gluten. They are coming out with more and more information about sensitivities, intolerances and “allergic” reactions…I think it’s only a matter of time before it’s acknowledged as such.

      • A severe reaction to gluten could be something else. Do you think you might have Lyme Disease? Gluten intolerance is hugely amplified by chronic infections such as Lyme. Also neurological conditions such as MS too – anything susceptible to inflammation.

        Also the sugar free mocha is gluten free. You’re having a reaction to something else.

      • Megan S.

        No, I do not have Lyme Disease or MS. I would recommend not trying to “diagnose” people over the internet. Especially on a blog entry about gluten free coffee and tea. My reaction to gluten has gotten worse since I eliminated it from my diet, which is completely normal. The fact that I am also allergic to wheat is also part of what makes my reaction worse (when its cross contamination from wheat). Everyones reaction (whether they have Celiac, a sensitivity or an intolerance) is different…

      • Sorry, my response was supposed to be to someone else. I thought I was responding to the user who had a problem with the Starbucks sugar free mocha. The dangers of replying via mobile without an app! So I apologize for putting you on the defensive.

        Just a general thing about Starbucks though. As I’ve said I work there and I only eat the espresso as is. Sometimes I bring in my own almond or coconut milk but not really.

        I would urge people with celiac disease or a simple intolerance to take a more comprehensive food allergen panel if they have the time and money. I found out I am allergic to soy, eggs, dairy, mushrooms, and sunflower seeds. My best friend (who also works at Starbucks) also has celiac disease and is allergic to red meat, soy, and certain nuts. So both of us are basically on vegan raw diets on top of the gluten (and feel awesome!). I mean our social life kind of blows as far as eating out is concerned but considering this is the best I’ve ever felt in my life it has been completely worth it.

        Again, I’m not trying to say everyone is like me blah blah etc. But it’s not uncommon with gluten intolerance to possess or eventually develop another allergy, especially to dairy or lactose.

        Erm … yeah that’s all I got.

  39. Clearly your’e sensitive and having a possible allergic reaction to one or many ingredients. I’m not a doctor either, but you can’t be allergic to GLUTEN data shows. The auto immune symptoms from the attempted absorption of the proteins found in those many gluten containing grains for Celiacs is not the same as having “allergic reactions”. These diagnosis are complex, seems fuzzy and sux overall, but it’s not right to refer to gluten as an allergic reaction and that will confuse other people. To my knowledge that phrasing is incorrect.

    I hope that you feel better soon with the wise help of a terrific GI and/or other physician so that you can enjoy the sweet life once again.

    • Megan S.

      Did not mean to confuse anyone. I do not have Celiac but I do have a sensitivity/intolerance to gluten. One of the ways my body reacts is the same rash I get when ingesting other allergens. I have found that rather than trying to explain “sensitivity” or “intolerance” when eating out etc. if I say that I’m allergic people are more helpful and take it more seriously.
      Obviously I have not had a positive allergy test for gluten like I have for wheat. There is not a ton of research on sensitivities and intolerances yet, but it will come with time.

      On another note, I reached out to Coffee Bean about their Pumpkin Spice Latte since it is that season and this is the response I got:

      “This is a great question! Please know that the ingredients used to make the latte do not contain gluten, however, the powder and sauce are produced in a facility that also processes gluten products. I certainly hope this helps!”

  40. Alyssa

    In love.

    I was just going back and forth with a co-worker about how much I want my reg friday morning hazelnut macchiato. but why? why indulge and yet feel so horrid. left to sit in the disgustingly thick regular Friday afternoon regret that is inevitable.

    Oh the struggle,

  41. OMG I started going back to Starbucks more frequently these past few months because I had a gift card, and every time I ordered a fancy latte I’d be sick within the hour. But I assumed they had given me dairy milk instead of soy on accident, and like an idiot I keep going back like “oh they’ll get it right this time” because why on earth would there be gluten in coffe for pete’s sake?! Sigh. Even after 2.5 years I still have SO much to learn.

  42. This explains so much! My 11 year old daughter has Celiacs. So many of her treats have been eliminated over the past 3 years since diagnosis. But, as much as I think I know… we have been going to SBs so she can feel “normal “and she often orders a vanilla bean frapaccino, or the vanilla milk!! Her stomach aches almost daily still. I thought it was probably the dairy so we cut “back” not out. What an idiot I have been. I am as vigilant as they come when it involves my daughter, but clearly not. I am so sad. Thank you for the most interesting of conversations.

  43. Tajehra

    I feel the same way. I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I am now on a gluten free diet, and I can’t stand not being able to stop in and get any of my favorite drinks let alone any pastries! I can only hope Starbucks will add gluten free options to the menu!

  44. madi

    I’ve worked at Starbucks for 5 years and there is no gluten in the skinny syrups, they probably just told you that for legal purposes if you happen to get sick or something from cross contamination.

    • madi

      Also, I have Celiac so I check the ingredients at my work religiously, that’s why I can say this with confidence.

    • I find it super disturbing that the corporate HQ told me they do use gluten in the light syrups and you’re telling me they do not. You would think it would be something they would be proud of, as in, more people could drink it, if it didn’t have gluten.

    • This is exactly why I don’t take advice from Celiacs until I learn all about their lifestyle choices. If Corporate HQ of any company won’t guarantee something is gluten-free with complete transparency (verified 3rd party batch testing) then why would anyone trust an employee who is separated from the raw ingredients? Are you working in the manufacturing facility or as a barista and have you verified it for gluten ppm behind the bar? If not, how can you give advice to anyone especially a Celiac and say that with confidence to go take this risk? Nothing is exactly what it seems like by reading a label, don’t you know that by now in 2014? I’m in total shock right now by the new level of obsession over these drinks that lead this conversation to poor choices for sugar beverages right now. Do not eat this syrup! Move on and find a place that will guarantee a gluten free option or as I do, make it yourself even better, cheers!

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