Last week we learned that coffee would likely not fall under the gezeirah of sheichar akum. However, there is much debate as to whether or not it falls under the gezeirah of bishul akum?
The Pri Chadash tries to prove from Tosfos in Avodah Zara (35b) that just as beer (which is made from cooked barley) does not fall under bishul akum because the brocha on beer is shehakol and not borei minei mezonos and thus we see that water is the main ingredient, so too with coffee, where we say shehakol and not borei pri haeitz.
The Panim Meiros argues with the Pri Chadash. He brings the Bach who has a difficulty with Tosfos. The Bach says that you cannot bring a proof from hilchos brochos to hilchos bishul akum. In the case of barley, since you crushed it up, it has lost its original form, and that is why you change the brocha to shehakol. But at the end of the day, the same barley, regardless of its form, was still cooked up by a non-Jew. So too, argues the Panim Meiros, the Pri Chadash cannot bring a proof for coffee from the fact that its brocha is shehakol.
The Chasam Sofer concedes that the Bach is bringing a strong argument against Tosfos. But he defends the Pri Chadash by distinguishing between the cases of beer and coffee. With the beer, the Bach has a point, because the barley disintegrates and then gets absorbed into the water, so all of the barley is there and therefore falls under bishul akum. However, with coffee, the grounds are not dissolved into the water. Rather the water simply absorbs the taste from the coffee. So here the reasoning of Tosfos could apply. The brocha of shehakol is a proof that the main component of coffee is the water, to which bishul akum does not apply.
The Pri Chadash has a second argument that coffee is exempt from bishul akum, because it is not made to enhance or accompany bread in a meal. The Panim Meiros dismisses this argument because this position on bishul akum is the Pri Chadash's unique position, which is not agreed upon by others. The language of the Shulchan Aruch in Siman 112 clearly implies that even something secondary to a meal, such as an appetizer or dessert, falls under bishul akum as well.
Besides the Pri Chadash, there are three other lines of reasoning to argue that bishul akum doesn't apply to coffee, put forth by the Maharsham. The first is it could be that the gezeirah of bishul akum was only made on food and not on drinks. A second argument is that bishul akum only applies on things that a person would invite his friend over to eat. In the Maharsham's time this probably applied to coffee because in his time coffee was drunk solely for its caffeine, not as a social drink. In our age coffee is very much a social drink, so applying this line of reasoning is difficult. A third argument is that most people need to add milk as well as some sort of sweetener to the coffee. When the non-Jewish barista at Starbucks makes you the basic black coffee, it is not yet at the stage where it is considered to be drinkable by most people. Bishul akum only applies once the food item is edible to a degree.
In practice the minhag is to be lenient with non-Jewish-made coffee, but someone who chooses to be strict and doesn't drink the coffee provided on a plane or at a Starbucks for instance, has a reasonable basis for this.
Next week IY"H we will look at stam yeinam (non-Jewish wine).