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FAQ - Frequently asked questions

There's so much to learn about coffee. Find answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about the Van Houtte®  brand, our products and our craftmanship.

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If you are looking for a business solutions provider for your coffee, drinks and water distribution needs, please visit the Van Houtte® Coffee Services website here.
Van Houtte® knows that the requirements of a business in terms of equipment, maintenance, variety of products and delivery is unique, both in coffee break and in food services. In order to properly process your request, we ask that you complete the online form. Once your form has been submitted, it will be sent to the branch that serves your area and a representative will contact you within 48 hours.

We have slightly refreshed our brand image. As we approach Van Houtte®’s one hundredth anniversary, we wanted to refresh the look of its logo and founder.
The quality and variety of our products remain unchanged. We’re simply making slight changes to our positioning.
To stay up-to-date, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter!

Please visit the Contact us section on the Van Houtte® Coffee Services website to find the contact information of the branch that serves you and contact directly a representative.

What’s the difference between Fairtrade and organic coffee?
Whether it’s Fairtrade or organic, Van Houtte® coffee is always a great choice. Both Fairtrade and organic certifications actively contribute to the protection of the environment by encouraging producers to implement cultivation and production practices that are sustainable and respect nature. So, what’s the difference then?

Fairtrade certification
Van Houtte® certified Fairtrade coffee is verified by Fairtrade Canada, a non-profit organization member of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International.

Fairtrade certification directly addresses social issues such as labour conditions for coffee farm workers. Under Fairtrade, they are ensured a minimum price for their coffee, which protects them in the face of market fluctuations. In addition, they receive a community development premium that they place in a common investment fund and use to improve the quality of life in their community.

Organic certification
Van Houtte® certified organic coffee  is verified by the TCO Certified (TCO Development),  a non-profit organization. 

Organic certification attests to the organic farming practices that growers respect. It also ensures that packers and roasters follow the best organic processing practices. To protect local ecosystems, producers who grow certified organic coffee use sustainable methods such as mulching, composting and the selective use of natural pesticides. Grown and processed coffee beans therefore contain no chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It’s simple – everything from farm to cup is 100% organic.

Why choose when you can drink both?
Van Houtte® certified Fairtrade coffee and Van Houtte® certified organic coffee are both great choices. Buying Fairtrade helps improve first the quality of life for coffee producers while buying organic actively supports coffee producers who make every effort to protect the environment.


In 1919, Albert-Louis Van Houtte opened his first fine grocery store in Montreal where he focused on his true passion: coffee.  Ever since, the know-how of this Master Roaster has continued to shine under the brand that bears his name.  With its rich, premium-quality coffee and European single-batch roasting process that draws out all of the flavours and aromas of the beans, the Van Houtte® brand offers coffee lovers a rich and satisfying experience with every cup.
For more information, go to our Heritage section.


Our fifty or so café-bistros in Canada offer our clients the chance to savour regular or specialty coffees and delicious pastries, fresh salads, and sandwiches made on the spot. Forever true to the traditional small batch roasting technique and the original recipes handed down by our founder, Van Houtte café-bistros offer a wide variety of Fairtrade Certified coffees with unique aromas and flavours. As part of our 2015 “Ready-to-Eat” concept, over 50 recipes were carefully prepared and tested before being before being launched on the market. The final products were meticulously selected to serve our loyal customers only the best. We thought of everything to meet the changing needs of a society demanding quality food that can be eaten on the go. The mission of “Ready-to-Eat” Van Houtte café-bistros® is to create freshly made meals with all-natural ingredients.
For more information, go to

Van Houtte Coffee Services

As the main supplier of coffee services in Canada, Van Houtte Coffee Services® is committed to offering a range of solutions that meet the needs of its restaurant, hotel, convenience store, service establishment, and other business clients. No matter the industry or the number of employees or customers, Van Houtte Coffee Services® provides comprehensive services that will satisfy any need, from coffee breaks to food service. A one-of-a-kind combination of traditional coffee roasting, technicians and delivery staff, experts who serve our clients across the country, and revolutionary technology makes Van Houtte Coffee Services® the complete and unrivaled solution to your company’s refreshment needs.
For more information, go to

Van Houtte® Coffee Services has an online store for business clients. If you already have an account, please click here. Otherwise, to make online purchases, please start by contacting the Van Houtte® Coffee Services branch that serves you to activate your online account. 

