Question:

Can you drink coffee on an airplane

Answer:

Regarding drinking coffee on an airplane, there are a number of issues to check into. First is the actual coffee. It seems that if the coffee is plain unflavored coffee is kosher and it doesn’t need a hechsher for use during the year, as it is just cooked and dried coffee beans.

Regarding the milk, that is something that has to be checked into I the plane itself if what kind of milk they are using, if it is cholov yisroel or cholov stam, in countries that have government regulations that other animals shouldn’t be mixed into the cow milk.

Regarding bishul akum of the coffee, according to some poskim the coffee would have an issue of bishul akum, as it is served and kingly dinners. Others however are lenient based on various rationales. One is, that although it is served on a kingly table however it isn’t eaten together with the meal, and a person isn’t going to invite a guest just to drink a cup of coffee. Others say that it is permitted because it is only a drink. Others want to say even if it would be a problem, but if the gentile pours plain coffee, without sugar etc. since it is bitter, although some people drink it this way it isn’t considered befitting a kings table and permitted. Afterwards when the Jew puts in the sugar, he is making it presentable.

Regarding the pitchers that the coffee is served in, or if the coffee is served in a china coffee cup, that they are washed together with the non kosher dishes of the rest of the plane. There is room to say that they are not a “ben yomo”, and therefore although l’chatchila we shouldn’t use such a vessel on our own, but if it was used, (and here it was used already by the stewardess) it doesn’t prohibit the food inside it. Therefore the water or coffee inside the metal pitcher is permitted to drink. However the porcelain mug which the passenger would be using is more problematic, therefore he should ask for a disposable cup.

In short according to most poskim it is fine to drink, just be careful about the milk, and get it in a disposable cup.

Sources:

Bishul akum- Stringent- shevet Halevi, 2-44, 5-93. Leineint – Chochmas Odom 66-1, Pri Toar on Pri Chadash 113-3, Maharsham 2-262, Yivakesh Torah (Kaufman) siman 72, Yisodei Yishurun 4 pg 4, Mishne Halachos 12-19,  Bishul Yisroel siman 45. Black coffee – Avnei Yashpe 1-139, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1-437.

Tags: airplane coffee traveling

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