Starbucks Chooses Bug Colorant Over Really Gross Alternative

woman drinking coffee
Starbuggs? Starbucks is turning to natural food colorings. The bad news for those who keep kosher – they’re using bugs.

It might not be able to turn a profit in Paris, but Starbucks coffee has a sizeable presence in the Middle East, operating in nine countries, employing thousands and serving up coffee and treats since 1999. Coffee drinkers take note: those frothy beverages (aka strawberry creme frappacino) that glow a pretty shade of pink now get their delicious hue from a crushed cochineal beetles instead of coal tar. Technically – if you don’t keep kosher, that is  —  it’s a real food, as Jess Zimmerman from Grist reminds us.

“Lots of folks eat bugs — people in most developing countries…But almost nobody thinks coal tar or petroleum are foods, and it turns out that’s the other available option,” he writes.

What’s more, given the choice of a fru-fru beverage that is eons away from natural roasted beans, we can thank the coffee giant for chosing the natural colorant, providing a source of income for those who crush te critters and extract their bright bug juice, and making us want to gag at the thought of ingesting a petrol by-product.

If this makes you want to consider swearing off coffee and you’re not sure, remember the mind-blowing effects of coffee and sex.

For the rest of the coffee drinkers out there, just make sure the milk you use in the real deal, not something, like, human milk made from a cow.

Read More Coffee and Weird Drink News:
The Mind-Blowing Effects of Coffee and Sex
Udderly Creepy? Human Milk From a Cow?
Make Authentic Turkish Coffee Like a Native

Photo of woman with aromatic coffee from Shutterstock

About Tinamarie Bernard

Tinamarie combines her interests in two of her favorite topics – relationships and the environment – for As our eco-sexpert, she explores ways to make our personal lives more sustainable, whether it’s between a couple, the sheets or our ears. While eco-sexuality is a new term and still unfamiliar to many, being conscious about what we use in moments of intimacy is connected to better stewardship of the planet. The idea that green is sexy and sex can be green is one she is thoroughly enjoying discovering. This married mom of two also believes we owe it to our children to teach them to love themselves, each other, and the environment for futures to come. Intimacy isn’t something we are born knowing. Neither is good stewardship of the earth. In her spare time, she muses about sacred sexuality, conscious love, intimacy, feminism and parenting as the top-rated Modern Love column for and several other media outlets. She composes poetry (mostly in her heart), mediates (when time allows), rides horses in the Galilee, and searches for delicious parve dessert recipes. She considers chocolate a righteous sin, and won’t give up a single pair of red shoes. You can find her on Facebook, follow her on twitter @ModernLoveMuse, or send her an email at tinamarie (at)

3 thoughts on “Starbucks Chooses Bug Colorant Over Really Gross Alternative

  1. xoussef

    I got what you meant crystal clear, I was talking about the “eww bugs are disgusting but petrol is fine” crowd. Also, dietary rules are very fine by me, hence the comment. Thanks for replying. 🙂

  2. Tinamarie Bernard Post author

    The outrage for me is that there are so many hidden petro chemicals in our food chain. Personally, I’m glad they are going buggy. And yes, the kosher crowd, which is sizeable in certain parts of hte world, won’t be drinking there anytime soon…thanks for commenting.

  3. xoussef

    I don’t know for other schools, but bugs are Halal for Sunni Malekits, that why we eat snails and locusts in Morocco, the Portuguese used to call us locust eaters pejoratively, go figure.
    Cacao, flour and many other food products have residues of bugs in them anyway, so I don’t see the reason for the outrage here, unless you eat Kosher of course.


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