Counterfeit Coffee Is Now Something You Need To Worry About

Counterfeit Coffee Is Now Something You Need to Worry About

Sip your afternoon coffee suspiciously, friend -- it may not be what you think. The Washington Post chatted with the creators of a new testing method for coffee beans, which double checks that the name on the label of your beans matches what you're actually getting. Although existing tests can already identify the types of coffee beans, the new method is more precise, as well as quicker and easier to perform outside of the lab.

The need for the more efficient testing has cropped up because coffee is becoming an increasingly common target for food counterfeiters. What's really interesting about this particular case, though, is that it combines so many different food counterfeiting methods. Coffee has a mislabelling problem, like salmon and other fish. It also suffers from the diluting of better varieties with cheaper, more plentiful ones, as in the case olive oil.

There's also one other commonality with other recent food fraud cases. Like so many other foods, part of the root cause of the counterfeiting is climate change. Coffee, particularly in Brazil, has been hit hard by the sweeping droughts we've experienced recently. Late last year, I noted that given what we were seeing with both global markets and on coffee farms, a global coffee shortage was coming. The question wasn't if, but when it would happen. With tightening stores from a looming shortage, rising prices and more and more emphasis on specialty coffees, it's no wonder that counterfeit coffee is becoming a problem big enough to need faster, easier testing.

So beware, that $10 coffee you just picked up might not be the fancy, single-origin product you think it is.

Top: Coffee beans in a cup, Cristoph/ Pixabay

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    Meh, I prefer international roast for my coffee and it still tastes the same. I'd say that this will mostly effect the expensive brands where it's all about making as much profit as possible. By the way, the best cuppacino that I've ever had was made with international roast.

      which is awesome considering you spelt "Cappuccino" wrong...and if you think coffee tastes the same from different blends of beans/powder you're objectively wrong. Oil, sugar, acid content is different based on variety, growing process and roasting. Mix half international roast and half nescafe and see if its the same still.

      Of course, doesn't mean you can't like international roast. It could be the best coffee you've ever had, doesn't mean it tastes the same. Just means it tastes just as good...

      Man of expensive tastes. P:

        Unfortunately some of my tastes are expensive but with coffee, international roast is the one I like best. Weird huh.

    Auto correct didn't work when I was writing cappuccino as I kept swapping the a for a u. And (I know, never start a sentence with an and ) yes different coffees taste differently and that's why I drink international roast. I don't like bitter. I like my hot coffee to taste like iced coffee. Sweet and not bitter.

    Surely the best tester of coffee is your palate?

    Do you drink coffee for the taste, or do you order a single-source, soy flat white with a dash of whatever because you're a wan... err, poseur?

    Last edited 30/03/16 9:58 pm

    Vietnamese coffee is all that matter's. Everything else seems... well... equal

    Last edited 30/03/16 10:26 pm

    As long as it tastes fine and supplies me with a decent caffeine slap I'm not too fussed.

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