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Does Coffee Contain Sulfites? What You Need To Know

Does Coffee Contain Sulfites - What You Need To Know

Should I Be Worried About Sulfites In Coffee? Our Guide On How To Avoid Them

Trying to keep your coffee as clear and preservative-free as you can is not an easy task, sulfites are typically used in foods to preserve them and keep them fresh, which begs the question, does coffee have any sulfites? 

Well, most types of coffee do not have sulfite materials in them, you might find some traces in an instant and flavoured coffee, however, so you should always check the label before buying.

We’ve composed a small guide below which will take you through what sulfites are and if they are dangerous to you, the type of coffee which has sulfites and which type does not, we will also discuss some other common food and drink which has them. 

What Are Sulfites?

Natural sulfites are found in food but some additional sulfites can also be placed into food if they need to be preserved. They are used on food to stop veggies from oxidizing and meat becoming discoloured. 

Some can additionally be found in pieces of bread and pizza to help with texture and stop fungi from growing on them.

We’ve listed a few common sulfites you can find in food down below. 

  • Sodium sulfite.
  • Sodium bisulfite.
  • Sodium metabisulfite.
  • Potassium metabisulfite.
  • Potassium bisulfite.
  • Sulphur dioxide.

How Do Sulfites Affect You?

Many people wonder if a level of sulfites is bad for them, but they don’t tend to cause any issues in people unless you suffer from an allergy to sulfites or sulfite intolerances. 

In people with sulfite allergies, they can also cause asthma so you should be careful when picking products if you suffer from sulfite sensitivity.

We’ve bullet-pointed a few common sulfite reactions you can have below if you suffer from intolerances to sulfites.

  • Hives.
  • Flushing.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bad stomach.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Hard time breathing.

Which Kind Of Coffee Has Sulfites? 

Most coffee is sulfite-free but you can find some types which tend to contain these food additives, the main types of coffee which can cause sulfite reactions are instant coffee, some roasted coffee and a few coffee-k cups flavours. 

Which Coffee Type Does Not Have Sulfites? 

If you want to make sure that you have coffee without exposure to sulfites then your best off choosing higher-quality filtered coffee. 

We’ve found a few coffee types below which typically don’t ever contain any sulfites, you should always check the packaging beforehand, however. 

  • Keurig K-cup – These coffees tend to be filtered and are foil packed so are a great way to avoid sulfites.
  • Unflavored coffee beans – Most unflavoured coffee beans will not contain any sulfites, flavoured ones normally do, however.
  • Decaf coffee beans – Decaffeinated coffee stops chemicals inside which can prevent sulfites too. To read more about decaffeinated coffee, check this article!

No company is required to put sulfite-free labels on their coffee packets so you should always be careful when picking.

Other Food & Drink Containing Sulfites 

There are plenty of other types of food and drink with can contain sulphites and you should watch out for them if you have a sensitivity.

We’ve listed the main foods and drinks which contain sulfites below. 

  • Canned veg and fruit as well as frozen.
  • Fruit/veg juice.
  • Syrups, jams and fruit fillings.
  • Dried fruit.
  • Cereal and crackers.
  • Dehydrated potatoes such as french fries.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Bottles of ketchup and other condiments.
  • Vinegar.
  • Lemon and lime juice.
  • Alcohol.
  • Granola bars with dried fruit.
  • Dressings.
  • Noodles.
  • Sweeteners.
  • Medications.

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee & Sulfites

What kind of sulfites are in food? 

The main types of sulfites found in food are listed as; Sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite and sulphur dioxide.

Are sulfites often in caffeinated beverages? 

No, sulfites are not all in all caffeinated beverages but you should check beforehand if you have reactions to sulfites. 

Are sulfites listed in products ingredients? 

No sulfites are not required to be on products ingredients, in Canada however they have to be put on the label, it’s best to pick foods that you know are less likely to be sulfite-free if you often have reactions. 

What does sulfite sensitivity mean? 

Sulfite sensitivity can cause you to react to foods but is not like an allergy, it is the immune response to sulfites that reacts.

Can sulphites be on fresh fruit?

No, in most countries sulfites are not allowed to be put on fresh fruit.

Last Words 

Overall, coffee does not contain sulfites most of the time, however, some instant coffee and flavoured beans can potentially contain them for the preservation of freshness. Always check beforehand what contains sulfites if you have a sensitivity as it can cause you bad reactions or an allergy.

Lucy Harper

Lucy Harper

Lucy Harper is the founder and owner of our coffee content site. With a lifelong passion for coffee, Lucy has dedicated herself to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others. Her goal is to help coffee lovers of all levels to explore the world of coffee and discover the joy of the perfect cup. When she's not writing about coffee, Lucy can often be found in her kitchen experimenting with new brewing techniques and coffee recipes.