Coffee drinkers beware: there’s a chance your morning cup may contain a filler ingredient such as wheat, barley, corn, or even ground up sticks and twigs.
These extra ingredients make ground coffee go farther and increase profits for producers, according to Brazilian researchers who have developed a test to detect these counterfeit coffees and have used it on.
Apparently it’s quite hard for the average person to see or taste these fillers. “After roasting and grinding the raw material, it becomes impossible to see any difference…because of the dark colour and oily texture of coffee,” says study leader Suzana Lucy Nixdorf from State University of Londrina.
Other fillers found in the testing were soybeans, rice, beans, acai seed, brown sugar or starch syrup.
There’s concern that coffee with fillers can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to the undeclared ingredients.
The researchers say that the addition of fillers is a result of supply shortages faced across the industry, but particularly in Brazil, due to climate change. A recent study predicts that 70 percent of the world’s coffee supply might disappear by 2080.