Utah sure is beautiful, but for caffeine lovers can you get a coffee in the Mormon state?
You can get coffee in Utah. There are 100’s of coffee shops, bars, and cafes in Utah, including the capital Salt Lake City. All serve coffee, tea, and other drinks including alcohol. Mormons follow the Words of Wisdom, a dietary code for healthy food and drink, which means they do not drink coffee.
Let’s explore the subject of getting coffee in Utah in a little more detail, and discover what you can get served and where – and also look at the teachings of the Mormon religion with regard to drinking coffee (or not)…
Do They Have Coffee Shops in Utah?
They sure do. And – Utah coffee shops famously have “something for everyone”.
Utah coffee shops serve delicious, original, locally roasted brew. But that’s not all. Utah coffee shops knew that not everyone would be interested in drinking coffee. Or any type of caffeine. So, they diversified.
If you walk into a Utah coffee shop, you’ll smell delicious roasted coffee beans, yes.
But Utah coffee shops sell more than coffee. You’ll also smell quiches, cookies, Danishes, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, gelatos, chai tea, homemade jams, hot chocolate and tangy smoothies. Kombucha is on tap and Koa is served.
Utah coffee shops offer a wider variety of other stuff than neighboring states do. Utah coffee shops will have a nice variety of delicious, non-caffeinated beverages too, like fancy lemonades, shakes and smoothies.
Here’s a video from Visit Utah on baristas, coffee shops and booze (yes, you can get booze as well) in Utah.
Can You Drink Coffee in Utah?
Absolutely yes. Anyone can drink coffee in Utah. And while not in the top 10 states for best coffee – OK, not even in the top 20 – it does have places for coffee lovers.
Here’s an FYI for new Utahns. Utah is (sort of) famous for the following food and drinks: fry sauce, funeral potatoes, specialty soda shops, Dutch oven dinners, honey, ice cream shakes, pastrami burgers, and the most famous food of all – green Jell-O.
BTW, if you are into root beer, check out Brigham’s Brew Root Beer. Brewed in Salt Lake City by Wasatch Brewery, it’s a Salt Lake City original.
Does Starbucks Exist in Utah?
Yup, Starbucks exists in Utah.
According to a 2019 article from Spoon University, the total number of Starbucks stores in Utah was 101 and growing.
That’s way more Starbucks stores than in Wyoming (23), Vermont (8), West Virginia (25), Rhode Island (27), Alaska (49), North Dakota (13), and South Dakota (25), but way less than in California (2,821) and Colorado (481).
Wondering how your state stacks up on the Starbucks scale? Here’s the link.
Does Salt Lake City Have Coffee Shops?
Salt Lake City does have coffee shops. In fact, it has the most coffee shops in Utah.
Salt Lake City’s population is probably more diverse – and progressive – than you may think. Less than 50% of Salt Lake City dwellers are Mormons.
Several Salt Lake City coffee shop reviews used terms like “exploding”, “plethora”, “hidden gem” and “buzzing” to describe Salt Lake City’s coffee scene.
Alternatively described as sophisticated, eclectic, third-wave, hipster or hole-in-the-wall, Salt Lake City coffee shops have it all. Most serve fair trade, direct trade, organic and shade-grown certified beans.
Often, the coffee shop will do their own, high-altitude roasting. The Salt Lake City coffee connoisseur scene includes siphon bars, nitro-poured cold brew shops and shops large enough to have a separate room for private parties.
And Salt Lake City (SLC) doesn’t just have coffee shops, they have roasters too, and have had for decades. There are lots of small-batch, specialty-grade roasters here. Some shops sell beans for upwards of $50 for a 12-ounce bag.
One popular SLC roaster – that is opening its fourth café – prides itself on community and “planet over profit”. Their roastery is 100% solar-powered and has an oxidizer that filters out 96% of the solid particulates from the roasting process.
Here’s a link to Visit Salt Lake’s guide to coffee shops.
Why is Coffee Not Allowed for Mormons?
Mormons follow the Words of Wisdom, a dietary code that outlines healthy things to eat and drink.
In the Words of Wisdom revelation of 1833, the Lord said to abstain from putting harmful substances in your body. It forbade followers to consume addictive things: illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and “hot drinks”.
The Words of Wisdom forbids the use of illegal drugs, and the intentional abuse of legal ones. For Mormons, smoking pot is a no go unless you have a prescription. It also bans the use of tobacco products (including vaping) and drinking alcohol.
Finally, the revelation bans “hot drinks”. When the Words of Wisdom were written – 1883 – the list of hot drinks was small, just coffee and black tea.
Over the years, the church has clarified this somewhat ambiguous and outdated language to include anything with coffee or black tea in it.
Even though the church has said that caffeinated sodas were OK, along with green or herbal teas and hot chocolate, many Mormons prefer not to drink them at all.
They interpret the ambiguous “hot drink” rule as one against all caffeine, hot or cold. Caffeine is a stimulant, after all, and can be addictive.
In many ways, the Words of Wisdom makes sense. We should all avoid putting addictive stuff in our bodies and load it up with healthy stuff. We should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and meat only sparingly. We should eat grains, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
Still not convinced? Then consider this: a study by the Washington Post determined that Mormons live longer than most of us.
In the study, Mormon men had a life expectancy of 84 years, while non-Mormon men can expect to live until their mid-70s. Mormon women average 84 years, while non-Mormon women live until their early 80s.
Can Mormons Drink Iced Coffee?
Well, they can. But it will go against the revelations God made to Joseph Smith in 1833, which he set down as the Words of Wisdom.
Thanks to the proliferation of the coffee shop and all its terms for coffee, the Church has clarified the Words of Wisdom to include modern terms like café, caffé, espresso, latte, mocha, mochaccino and iced coffees.
All these terms, they say, are basically coffee and as per the “hot drink” rule, the faithful shouldn’t consume them.
So what happens if a Mormon does drink coffee?
The church says that following the Words of Wisdom is a sign of faith and commitment. It’s a sign of your worthiness. If you routinely disregard the Words, then you may not qualify for baptism or temple worship (aka a “temple recommend”).
Can Mormons Drink Decaffeinated Coffee?
Although the church has no official position on whether it should be allowed or not, some Mormons do drink decaffeinated coffee and feel they are following the Words.
But many Mormons feel that drinking decaf coffee, enjoying “near beer” and even sipping green tea should be avoided because it adds confusion. It gives the appearance of evil, and many Mormons would rather just stay well clear.