- Question: [Monday 29th Shevat 5782]
Do coffee beans need to have a Hashgacha? I found an online coffee company that ships coffee beans, and I would like to know if I can order them even though it does not have a Hashgacha. They are unflavored, regular coffee beans.
You may order from them even though it does not have a Hashgacha. Regular roasted coffee beans, irrelevant of type and specie, does not require a Hashgacha, unless they have flavoring or additives which is explicitly stated in the product details. [Nonetheless, some coffee bean packages are sold together with a Hashgacha, despite the fact that it is not necessary for the consumer.]
Explanation: There is no known current worry of infiltration of forbidden ingredients in the production of roasted coffee beans. Likewise, the machinery used for the roasting is not used for any known non-kosher ingredient and is usually designated only for the roasting of coffee beans alone. [An average industrial coffee roaster starts at $25,000 and since the flavor of coffee is very delicate, they usually do not use the machinery for production of other items and certainly not items that have a Kashrus concern.] Hence, they do not require a Hashgacha, unless one is aware of a possible issue from the specific store or factory. The same applies regarding ground coffee. However, regarding instant coffee, it requires a Kashrus supervision being that some factories use the same machinery for non-kosher food production. All the above only applies to unflavored coffee, however, all flavored coffees need a Kashrus supervision for their flavoring to make sure that only kosher ingredients are used.
Sources: So I received from a representative of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Eida Hachareidis that roasted coffee beans do not require a Hashgacha as they have no known Kashrus worry and that they therefore may be purchased from any store. When asked as to why then they provide a Hashgacha for ground coffee, they replied that this was requested by the company and is not due to a true Kashrus concern; See regarding that a product only needs to be investigated and supervised if it has a true suspicion of containing non-kosher ingredients: Michaber Y.D. 114:4-12