Your busy day begins with a sip. Stirring coffee with a spoon, you immerse in the aroma that wakes you up. All trivialities are gone when you are enjoying your dose of caffeine, as what dissolves in the cup is not only coffee powder, but also your temper and stress. That's why we are all fans of the drink.
Test-it™ selected 30 instant coffee products in the market and worked with professional laboratory to run safety test using the world leading biological testing technology Testing 2.0. The test rated 13 products as Green Fish (Excellent), 7 as Yellow Fish (Basic) and 10 as Red Fish (Sub-Optimal).
Among them, instant coffee products of Southeast Asian brands or those produced in the region have noticeable worse quality. For most of the instant coffee products, coffee content only comprises 5%-9%, and the rest is made up of various additives.
According to World Health Organization and United Nations, choosing the wrong product could cause cancers, infertility, precocious puberty, obesity and neurological disorders. Test-it™ provide clear, direct test reports with lifestyle tips. Equipped with scientific and objective information, consumers can make safer purchasing choices.
Stay tuned for more interesting facts.
We tested samples of which the raw materials are from East Asia (China, Japan and Korea), Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand), South America (Ecuador and Colombia) and Europe (the United Kingdom and Germany).
Result shows that:
43% of the samples from East Asia are rated Green Fish, 7% Yellow Fish and 50% Red Fish;
only 30% of the samples from Southeast Asia are rated Green Fish, while Yellow Fish and Red Fish account for 40% and 30% respectively. In other words, the region underperforms as compared to East Asia;
Green Fish and Yellow Fish both take up 50% for South American samples;
All European samples are rated Green Fish. What an achievement!
[Coffeepedia] The most ideal environment for planting coffee beans: the best location is between 25°N to 30°S; the optimal temperature is between 15 and 25 degrees and the suitable precipitation is approximately 1000-1800mm; sunlight is essential for growing, but shading is also necessary so that blossoming and bearing of fruit is not hindered by strong light. Coffee beans grow well on soil with good drainage and fertility that contains pozzolana. Location with clam winds at an altitude of 800-1200m is also good for growing coffee.
In terms of place of production, the environment in East Asia and Southeast Asia is better for growing coffee as a whole. However, the Green Fish rate of these regions is lower than that of Europe, where it is less suitable to grow coffee beans.
When comparing with the test results of coffee chains, it is found that instant coffee has a higher average toxicity. In other words, chain stores are a healthier choice to get coffee.
Most samples contain 9% or less coffee while only a few contains 100%. What's more is that food additives such as creamer, emulsifier and stabilizer are used extensively in instant coffee products.
[Review] Yoshihiro MIYAKE, Suminori KONO and other Japanese pharmacists conducted a six-year study on the impact of instant coffee and filter-drip coffee on cholesterol level of Japanese people, where 4,587 people were selected as test subjects. It is found that, while the traditional filter-drip coffee has no impact on cholesterol level, instant coffee significantly increases cholesterol level and low-density lipoprotein. This may be due to the large amount of sugar and creamer added to instant coffee or 3-in-1 coffee products.
A drink with little coffee and a lot of additives has already ruined the rich flavor of coffee. Perhaps the instant coffee in hand is just a cup of instant hot drink.
Test results of instant coffee samples show that only 29% of cappuccino samples are rated Green Fish, while Yellow Fish and Red Fish take up 14% and 57% respectively.
[Coffeepedia]Cappuccino is an Italian coffee made by mixing equal amount of espresso and steamed milk foam. The traditional cappuccino comprises 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 milk foam, with cinnamon powder atop.
Instant cappuccino products use significantly more additives than other coffee products, which results in less satisfactory quality.
The average price of the 30 samples collected is 4HKD/packet.
Among the samples, the most expensive one costs 11.4 HKD/packet, which is 11 times of the cheapest one, which is 1 HKD/packet.
Conventional chemical test 1.0 and the basic regulations only reflects the basic requirement for a product’s market entry. The mission of Test-it™ is to further improve product safety with world leading technology Testing 2.0. Though horizontal analysis in similar products, Test-it™ provides consumers with information and data for better consumer choices. Products are categorised as Green Fish, Yellow Fish and Red Fish according to test results.
Test-it™ has developed a high standard as a third party consumer goods evaluation platform. Developed by an experienced research and development team and an advisory board of toxicology experts from 12 countries, Test-it™ references from the global standard of China, EU, the U.S., Japan, WHO and OECD. With the application of fish embryo toxicity (FET) test technology (Testing 2.0), The standard of Test-it™ could be higher than the existing regulations.
Market research and product
Test-it selected 30 best selling Instant Coffee brands by analysing sales and attention span from the Test-it fans group. The research is conducted in both e-commerce platform and physical store.
Purchasing Method and Channel
All tested samples were purchased by Test-it as a common customer. Samples were purchased from the brands’ official beauty counters and their globally recognised sales channels ( official flagship stores ) on major E-commerce platforms ( JD, Tmall, Koala, Amazon) . All sample were purchased anonymously.In order to maintain neutrality and objectiveness, Test-it reports will not accept products submitted by manufactures.
1、 Transgenic medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants
2、Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants
Vitargent adopts an exclusive ingredients screening system comparing restricted and high risk ingredients regulated by the CODEX Alimentarius of the WHO&FAO, USFDA, EU, Food and Drug Administration of Japan and China to further enhance product safety.
Ingredient Screening: Products must not contain any chemicals that are associated with health complications, eco-toxicity, or contamination by scientific safety evaluations, or are banned by the following governmental agencies and authoritative bodies.
US: USFDA’s ‘Summary of colour additives for use in the United States in foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices’, ‘Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients’, and 'Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS)'.
EU: European Commission Nos. 1333/2008, 1223/2009, 1129/2011, and 1130/2011, and Candidate List of substances of very high concern for Authorisation (SVHC) by European Chemicals Agency (2017).
China: China FDA’s ‘Safety and Technical Standard for Cosmetics’ (2015), and 'National food safety standards: food additive standard (GB2760-2014).
Japan: Japan’s ‘Standards for Cosmetics’ (2000), and 'Standard for use of food additives (2017)
WHO&FAO: CODEX Alimentarius
Results Analyzing Method
|Category||Medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants||Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants||Ingredients check|
|Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)||No LC50 (50% fish death) detected at highest concentration||No banned or high concernedingredients|
||Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)||LC50 detected within highest centration to Vitargent category-based reference line||No banned but contain high concerned ingredients|
||Fail (reading exceed ADI or over 50% fish death at Vitargent category-based reference line )||LC50 detected below Vitargent category-based reference line||Contain banned ingredients|
|Hong Kong Technological Achievement Award(2014)||Davos Global Innovation Pioneer (2015)||Geneva International Inventions 43rd Grand Prix Winner (2015)||World Intellectual Property Organization Gold Medal (2016)||APEC & GIC Future Maker (2016)||Unreasonable Impact (2017)|