Roasted soybean mixed with flavoring will become “real coffee.” This kind of fake coffee is produced by an enterprise based in Tan Phu district, HCM City.
Correspondents visited the Thong Phat coffee producing enterprise, which is located in Hiep Tan Ward, Tan Phu district, on July 6. This is a 500sq.m warehouse, with an old sheet-metal roof.
At that time, up to 2/3 of the warehouse was covered by hundreds of soybean sacks. The remaining space was for three soybean roasting machines and a small room to store chemicals and flavorings.
Hygiene is the top priority at food processing firms but at this enterprise, it was unhygienic. It was very sunny and very hot outside and it was hotter inside the warehouse because the three soybean roasting kilns were working at full capacity. It is strange that there was no coffee bean in this warehouse, but the coffee fragrance spread everywhere.
“This is a coffee processing enterprise but you cannot find just a single coffee bean here,” a worker smiled and said naturally. But this enterprise used to supply tons of “coffee” to the market each day.
A worker said each roasting machine here could roast 250kg of soybean/batch. Firstly, soybeans are roasted until it is carbonized then put into a large plastic basket. After that, workers poured a mixture of chemicals and flavorings in black into the basket.
Soybeans and chemicals were placed into a kiln to roast again, in order to make chemicals deeply soak into the soybeans. After this step, soybeans are poured into a big tray on the floor. Some workers used shovels to thrash and mix it. They then used fans to dry the beans. After this step, soybeans look exactly like coffee beans, with coffee fragrance.
The scariest stage was mixing unknown chemicals into soybeans by half-naked workers, who did not wear gloves or masks. All tools used here were very old and dirty.
If anyone witnesses how fake coffee is produced here, he/she will never dare to drink unknown coffee.
On July 16, HCM City relevant agencies inspected this enterprise and closed it immediately.
The enterprise’s owner, Le Minh Thong, said that his enterprise had produced fake coffee for two years, at the orders of customers in HCM City and the central region. The enterprise processed around 1.5 tons of fake coffee daily.
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