WHAT WE’RE MADE OF

Caribou Coffee is committed to Clean Label. It’s our pursuit to make every delicious handcrafted drink using only real ingredients, like real chocolate, vanilla and caramel.

OUR CLEAN LABEL JOURNEY

Not all change is fast. But the wait was worth it. For us, and most importantly, for you, our customers. See how our path to a Clean Label drink menu unfolded below.

  • 2004

    Running a
    Clean Operation

    We decided to build a world-class Kosher and Organic-certified coffee roasting and manufacturing facility on-site — because no one's bar was higher than our own.

  • 2006

    Begin with Beans

    We started our Rainforest Alliance journey by roasting our first Rainforest Alliance-Certified beans — better for the customer and the grower.

  • 2007

    A CLEAN START

    How serious were we about Clean Label? First, we committed to using only dairy with no added hormones and then made sure our suppliers would only provide us with exactly that. Clean, crisp and delicious is all our milk should be.

  • 2010

    Hello,
    Real Chocolate Chips

    In the pursuit of taste, we put a stake in the coffee grounds to use only real chocolate chips. And we've been marching towards a Clean Label drink menu ever since.

  • 2012

    100% Rainforest Alliance

    100% of our beans are sourced from Rainforest Alliance-Certified farms. By supporting biodiversity conservation and improved communities for our farmers, we all win.

  • 2015

    Clean
    Drink Competition

    We couldn't switch to Clean Label drink ingredients and sacrifice taste. So we performed a set of blind taste tests and found that consumers clearly preferred Clean Label drinks. We accomplished both of our goals: improved taste and ingredient quality. Win, win, delicious win.

  • 2016

    Hello, Real Vanilla

    We introduced real vanilla syrup. It is made with pure cane sugar and real vanilla from Madagascar, not with artificial flavors. It was love at first taste.

  • 2016

    Welcome,
    Real Caramel

    Next ingredient on the Clean Label bandwagon? Real caramel. Made without artificial flavors. Just a delicious swirl of caramel sauce.

  • 2016

    Clean Label
    Caribou Coolers®

    From raspberry to mint chocolate and salted caramel, all of our Caribou Coolers® are made with Clean Label ingredients. This even includes all of our mix-ins, special treats and toppings.

  • 2016

    Pumped for
    Real Pumpkin

    When we took fall's favorite treat, pumpkin, and made it Clean Label, our pumpkin drinks became the envy of average fall beverages everywhere. And an instant fall classic.

  • 2017

    Coffeeless Coolers
    Have Arrived

    In 2017, we launched our delicious Caribou Coolers® without coffee, so you can enjoy classic treat flavors made without artificial sweeteners or colors. What an entrance.

Off-Limit List

Caribou's pursuit to use only real ingredients means we made a list of ingredients we will not add to our handcrafted drinks. We said “so long” to adding artificial ingredients. Easiest breakup ever. Caribou's Clean Label Drink standard means our drinks are made…

Guess what might be added to other coffee drinks

Scroll the entire ingredients list below to see what's in theirs but not in ours.

