Are Ricoffy, Frisco and Koffiehuis really coffee?

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How many times have you gone to a conference, camp or friend’s house, been offered coffee and served Ricoffy? Whether Ricoffy, KoffieHuis and Frisco are truly coffee has long been a debating point around fireplaces in SA, and it seems the truth is about to come out.

The first draft of regulations relating to coffee, chicory and related products intended for sale in the Republic of South Africa has been released in Government Gazette 42669, and it contains information that’s going to shock and horrify many.

The regulations are comprehensive and standards are set down for various products including roasted coffee beans, coffee (ground or powder), instant coffee, decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated instant coffee, coffee essence, chicory and pre-mix coffee in powder form. As well as teas, containers and related products.

In total the regulations list 11 different categories of “coffee, chicory and related products” that are defined based on the percentage of pure ground coffee to pure chicory that each contains. The categories include “mixed coffee” or “coffee mixture”, which must be at least 75% coffee and “coffee and chicory mixture” which can contain as much as 50% chicory.

The regulations are also set to clear up what qualifies as an “instant coffee”, with the rules being set as a beverage having a caffeine content of at least 2.25%, which is nearly four times greater than coffee and chicory mix minimum, while also containing no “flavouring or colouring”. Instant coffee must also be able to dissolve in water with “moderate stirring” in under 30 seconds. Instant coffee can also have sugar, or glycerol added but may contain no other substances.

As it turns out Koffiehuise, whose name literally translates into Coffee House, is not an instant coffee as it contains added glucose. While Frisco and Ricoffy don’t even get to qualify as “coffee mixtures” as both contain only 25% coffee.

Those who feel strongly enough about these new categories and who want to have their say are urged to contact the “agriculture, land reform and rural development department” for comment on the proposed regulations.