The reagent is prepared by dissolving 70 g copper acetate monohydrate and 9 mL glacial acetic acid in water to a final volume of one liter. The reagent is stable for years.
When 1 mL of reagent is heated with 5 drops of sample in a boiling water bath, a positive test for monosaccharides is formation of a brick-red precipitate within five minutes. Disaccharides generally don't give any reaction even for ten minutes. The precipitate isn't nearly as voluminous as that seen with Benedict's test and tends to adhere to the walls of the test tube.