Coffee without caffeine: chemicals dilute Vietnam's top beverage

By Bui Kim   July 18, 2016 | 12:14 am PT
Time to walk up and smell the coffee.

Citizens of the world’s second largest coffee exporter are drinking "coffee" made from chemicals rather than coffee beans, a consumer advocacy group has found.

The Vietnam Standard and Consumers Association (Vinatas) recently published the findings of a survey on the quality of coffee sold in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Soc Trang.

According to the survet, 30.4 percent of the samples had low caffeine content (under one milligram per liter) and some had no traces of caffeine at all.

The 253 samples were randomly purchased from coffee shops, hospital cafeterias, schools canteens and street vendors.

The results showed that inferior coffee is mostly sold at school canteens, hospitals and small shops.

Vinatas said that the survey was conducted to assess the quality of coffee in Vietnam. It will need more in-depth studies on a larger scale to gain an overview of the entire market.

A report by the U.S. Agriculture Department said that Vietnam consumed some 135,000 tons of coffee from the 2015-2016 harvest, which equates to around 16.8 billion cups of coffee. However, to date, there has been no basis to evaluate how much fake coffee accounts for out of this substantial figure or the chemicals used to make it.

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