Can You Buy Hot Coffee With Food Stamps?

Have you ever asked, “can you buy hot coffee with food stamps?” Read on and know the items you can and cannot buy with food stamps.

Can you buy hot coffee with food stamps?
You can buy prepacked coffee with food stamps

Can you buy coffee with food stamps? Hot drinks cannot be purchased with food stamps, including coffees and teas. However, you can often purchase prepacked coffee or coffee beans. You’ll need to do the actual preparing yourself. 

However, this does differ a bit from area to area. Each state makes up its own “rules” regarding food stamps, which don’t always make much sense. 

For instance, you can purchase some “luxury” items with food stamps in some areas. It sometimes includes bakery items, and some bakeries may sell coffee. In this instance, you may be able to purchase coffee with food stamps. 

Furthermore, some areas only disallow “hot” beverages. Therefore, iced coffee is eligible for purchase! Most places don’t allow any hot drinks, though. 

The USDA does not qualify foods based on their nutrition level – just whether or not they are food items. Therefore, coffee beans and prepackaged coffees are included. 

What Types Of Coffee Can You Purchase With An EBT Card?

coffee capsules in a jar
You can buy coffee pods with an EBT card

This will depend on where you live. Certain places have their own rules and are stricter than others.

In some cases, you can purchase a lot of different types of coffee with food stamps. Other times, you really can’t. 

In most cases, you can purchase:

The line is usually drawn when the drink is already prepared and eaten on the premises. It probably doesn’t count if you don’t have to take the coffee home and make it yourself!

Hot drinks are automatically not included. Such hot drinks include any sort of prepared hot coffee, as well as teas and similar drinks. If it is hot and made to drink right away, you probably can’t buy it with food stamps. 

Can You Purchase Canned Coffee With Food Stamps?

Yes. Typically, you can purchase canned coffee and soft drinks with food stamps.

It’s more about where the drink will be consumed than the type. If you can take the drink home, put it in your fridge, and leave it for a few days, it probably is eligible for food stamps.

However, if the drink is to be drunk right then, you likely can’t buy it with food stamps. 

The nutrition of the drink isn’t accounted for. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided that separating items based on their nutritional value would cost way too much money. Therefore, only the place of consumption matters. 

Canned drinks are excellent to purchase in most areas, including canned coffees. Hot drinks are automatically not included. However, most canned coffees are not hot. 

10 Items You Cannot Buy With Food Stamps

coffee cup and mug
You can’t buy hot drinks with food stamps

According to the USDA, here’s a quick list of things you can’t purchase in most places with food stamps. There may be some slight differences from state to state. 

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cigarettes and tobacco
  3. Pet foods
  4. Soaps
  5. Paper products
  6. Household Supplies
  7. Vitamins
  8. Medicines
  9. Food designed to be eaten in store
  10. Hot foods (including drinks, like coffee)

If you’re wondering, “Can you buy coffee with food stamps?” Notice how cold drinks are not on this list. Technically, this makes it possible to purchase iced coffees – just not hot coffee.

6 Items You Can Purchase With Food Stamps

You can purchase most food for the household with food stamps. This includes:

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Dairy products
  4. Meat, poultry, and fish
  5. Snack foods 
  6. Seeds and plants that produce food

Remember, food stamps don’t take “nutritional value” into account. Instead, the program only cares about whether or not the item is technically food. The food also has to be “unprepared” and designed to be taken home. 

If you’re going to eat the food in-store, it usually can’t be purchased. 


  • Kristin Hitchcock

    Kristin first fell in love with coffee on a trip to Brazil - where she learned that the ground coffee found on American shelves was not the end-all. Today, she loves educating other coffee-lovers on how to make the best cup of coffee, no matter what you enjoy. Find Kristin on LinkedIn.