If you wish to obtain the contact information for a branch, please visit the Contact us section on the Van Houtte® Coffee Services website.

For Van Houtte® Specialty Collection products

The coffee pods contain 9.5 g of coffee and the packets contain 25 g of Froth mix, for a 10-oz serving.

Caffeine content varies greatly depending on how the beverage is prepared. Many factors such as contact time, brewing water temperature, particle size of coffee grinds, type and roast of coffee beans, will have an impact on the caffeine level and extraction. That’s why it’s very difficult for us to provide accurate information for all of our blends and coffees. 

Reputable sources usually agree that an 8-oz cup of drip filtered coffee can contain up to 180 mg of caffeine. As a comparison, regular tea contains between 30 and 60 mg, and a can of cola contains 34 mg. Herbal teas contain no caffeine at all. For more information on caffeine, visit

Sucralose is found in a wide variety of consumer goods and beverages – as well as in the Van Houtte® specialty coffees. Sucralose is authorized by Health Canada, which has established a recommended/safe daily dose. The quantity of sucralose contained in our specialty coffees is well below this daily dose. Obviously, as is the case with desserts of sweet beverages, moderation is the key.

Coffee does not contain gluten. Van Houtte®'s pure roasted coffee is gluten-free. Gluten can sometimes be found in the artificial flavourings used to make flavoured coffees, but we purchase flavourings that are gluten-free.
Bear in mind that it is up to our suppliers to declare any possible presence of gluten or other allergens in their products. For this reason, and because we are conscious that even a minute amount of gluten accidentally coming into contact with one of our flavours could have serious consequences, it is our policy to discourage people who are intolerant to gluten (celiac disease) to consume our flavoured coffees.

Van Houtte® products are available at most major grocery stores across Canada, as well as some retailers, pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations, including but not limited to:

·         Loblaws
·         Sobeys National
·         IGA
·         Metro
·         Super C
·         Shoppers Drug Mart
·         Groupe Jean Coutu
·         Uniprix

·         Walmart Corporation
·         Canadian Tire Corporation
·         Staples Canada Inc.
·         London Drugs Ltd
·         Breville Canada
·         Home Outfitters
·         Bed Bath & Beyond
·         ECS Coffee Inc.
·         Sears Canada Inc.
·         La Baie d’Hudson
·         Best Buy

If you would like the address of a store near you, click here  to access our store locator.
K-Cup® pods are also available online:

All Van Houtte® products are 100% coffee and, therefore, inherently kosher.
No other ingredient is used in the processing of our coffees and we don’t modify our recipes or processes in any way for them to be certified. No alcohol or animal by-products are used and our plant itself is kosher certified. The kosher logo on our packaging is simply additional information for customers who are looking for this type of product.
Van Houtte® flavoured coffees are made by using the same pure coffee and adding a small amount of flavouring to it. All of our flavours are kosher certified.

Van Houtte® decaffeinated coffees are made using pure decaffeinated coffee beans processed either with water or with ethyl acetate. Both decaffeination processes are kosher certified.
Van Houtte® coffees are certified by Montreal Kosher.

All our products are made with rich coffee and can produce froth.  However, the flavours, ingredients and textures of the products differ.

  • Cappuccino: The Cappucino is made from rich coffee, with a touch of creamy and slightly sweet froth.
  • Vanilla Latte: As its name suggests, a coffee with a light vanilla taste and a creamy smooth froth.
  • Caramel Macchiato: The Caramel Macchiato blends fresh coffee flavour with a buttery caramel taste and a touch of froth.
  • Mocaccino: The Mocaccino blends fresh coffee flavour with slightly sweet cocoa, and offers a creamy froth. 

