Products tested

Cacao & Coffee

Cacao & Coffee Cacao & Coffee Cacao & Coffee

Why test it?

Coffee and Cacao are high value products. Although there is significantly larger global industry about coffee and more awareness on the value of different bean types, both share the property that they are seeds of certain plant (coffee fruit and cacao fruit respectively) and they undergo a determined process before they enter the market and/or arrive at the consumer. Each of the process steps of growing, harvesting, and processing coffee and cacao adds value to the final product and may be crucial for the quality. For coffee, brand association is very strong. As the cultivation regions of coffee and cacao are typically in region off the industrial countries fair trade and ecology topics are strongly connected to the processed products such as chocolate and various famous coffee brands in this sector. 

For addressing the above mentioned issues, getting trustable information about the origin of coffee or cacao beans can be very interesting, as it allows conclusions to be drawn about the type of farming, adulteration risks, etc.

Some regions in the world may be connected with negative properties such as poor labor conditions, mix-up allegations, different legal strategy concerning organic farming or climate preservation (deforestation). Especially in developing countries child labor and slavery are still very present issues as well as smuggling. Thus, safeguarding provenance and keeping the value add of the sustainability and responsible sourcing standards of the supply chain is of profound importance.

By determining and interpreting the stable isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, hydrogen and oxygen of the beans or the milled product, the so-called isotope fingerprint (consisting of all five ratios) is established which is characteristic for the sample and can be compared to reference data from reference samples from different regions or to a database. To achieve high geographical resolution and credible results, we use our databases, as well as our expertise and know-how to provide advanced customized origin testing by including more parameters.

In some cases it can be of interest if a sample comes from a certain batch. Unknown factors of differentiation, for example different qualities of lots and sublots can be addressed by untargeted fingerprinting of the products with one or more analytical methods of our portfolio, in order to identify differences and provide useful information for further investigation of such inconsistencies.

Isotope analysis plays a decisive role when it comes to traceability of batches in the areas of production, import and export. With retained samples, the identity of products can be verified independently of documents – a control sample is directly compared with an original reference sample, providing strong evidence of authenticity.

Another risk of adulteration of coffee (beans or ground coffee) is the purity of Arabica coffee beans. Since Robusta coffee has a lower market value vs. Arabica, substitution of the latter with Robusta coffee offers profits for the fraudsters. By applying molecular testing, the detection as well as semi-quantification of Arabica and Robusta coffee is possible in a single run.

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