Eating out: The UK high-street coffee shops offering vegan options

Read Time:   |  18th June 2018

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Charlotte Willis has been on a busy café-hopping vegan adventure, tasting almond milk hot chocolate, coconut turmeric lattes and marvelling at the array of vegan options that have appeared. Sit back and enjoy her round-up guide to cafes in the UK. 

vegan coffee shop uk


RATING: ★★☆☆☆

Coffee Equality: Coffee is rainforest alliance certified and Costa has its own community foundation in place for supporting growers.

Hot Drinks: All drinks can be made with Alpro soya or coconut milks. Costa’s hot chocolates are vegan without whipped cream. All syrups are also vegan except for marshmallow and caramel fudge. Result!

vegan coffee shop uk

Coconut vanilla latte

Cold Drinks: Costa offers a range of blended iced coffees, including iced mochas and Coffee Frostinos, which can all be vegan without cream. For a lighter option, try a fruit cooler or fresh fruit smoothie, but remember Costa lemonades are not vegan.

Snacks: This is where I get despondent. Costa offers little in the way of savoury food options for vegans (for Veganuary, they had a chocolate coconut slice and Christmas may see the return of the mince pie). Out of season the most you’ll get is a fruit salad pot and packet of nuts.

vegan coffee shop uk

Paradise Slice

Café Nero

RATING: ★★★☆☆

Coffee Equality: Rainforest Alliance certified, but no mention of any community projects or sustainability.

Hot Drinks: All hot drinks can be made with soya milk. Nero’s hot chocolates can be made vegan without whipped cream, and make sure to ask for soya milk with your teas.

vegan coffee shop uk


Cold Drinks: There are a few cold drinks on offer at Nero, such as a Soya Frappe Latte, Soya Strawberry or Vanilla Milkshakes, together with a selection of juices.

Snacks: Breakfast: The basic offering of Soya Porridge with Compote will satisfy the hunger pangs. Lunch: Nero has become a little more adventurous, offering a Falafel and Avocado Wrap, Mediterranean Orzo Pasta with roasted Veg, while cake choices include a delicious Apple and Blackcurrant Slice, and the infamous Seasonal Mince Pie.

vegan coffee shop uk

Vegan apple and blackcurrant slice

Pret A Manger

RATING: ★★★★★

Coffee Equality: Pret only uses organic coffee, which is sustainably sourced, helping support growers.

Hot Drinks: Organic coconut-rice milk or soya milk, both by Provamel, is available in all drinks. All hot chocolates are vegan with a milk substitute. Pret also makes a perfect Turmeric Latte and has a unique tea selection.

Cold Drinks: All Pret’s smoothies (including an almond milk, cocoa and banana cold press) and cold drinks are vegan-friendly. The exceptions are Apple and Orange Juice (most likely due to a refining agent), classic frappe (made with milk), ginger shot (contains apple juice), the Hot Shot and Mango Smoothie.

Snacks: Apple & Almond Butter Bowl or the chocolatey coconut bite are perfect pick-me-ups, while crisped Kale, Rock Salt Popcorn and all crisps (except cheddar) are great for lunch-time snacking. Pret has the best dairy-free (and some gluten-free) breakfast options on the market. I am in love with the Dairy-Free Chocolate Chia Pot and the Coconut Porridge!

Coconut vanilla latte

Apple & Almond Butter Bowl, £1.99

Lunch: This is where Pret excels itself! Highlights include Curried Chickpeas & Mango Chutney Sandwich, an African-inspired Chakalaka Wrap, Falafel Coconut and Cashew Flatbread, a Super-Veg Rainbow Flatbread, plus a range of hummus salads.

Hot Food: Vegan soup, while at Veggie Pret, try Avocado and Beans Toasted Tortilla or Vegan Mac and Greens.

vegan coffee shop uk

Sweet Potato, Falafel & Smashed Beets Veggie Box, £4.50


RATING: ★★☆☆☆

Coffee Equality: Emphasises a fair price for growers, but no mention of community projects.

Hot Drinks: All drinks can be made with either oat, soya or coconut milk (the majority of which are sweetened). Only
the classic hot chocolate at Starbucks is vegan; the signature and molten hot chocolate are not, and neither is anything with white chocolate powder. Like Pret, Starbucks offers a Turmeric Latte and now a Chai Latte, as well as an extensive Teavana tea list.

Cold Drinks: This is where Starbucks claws it back for me! It carries a range of vegan-friendly cold and iced blended drinks, all available without whipped cream!

These include:

  • Iced Latte
  • Iced Gingerbread Latte
  • Cold Brew Coffee
  • Mocha Frappuccino, Chocolate Cream
  • Vanilla and strawberry Frappuccinos. You’ll want to make sure you dodge anything containing caramel, as the caramel sauce drizzle they use is not vegan.

Other less obvious milk-concealing products include:

  • Green Tea Latte
  • Green Tea Frappuccino
  • Chocolate Frappuccino
  • Toffee-Nut Frappuccino and Java-Chip Frappuccino. The Yoghurt Coolers are also not vegan (obviously!)

Snacks: In terms of sweet things, Starbucks offers a rich Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar, Raw Raspberry and Nut Bar, Peanut and Cashew Bar and a Dark Chocolate Bar – not the most exuberant, but will boost your blood sugar levels!

vegan coffee shop uk

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar

Breakfast: Starbucks has come on leaps and bounds in terms of food offerings; its Classic Oatmeal and 5 Grain Oatmeal (which even contains B12 and vitamin D) are wholesome offerings first thing in the morning.

Lunch: A measly two lunchtime choices of a spicy BBQ Jackfruit and Slaw Wrap and a nourishing Grilled Veg and Grain Salad Box.

Written by

Charlotte Willis

Charlotte Willis is an Assistant Psychologist at the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has a MS degree in Clinical Neuropsychiatry from Kings College London. Charlotte is also a marketer for ethical brands, author of Vegan: Do It! A young person’s guide to living a vegan lifestyle, and a regular contributor to sustainability and plant-based publications.

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