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espresso martinis
2min read

Is Kahlúa Vegan? 

by Fabian Jackson

2min read

Wondering if this iconic coffee-based liqueur has a place in your plant-based lifestyle? Keep reading to discover all. 


Kahlúa is a rich coffee-based liqueur with Mexican origins dating back to 1936. The drink is made from rum, sugar and pure Arabica coffee and is most famed for its use in Espresso Martinis, Black and White Russians as well as the Mudslide and the Kahlúa Sour.

espresso martini

Is Kahlúa suitable for vegans? 

No, original Kahlúa and Kahlúa products are all explicitly labelled as not vegan. The ‘Ready-To-Drink’ products are labelled as containing milk or milk proteins, but it’s a little less clear why the original drink isn’t vegan friendly.  

Kahlúa ingredients

Excluding the ‘Ready-To-Drink’ Kahlúa products, there aren’t any animal-derived products listed on the relatively simple ingredients list of rum, sugar and coffee. So it comes down to the sugar which, until last year, was refined by using bone char making the products not suitable for vegans.

coffee beans

If they stopped using bone char, isn’t Kahlúa now vegan?

This is a good question, but for the time being some of Kahlúa’s affiliate suppliers still use bone char when processing their sugar meaning it can’t be certified vegan-friendly just yet. 

However, there is some good news for you coffee liqueur-loving grown-ups, Kahlúa is currently in the process of ensuring that this is no longer the case, which could mean Kahlúa becomes suitable for vegans in the very near future. Watch this space for updates. 

Keep those plant-based questions coming our way!


By Fabian Jackson
Fabian Jackson

Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.

Read more from Fabian

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