Can You Buy Coffee With Food Stamps? [Get The Facts]

Nothing is ever straightforward, is it? Unfortunately, governmentally issued benefits (like EBT and food stamps) are no exception. There are rules and regulations as to what you can and can’t buy, and it’s important to follow these rules. 

For example, food stamps money is only suitable for buying food groceries. However, what about gray areas, like coffee? Let’s discuss whether or not you can buy coffee with food stamps, as well as what you can buy with EBT.

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Table Of Contents:

Can You Buy Coffee With Food Stamps? 

Can you buy coffee with food stamps? Well, yes and no. You can’t buy hot food and drinks with EBT, so pre-made hot coffee is out of the question. 

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However, you can buy some forms of coffee with food stamps money:

  • Instant, prepackaged coffee
  • Coffee beans (to grind and prepare at home)
  • Iced coffee (in some states – not every state allows you to buy an iced coffee. Check with your provider first.)

Essentially, you can buy coffee that requires you to prepare it at home, so instant coffee is fine. 

What Can You Buy With EBT?

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is an umbrella term for all electronically issued benefits. It’s mostly used to receive SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. 

You can use EBT to buy food groceries for yourself and your household. 

Here’s what you can buy with EBT:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Bread, cereals, and grains
  • Nuts, beans, legumes, etc
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Snack foods (like ice cream, chips, candy, etc)

EBT is designed for you to buy ingredients to prepare food at home. It’s up to you what you buy with your benefits, and any unused benefits will roll on to the next month. 

What Can’t You Buy With EBT?

EBT is designed for food groceries only, so anything which isn’t classed as food is not covered by your food stamps benefits. 

Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Household supplies (like paper goods and cleaning products)
  • Personal hygiene and grooming products 
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gambling/lottery tickets
  • Tobacco products
  • Electronics 
  • Furniture, clothing, cosmetics, and other personal items
  • Hot, preprepared food and drinks (like rotisserie chickens and hot coffee)
  • Vitamins, supplements, or medicines 
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As you can see, some non-food items (like personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies) are still essential household goods. Unfortunately, these items are not covered by EBT and food stamps benefits. 

Most stores allow shoppers to make multiple payments on one load of shopping, so you can pay for non-food groceries out of your own money, and use your food stamps benefits to pay for food groceries. 

The Bottom Line

While Starbucks might be out of the question on your food stamps benefits, you can still buy raw coffee beans and instant coffee, to make yourself a hot drink at home. If you have any questions about what you can and can’t buy, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card

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