Gluten Free Festive Drinks: Coffee Shop Guide (dairy free too)

10th November 2020
Blog post

My Gluten Free Festive Drinks Guide was born last year. I was stood in Costa, wanting to participate in the festive hot chocolate drinking…. black forest, gingerbread, irish velvet. Yum!! But to be completely honest, I couldn’t be bothered to ask for the allergen book so I just went for my usual.

THAT SHOULDN’T BE THE CASE!! Hopefully my guide will prevent that happening to you too!!


Where my info is from

  • Costa and Starbucks: I have used online allergen guides to produce this “Gluten Free Festive Drinks. As always, please double check in store just incase something is different
  • Pret: In true Pret fashion, I can’t find a full allergen guide anywhere for their Christmas products so I have gone off the ingredient lists… so I’m very nervous there might be some sneaky “may contains” in there somewhere.

Need Dairy Free?

I have included (*df) next to all the items that can be made dairy free if you change the milk and leave off the cream

Please note, Costas hot chocolate powder & cappuccino dusting both state “may contain” milk.

The Oat Milk Debate

Many coffee shops, including all of the ones in this guide, use a gluten-containing oat milk and therefore there is a risk of cross-contamination from the steamer, jugs, wipes, etc.

The debate lies around how big that risk is. Could the level of gluten be over 20 parts per million and therefore making them unsafe for coeliacs?

Lots of people handle this situation differently and at the end of the day its a totally personal choice but I thought I’d share (1) Coeliac UKs thoughts and (2) how I approach the issue:

(1) Coeliac UK:

“As we do not know the level of cleaning between each drink being made and therefore the levels of gluten due to the chance of cross contamination of gluten, we cannot advise that the product will be 20ppm or less of gluten and therefore suitable for a gluten free diet.

We would advise customers to speak with a trained barista regarding possible cross contamination and also to be aware of the possible risk if making a purchase.”

(2) How I approach the issue:

  • I only go into stores that are relatively quiet so they barrista has time to talk to me and isn’t pressured by the queue!
  • I know my drink order before I get there, i.e. I’ve already checked online that the drink I’m about to ask for is gluten free. Asking for the allergen folder makes it even more stressful!!
  • I explain the issue: “I’m coeliacs so I can’t have any risk of gluten in my drink. You guys serve a gluten-containing oat milk so I have to make sure there’s no chance any bit of that gets in my drink… just want to check its a clean jug, the steamer has been wiped down etc”.
  • I also double check what actually goes into the drink they make me. I don’t want to scare anyone but I once had a barrista go a little off piste and add a few extras to the advertised drink…. the extras were not gluten free.
  • If they make you feel at all uncomfortable (which is all too common), remember you are not a burden!!!!!


We can have all of these without adaptation:

  • Quality Street – The Purple One Latte
    • Signature latte with caramel chocolate sauce and roasted hazelnut syrup. Topped with a light creamy swirl and drizzled with more caramel sauce. Comes with a ‘Purple One’ chocolate.
  • After Eight Hot Chocolate (*df if you just have the syrup)
    • Signature Hot Chocolate with mint syrup. Topped with cream and a chocolate dusting. Comes with a After Eight thin.
  • Black Forest Hot Choc (*df, yes… the choc shimmery curls are df!)
    • Hot Chocolate with a cherry sauce drizzle. Topped with cream and and shimmery chocolate curls.
  • Irish Velvet Latte (*df)
    • Classic latte with a non-alcoholic Irish Coffee flavour sauce. Topped with cream and chocolate dusting.
  • Cinnamon Spiced Cappuccino (*df)
    • Classic cappuccino with aromatic winter spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise) delicately infused through and sprinkled on top.
  • Spiced Apple (*df)
    • A warm apple drink topped with a lemon slice
  • White Hot Chocolate
  • Ruby Hot Chocolate

These need a few adaptations:

  • Terrys Chocolate Orange Hot Choc (*df if you just have the syrup)
    • Signature Hot Chocolate, flavoured with bespoke orange syrup, topped with a light creamy swirl and glittery sprinkle.
    • ASK FOR: No choc orange segment on the side. Terry’s chocolate orange is a may contain
  • Gingerbread Latte & Hot Choc (*df)
    • Classic latte, deliciously flavoured with a gingerbread syrup
    • ASK FOR: No mini gingerbread man ontop (biscuit that contains gluten)

Costas Allergen info: Full Allergen Info

Costa reveals its Christmas menu for 2020 including Quality Street hot  chocolate | Daily Mail Online


We can have all of these without adaptation:

  • Truffle Hot Chocolate
    • Creamy chocolatey body, chocolate whipped cream and chocolate flavour truffle sprinkle topping
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate (*df)
    • Regular hot choc with peppermint sauce
  • Eggnog Latte
    • Rich steamed Eggnog and our Signature Espresso®, topped with a dusting of ground nutmeg for the perfect finish.

These need a few adaptations:

  • Toffee Nut Latte (*df)
    • Toffee nut syrup is combined with our Signature Starbucks Espresso®, steamed milk and topped with whipped cream
    • ASK FOR: no “toffee nut sprinkles” ontop as they contain gluten!!
  • Gingerbread Latte (*df)
    • Gingerbread syrup is combined with our Signature Starbucks Espresso®, steamed milk, topped with gingerbread flavour whipped cream
    • ASK FOR: no “waffle pieces” ontop as they contain gluten!!

Starbucks Allergen Info: Core Allergen Guide, Festive Allergen Guide

Homepage | Starbucks


We can have all of these without adaptation:

  • Gingerbread Latte (*df)
    • Regular latte with gingerbread syrup. Topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
  • S’mores Hot Chocolate (*df if you leave off the choc curls)
    • Hot chocolate with biscuit/Speculoos syrup (gluten free!!!). Topped with whipped cream, a sprinkling of dark chocolate curls and Melvin the marshmallow head.
  • Salted Caramel Latte (*df if you leave off the choc curls – the caramel sauce is dairy free!)
    • Regular latte with salted caramel syrup. Topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and a sprinkling of dark chocolate curls.

Pret Allergen Info: Allergen Guide

Want more festive guides?

Hope you found my “gluten free festive drinks guide” useful! Want some more Christmas guides?

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