The decaffeination process occurs before roasting, when the coffee is still green. Van Houtte® purchases green coffee decaffeinated using two different methods. The decaffeination methods used for Van Houtte® products remove 99.9% of the caffeine from the beans. The beans are soaked and steamed to make them porous, and then a natural (water) or chemical (water and ethyl acetate) solvent is added to remove the caffeine. These two processes are recognized by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.

Van Houtte® decaffeinated coffees, part of the Classic collection, are decaffeinated using ethyl acetate. In the U.S., ethyl acetate is considered a natural method because it is naturally found in the skin of fruits.

The Van Houtte® Swiss Water Process Fair Trade Organic Decaf  coffee uses the Swiss Water process. This process only uses water to remove the caffeine. It involves a long soak in spring water, which is then stripped of its caffeine by percolation through activated charcoal. The beans are then soaked again and reabsorb the caffeine-free flavor constituents from the water

The complete list of ingredients and calorie content of the four specialty coffees are indicated on the packaging. They are similar to what we find in other similar products currently available on the market. All flavours contain sugar. The Vanilla Latte, Mocaccino and Caramel Macchiato are also sweetened with sucralose.

Freshness is an important factor in the enjoyment of any cup of coffee. While some products – like K-Cup® pods – show a “best before” date, this date highlights the period that coffee is at its peak of freshness.

Coffee doesn’t have an expiry date and is always safe to consume, but once it has lost its freshness, its flavour will be less intense.

Look for the ‘’Best Before’’ date on the box and on each K-Cup® pod.

Van Houtte® promotes ecological production methods by offering its clients a wide array of Organic Certified coffees. By choosing and processing the best organic beans, Van Houtte® supports environmentally sound practices.
Organic producers and processors need to strictly comply with organic standards. As producers, organic coffee growers use sustainable methods that protect the ecosystem, such as crop rotation, composting, and selective use of natural and non-chemical pesticides. Coffee beans are also grown and processed without the use of pesticides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Van Houtte® Organic Certified coffees are certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA International), a non-profit, member-owned, organic certification organization that provides certification to farmers, processors and handlers in America, Asia, and Europe. The organic certification is delivered in exchange for a yearly fee and an annual inspection. The certification guarantees that organic agricultural practices are well respected by the growers, and that the transformation facilities (roasting and packaging) meet the organic criteria.

Coffee is 98.5% water, so it has very little calories (approximately 5 per cup) or nutritional value regardless of the brewing method. On the other hand, milk, cream and sugar all contain calories, so keep that in mind if you're concerned about your caloric intake.

The Complete list of ingredients is indicated on the packaging (the box). All four flavours contain milk and soy.

All four flavours are certified OU-D (Circle U dairy) Kosher.

We flavour our coffees by adding a liquid concentrate to ground coffee or whole beans, which is considered superior to powders. The liquid flavours used do not contain nuts or nut products, gluten, meats and sugar, and are certified by the supplier to this effect.

Close attention is paid to the environmental impact of the cups we use to serve coffee and we are always looking for sustainable solutions.
Choosing a truly green cup is always a challenge and this issue is not taken lightly.
We must consider factors that go beyond the inclusion of recycled matter in the cup’s composition. The energy needed to manufacture the cup is also part of the equation

Wherever possible, we offer our clients reusable porcelain cups or reusable cups especially designed for hot drinks to go. They are excellent options in terms of the best ecological choice and we highly encourage them

The coffee tree, a shade-loving shrub, flourishes under the canopy of diverse tree species. The tree canopy in shade coffee plantations protects the soil from erosion and provide natural mulch for coffee plants, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides. A shade-grown environment means that plants and trees are kept or planted around the coffee trees, thereby preserving the natural habitat of birds and insects.
Many coffee-growing countries recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced eco-system. Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica use trees for natural shade and bird habitats. In Ethiopia, coffee is grown among fruits or vegetables, even in the forest.

Van Houtte® is committed to purchasing the best high quality beans, at the better price. If faced with equivalent quality and price, we will always choose shade-grown coffee.
Furthermore, many certifications such as Fair Trade and Organic promote shade-growing and include its practice in their criteria. Van Houtte® offers a wide portfolio of responsible products such as the blends available in our Signature Collection.