Coffee - Is yours what you think it is?

Coffee - Is yours what you think it is?

Every day, people around the world consume over 2.25 billion cups of coffee. Statistica reports that in 2022, people consumed over 178 million 60-kg coffee bags.

However, is some of the coffee you're drinking fake?

I've already mentioned that coffee powder (the instant kind) contains only about 5% coffee and the rest nitrogen. Once I learned this, I switched to coffee beans.

But much to my dismay, I have been reading that even the coffee beans we consume may be fake. Let me explain.

Coffee is difficult to make. The best coffee beans are hand-picked for quality. If you mix the quality, which happens when you machine pick the coffee, you are going to get a sub-standard quality of coffee. 

Of course, when you buy coffee beans, you choose Columbian beans or Araku beans. Generally speaking, you don't buy them for a specific quality.

During the harvest, you can mix good and not-so-good beans. So what you get and what you think you are getting can vary.

Before it reaches you, the Guatemalan-harvested coffee travels through a lengthy supply chain. Someone in the middle can easily mix different grades of coffee beans because the origin is virtually impossible to track.

To make matters worse, ground coffee beans can have all sorts of things mixed in them, including dust from wood.

I was shocked to learn that the FDA has set a maximum inclusion level of 0.3% for sawdust or wood pulp in food product formulas with no labelling required. The European Union mandates the labelling of any products containing sawdust or wood pulp.

Therefore, the coffee you think you are drinking and what you are actually drinking can be very different. So what can you do? 

I was not aware. Start with awareness, and then look for brands that care. While some mixed crops in your coffee may not be a big deal, food adulteration is. 

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