Here’s how the promoters of Moyojava describe their “Natural Slimming Beverage”…
“A rare coffee from the remote mountains of Ethiopia just may be Mother Nature’s natural weight-loss remedy – helping men and women burn up to 35 percent more bodyfat.
This mysterious African coffee is called MoyoJava in the native language of Swahili. Translated, it means “healing coffee” – and according to new study results, it does indeed seem to have curiously strong healing and weight-loss properties.
…The secret to MoyoJava’s mysterious slimming properties is found in the coffee beans used to make this delicious brew. The MoyoJava coffee bean is found only in the secluded mineral-rich red mountains of Ethiopia. The rich, red soils in which this rare bean is grown is the same soils which give the Red Sea its mysterious “ruddy complexion.”
Sounds major. Unfortunately, there are several discomfiting facts that call this charming tale into question…
1. Thanks to coffee commercials, it’s not surprising that many Westerners associate Central/South America with coffee. Thus, “coffee from the remote mountains of Ethiopia” certainly sounds like it ought to be rare and exotic. But Ethiopia is the 6th largest coffee producer in the world, so there’s nothing unusual or “mysterious” about it.
2. Swahili is not the native language of Ethiopia. The official language is Amharic. Other major languages include Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromifa, English and Somali. And “Moyojava” does not mean “healing coffee” in Swahili. the Swahili word for coffee is “Kahawa.”
3. The Red Sea does not have a “ruddy complexion.” And the reddish clay soils of Ethiopia are “the major agricultural soils” in the country and are “intensively cultivated for coffee.” There’s nothing unusual about the soil that wouldn’t affect virtually all the coffee grown in the country.
So few sentences, so much wrong… and about easily checked facts, no less. It’s obvious that the makers of Moyojava know very little about Ethiopia, beyond the name.
They don’t seem to know much about coffee, either. Personally, I find it passing strange that the makers of Moyojava can tell us so little about it. Is it grown in Harar, Sidamo, Limmu, Bebeka, etc.? Is it forest grown, garden-grown or plantation? Is it dry-processed or washed? Is it shade-grown? Fair trade? Grade 1, 2, 3… ??? True coffee buffs know a great deal about the sources and characteristics of their favorite beans, so it’s surprising to see such reticence in an ad for such an amazing and “rare” brew.
Unless, of course, the brew isn’t so amazing. In that case, silence is golden.
Consideration of the cited study makes this a foregone conclusion. It’s a Japanese study conducted on mice using chlorogenic acid extracted from green (unroasted) Coffea canephora (Robusta) beans. Although the Robusta variety originated in Africa, the current largest producer/exporter is Vietnam – a more likely source of Robusta beans for a routine Japanese animal study than “rare,” “hand-sorted” mystery beans grown in the “secluded” mountains of Ethiopia. Indeed, if there had been anything special or unique about the source of the beans in this study, the researchers would surely have mentioned it.
So what does this study prove about Moyojava?
Exactly squat. Moyojava is not identified as Robusta; and even worse, the site states that the beans are “carefully roasted in small batches and at a special temperature.”
What’s wrong with that?
Unfortunately, the chlorogenic acid in coffee beans declines with time and temperature. Thus, it doesn’t matter how “carefully” the beans in Moyojava are roasted – if they’re roasted at all, then the chlorogenic acid content will take a hit.
Of course, this doesn’t automatically make Moyojava a poor source of chlorogenic acid in an absolute sense… it is coffee, after all. And according to one study (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 79, 362-372, 1999) and the Coffee Science Information Center…
“… a 200 ml cup of arabica coffee contains between 70 and 200 mg chlorogenic acid whereas a cup of robusta coffee contains between 70 and 350 mg.”
So we can safely assume that Moyojava is a source of chlorogenic acid. But does it contain more chlorogenic acid than an average cup of coffee? Less? The same?
And that’s the problem: there’s no info. Nada; zip; zilch. There isn’t a shred of actual data on the site to convince me that Moyojava is superior to my usual morning brew. Simply saying it…
“Regular coffee like the kind you buy at the supermarket or at Starbuck’s contains negligible amounts of chlorogenic acid because the coffee beans they use are relatively void of nutrients, and any nutrients they do contain are burned away during roasting.”
… doesn’t make it so. This lack of hard info on the product itself is a real “red flag.”
Another red flag is the lack of info about the company. Take a look at their “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages—pages that usually tell the reader something “about them”; there’s virtually nothing revealed about who runs this company. And when you don’t know who you are purchasing from, you can’t lodge a complaint or boycott any further products, right? (I’ve recently written a blog post about why you should be concerned about purchasing only from reputable brands).
So what’s the bottom line on MoyoJava?
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, chlorogenic acid, caffeine, and other compounds. The health benefits are pretty well-documented. And quality coffee is readily available. Frankly, I see no reason to experiment with MojoJava – especially at $47 US per bag!
Additionally, the “miraculous” weight loss benefits of chlorogenic acid aren’t particularly well-established. Despite the hype generated by Dr. Oz, the numbers just aren’t very impressive. As it stands, there are simply less expensive ways to obtain both the chlorogenic acid and caffeine that this product claims to offer.
Is the African Slimming coffee really a miraculous weight loss cure?
All the evidence indicates… no.