VietNamNet Bridge – Coffee drinkers would be exceedingly astonished if they
know that what they drink is not real coffee, but of the mixture of maize and
other burnt grain powder.
Nguyen Thanh Tung, Deputy General Director of Vinacafe Bien Hoa, has surprised
the public when stating on Tuoi tre that only 10 percent of the coffee products
available on the market are made of real coffee.
Tung said in pre-1990s, coffee was a luxurious and expensive product in Vietnam,
which then prompted coffee roaster to add some cheap materials to optimize
Therefore, adding some other materials into coffee during the roasting process
has been a growing tendency. Roasters have been satisfactory with the new
“technique” of making coffee because the technique allows them to make bigger
money, while they don’t think of making heavier investment in technologies.
Most of the manufacturers, according to Tung, state that their coffee products
are 100 percent made of coffee, but in fact, these are not fine coffee.
“The same thing now can be seen in instant coffee products as well. The red
alarm should be rung in Vietnam, since most of products are made of false
coffee,” Tung has warned.
He went on to say that in recent years, roasters not only put additives, but
also toxic chemicals into coffee. Local newspapers have reported that soya beans
have been used together with unoriginal chemicals to make “original coffee.”
Especially, the chemicals have been discovered as harming people’s health.
As a result, regular coffee drinkers have to keep drinking the low quality
coffee, because they have no other choice. Meanwhile, others have to give up
their habit of drinking coffee everyday.
More seriously, the ill fame about Vietnam’s coffee has badly affected Vietnam’s
coffee industry, making Vietnam’s coffee less valuable in the world market.
However, Tung’s words have raised doubts among people. Though agreeing that the
coffee quality is problematic, people don’t think that only 10 percent of coffee
products are made of real coffee.
Especially, after Tung made such a statement, the report released by Nielsen, a
market survey firm, on July 9, 2012, affirmed that the Vietnamese coffee market
has been seeing positive growth. The report also said that Nestle was leading
the instant coffee market. However, G7 of Trung Nguyen was accounting for 38
percent of the 3-in-1 market, followed by Vinacafe (31 percent) and Nescafe 27
Local people in Buon Me Thuot City — the “metropolis” of Vietnam’s coffee
growing areas, said they don’t believe ad pieces and that they choose coffee
based on their taste.
Nguyen Manh Ly, the owner of a coffee garden in Dak Lak province said pure
coffee powder is brown in color, not black burned like the one sold at cafes,
which is just the mixture of powder and roasted maize.
Tung, the owner of a café on Le Duan Street of Buon Me Thuot City, said there
are a lot of counterfeit coffee products which are priced at just ½ or 1/3 of
the high quality products.
“Be careful about the coffee which has black color. This may contain industrial
dying substance, very harmful to people’s health. The substance can help create
a coffee-flavored water,” Tung said.
Tung declined to name the products, but he said that even big enterprises also
add non-coffee materials into their products, while they don’t declare about the
mixture in the packs of products.