In recent years, several studies have been developed to understand the impact of fermentation on the final quality of coffee and have indicated that postharvest processing could be a determinant of quality. However, a trend has appeared as a scientific counterpoint, indicating that the interactions between soil, fruit, altitude, and slope exposures with respect to the Sun are important to understand the behavior of the microbiome in coffee. Studies on the microbiota of coffee have addressed its role during the fermentation process, however the knowledge of indigenous microorganisms harbored in fruits and soil of coffee trees growing in fields are essential, as they can contribute to fermentation. Therefore, the aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of topographic and edaphic factors on the bacterial and fungal communities present in the soil and in the fruits of Coffea arabica trees. Samples of fruits and soil were collected from different growing areas at different altitudes and soil conditions. The microbial DNA was extracted and sequenced. The results showed the contribution of environmental factors in the structure of bacterial and fungal communities. The richness, evenness and diversity of the mycobiome and bacteriome were higher in the soil than in the fruits, independent of altitude. In addition, coffee trees at higher altitudes tended to have more bacteria shared between the soil and fruits. The co-occurrence/co-exclusion network showed that bacteria-bacteria connections were greater in higher altitudes. On another hand, fungi-fungi and fungi-bacteria connections were higher in low altitudes. This was the first study that evaluates in deep the influence of environmental factors in the microbiota habiting fruits and soil coffee trees, which may affect the coffee beverage quality.
Sensory analysis or cup testing has been widely used in the coffee production chain for the validation of final quality. The tasters are responsible for defining the patterns and qualitative profiles of the drink based on the sensorial analysis and according to their gustatory sensibilities, which are often acquired by professional experience. However, the literature has not discussed in detail the relationship between the number of tasters and the consistency of sensorial analysis. Thus, using the bootstrap simulation methodology to estimate the optimum plot size, this study quantifies and proposes a specific number of tasters for the process of sensorial analysis of specialty coffees. The results indicate that the use of 6 tasters is sufficient to conduct sensorial analysis following SCA and BSCA protocol for coffees in the Arabica group, as well as 6 tasters for coil and Conilon coffees. From this number, no gains in precision are observed in the process of sensorial analysis of coffee with addition tasters.
When it comes to the sensory analysis of specialty coffees, it is necessary to discuss the protocol of tests of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the formation of Q‐Graders as reliable parameters in the sensory analysis. However, the training of these Q‐Graders and the use of the SCA protocol has generated discussions in the scientific community and demonstrated the importance of talking about the level of professional precision as well as the use of the protocol. This study sought to understand the relation of accuracy and efficiency of the Q‐Graders and protocol in the sensory analysis of coffees. Three experiments were carried out to evaluate and test the hypotheses regarding the level of precision in relation to the shift, the number of samples and the judgment abilities of Q‐Graders due to the quality of the specialty coffee and nonspecialty coffee. These three experiments were performed by seven Q‐Graders in an isolated environment during three consecutive days with 137 specialty coffee samples and 7 nonspecialty coffee samples as defined by the SCA. The results indicate that the Q‐Graders present high precision when evaluating excellent and outstanding coffees, as defined by the SCA. In addition, the effect of the shift did not exert fatigue on the Q‐Graders. However, evaluation errors were made by the Q‐Graders on very good coffee (77.00–80.00 points), which are considered as nonspecialty by the SCA, thus allowing a more in‐depth discussion on what would be the boundary between a specialty and nonspecialty coffee.
The article deals with the sensory evaluation process of coffees, and it has great importance to teaching and research institutions in Brazil, the largest producer, largest exporter and the country with the highest concentration of coffee scholars in the world. The article focuses on a new approach and a new way of looking at the sensory evaluation process of coffees, using the methodology of the Specialty Coffee Association to analyze the accuracy and efficiency of the Q‐Graders.
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