As with most people diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, my doctor ordered a much larger test to see what other foods my body didn’t process so easily. Turned out that coffee was another sensitive food. After doing a little research, I found that I may not be the only person sensitive to coffee or tea.
It turns out that coffee and tea can contain trace amounts of gluten. While the beans or tealeaves themselves do not contain any gluten, some products are subject to cross contamination, particularly with barley. Additionally, many flavored coffees contain additives made with wheat flour and other grains, particularly in instant coffees and creamers. The manufacturers use gluten as a filler additive to their product. For the most part, coffees that do contain fillers list them on their labels, so as long as “gelatinized starch,” “modified food starch,” and “vegetable starch” are not ingredients listed on your coffee, you should be good to drink. But if you’re concerned and have experienced some issues in the past, buy your own beans and grind them yourself to ensure no cross-contamination.
In terms of tea, barley is the most common offender being slipped into your bags. There can be such slight trace amounts that the manufacturer may not be required to list it on the label, so it’s important to look out for the safe teas available to the gluten intolerant community. The Bigelow tea company is very forthcoming with their teas, and even has a gluten-free list on their website so you can be sure that your teas are safe to sip!
As with all issues associated with gluten, it’s truly best to see what works for your body. If coffee and tea have never been an issue, you’re probably good to keep up that morning habit. But if you’ve been feeling funky and can’t figure out what’s doing it, the culprit could lie in that cup of joe!