Uri Ort, 26, runs kosherstarbucks.com, which guides observant Jews about what they may consume at the coffee chain.
“I have relationships with many Starbucks stores,” said Mr. Ort, a 26-year-old Orthodox Jew. “There really isn’t one specific store. That’s the fact. I’m friends with baristas in Texas, in Chicago, in Baltimore, and in the New York and New Jersey area.”
Mr. Ort, an unmarried e-commerce manager who lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, runs kosherstarbucks.com. He is the leading amateur in the world of coffee kosherology (that’s what we’re calling it): the science of figuring out what is kosher, what traditional religious Jews may consume, at Starbucks.
Like nearly everyone else who is not Mormon, religious Jews need their coffee. On many blocks, in many cities, in the airport, on the turnpike, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, from San Francisco to Ashtabula, coffee very often means Starbucks coffee.
“We started the Web site in 2007,” Mr. Ort said, “because I’m a little bit obsessed with Starbucks, and I also have a strong interest in kosher. It started as a personal endeavor, to figure out what was kosher and what wasn’t. Eventually I had friends asking me, and I figured I would put it up on the Web. It started small, and just grew.”
“But then I spent some time in Israel,” he said. “And I got used to a much stronger coffee. And when I came back to America I had an issue with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.”
He began to stop into Starbucks, and became friends with some baristas around Lakewood. Eventually, his barista network grew — “A bunch of my Facebook friends are Starbucks baristas,” he said — and now that network helps his Web site stay current.
Mr. Ort helpfully marks all Starbucks products with either a green light or a red light. The Frappuccinos all get red lights. The Tazo teas, green lights. Hot chocolate, green light — but white hot chocolate, red light. The Vivanno smoothie? It depends on the flavor. Mocha drizzle on top — yes! Caramel drizzle, no.
Yes to whipped cream.
Source: NY Times