Taiwan's Barista Coffee admits fraud

Taiwan coffee chain accused of replacing Arabica beans with low-quality substitutes

Barista Coffee admits false advertisement of its products. (Facebook photo)

Barista Coffee admits false advertisement of its products. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Shilin District Prosecutors Office announced on Tuesday (Nov. 26) that Barista Coffee has been mixing cheap Robusta beans with high-quality Arabica beans in 13 of its products before selling them to customers.

In October, prosecutors received reports about the chain store illegally selling cheap substitutes as expensive Arabica coffee. During the investigation, the Department of Public Health found that 5,000 kilograms of Robusta beans had gone missing from the store factory and suspected that the beans had already been mixed with other coffee products, reported UDN.

According to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office, Barista Coffee has been replacing some of its Arabica beans with Robusta beans since 2018 as a means of lowering business costs. The store's Arabica products are advertised as being 100 percent natural and have been distributed to different branches as well as to retailers like Carrefour, reported CNA.

The initial estimate of the company's illegal earnings over the last 21 months is NT$10.5 million (US$344,000), with innumerable buyers having fallen prey to the fraud.

The CEO of Barista Coffee, surnamed Liu (劉), was arrested on Monday (Nov. 25) along with a factory manager and an employee. All three were released on bail early Tuesday morning.

In a statement, Liu apologized for the company's misconduct and said he felt remorse about the case. The 13 products involved have been taken off the shelves, and customers who have purchased them can return them for a refund at any Barista Coffee branch.

Thirteen Barista Coffee products were falsely advertised. (Facebook photo)