No laundry list
of artificial additives. Just real ingredients.
KEEP GOING!
No laundry list
of artificial additives. Just real ingredients.
Who can pronounce
this stuff?
You lost me at
Polysorbate
This is coffee, not
chemistry, right?
Artificial Colors DATEM(Diacetyl Tartaric Acid) Potassium Bisulfate Calcium Bromate Acesulfame K (Acesulfame Potassium) Esters of Fatty Acids(Glycerol and Polyglycerol Esters) Ethoxyquin Artificial Flavors Caprocaprylobehenin Stannous Chloride Canthaxanthin Sodium Benzoate FD&C Colors Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) Saccharin (Calcium Saccharin) Artificial Colors (Certified FD&C) Dipotassium Sulfate Autolyzed Yeast Extract Disodium Guanylate (GMP) Who can pronounce
this stuff?
Titanium Dioxide Ammonium Chloride Monosodium Glutamate/Sodium Glutamate (Added MSG, not naturally occurring) EDTA (Calcium Disodium EDTA/Disodium Dihydrogen EDTA) Triacetin/Glycerol Triacetate Sodium Lactate Polydextrose Sulfur Dioxide Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolyzed Soy or Corn Protein Propionates (Calcium, Sodium) Vanillin (synthetic only) Calcium Sorbate Partially Hydrogenated Oils/Artificial Trans Fat Theobromine(Added, not naturally occurring) Disodium Inosinate(IMP) Aluminum Calcium Silicate/Bentonite (Calcium Aluminosilicate, Calcium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Calcium Silicoaluminate) Caramel Color Sodium Diacetate Fat Substitutes (Sucrose Polyester, Microparticulated Whey Protein Concentrate) Polysorbate You lost me at
Polysorbate
Sodium Metabisulfite Azodicarbonamide Alum (Aluminum Ammonium Sulfate/Aluminium Potassium Sulfate) Salatrim Diacetyl/Acetoin Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Astaxanthin(Synthetic Only) Artificial Preservatives Brominated Vegetable Oil BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) Sodium Erythorbate Azo Dyes Carboxymethyl Cellulose Potassium Bromate Lard High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) Calcium Peroxide Artificial Sweeteners Propyl Gallate Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin Sucroglycerides Potassium Sorbate Sucralose Carmine/Cochineal Maltodextrin Artificial Flavors Sulfites (Added, not naturally occurring) Polysorbates (all) Bromated Flour This is coffee, not
chemistry, right?
L-Cysteine (Cystine) Aspartame Silicones/Siloxanes (Methyl Silicon, Dimethylpolysiloxane) Potassium Benzoate Neotame Potassium Lactate Benzyl Alcohol/Benzoyl Peroxide(Synthetic only) Benzoic Acid Artificial Smoke Flavor Nitrates/Nitrites (Added, not naturally occurring) Parabens (all)

Now that you know what’s in our Clean Label drinks, experience how great they taste.

Clean Label FAQ

  • What does it mean for something to be Clean Label?

    At Caribou Coffee, Clean Label means that our drinks are not made with artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, MSG or high fructose syrup. Our reason is simple: we believe that real ingredients taste better. And we invite you to taste the difference for yourself.

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  • How will you roll-out Clean Label products beyond beverages?

    As the first national coffeehouse chain to be 100% Rainforest Alliance-Certified, the first national coffeehouse chain to offer real chocolate chips and caramel sauce, and now, the first national coffeehouse to offer customers a Clean Label drink menu, we understand such extensive change takes time. We are currently exploring how to best clean up our menu beyond beverages.

  • What artificial ingredients is Caribou eliminating?

    Caribou has created an “Off-Limit List” to call out those ingredients that do not meet our standards and aren’t added to our beverages. So bye-bye to high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, aspartame and many others. To see our entire “Off-Limit List,” tap here.

  • How does Clean Label impact nutritional content?

    Clean Label and nutritional content are two different subjects. We understand that customers feel better knowing they’re consuming real ingredients rather than a long list of added, artificial preservatives. But we also want them to understand that our move to Clean Label drinks means we sometimes use additional real ingredients to substitute things on the “Off-Limit List”. For example, we add fruit juice in place of artificial coloring to achieve red color, and sometimes these substitutions alter the calorie counts of our drinks.

  • Does this impact coffee buying practices in countries of origin?

    In short: no. Our commitment to sourcing from Rainforest Alliance-Certified coffee farms will remain part of our coffee DNA. Sourcing Rainforest Alliance-Certified beans was the first step in our mission to offer our customers a better cup of coffee while helping the communities with which we partner flourish.

  • What drinks at Caribou are truly Clean Label?

    Caribou’s drink menu and ingredients are practically Clean Label from top to bottom. The only exceptions are our Chai Tea Latte, sugar-free chocolate syrup and a few drink toppings. But by year-end 2018, we aim for our entire drink menu to be 100% Clean Label.

  • How does Caribou source Clean Label dairy?

    Since 2007, we’ve been using milk without added hormones. Currently, we use only Class 1, Grade A dairy. We also require that all our suppliers certify to us they do not use any added hormones in their operation.

  • How do you explain using ingredients that don’t look like they’re Clean Label?

    Rest assured, every ingredient used in our Clean Label drinks meets our standard. Even unfamiliar ingredients, like potassium caseinate — which is a protein that comes from milk and is used to help flavor our syrups and sauces — is Clean Label and handpicked by our culinary team.