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Shade effects on sensory and chemical characteristics of coffee from very high altitude plantations in Costa Rica

Avelino J., Barboza B., Davrieux F., Guyot B.. 2007. In : Second International Symposium on Multi-Strata agroforestry systems with perennial crops: Making ecosystem services count for farmers, consumers and the environment, September 17-21, 2007 Turrialba, Costa Rica. Oral and posters presentations. Turrialba : CATIE, 5 p.. International Symposium on Multi-Strata Agroforestry Systems with Perennial Crops: Making Ecosystem Services Count for Farmers, Consumers and the Environment. 2, 2007-09-17/2007-09-21, Turrialba (Costa Rica).

This two year study assessed the effects of altitude, yield and shade on several cup quality attributes and chemical characteristics of coffee from the region of Los Santos, Costa Rica. 18 plots were sampled during the first year, and 9 during the second year (8 samples per plot). The plots were planted with Caturra or Catuai varieties and were located close to the maximum altitude where coffee is cultivated in Costa Rica. Positive altitude effects were observed on coffee beverage body, acidity, chocolate taste, and preference. Chemical data corroborated these sensorial differences. The highest altitude coffee had more caffeine, more fat, less chlorogenic acids and less sucrose. No sensorial differences were observed between coffees produced by low yielding-plants and high-yielding plants. However, coffees from low-yielding plants had a lower amount of chlorogenic acids which is generally linked to bitterness. Sensorial and chemical differences were observed between coffees produced by un-shaded coffee trees and coffees from shaded coffee trees. The former ones were more acid and more appreciated by the tasters than the latter ones. These slight sensorial differences were corroborated by the chemical data. The unshaded coffee trees produced coffee with less caffeine and more fat. These shade effects differ from that of previous studies at lower altitudes or with introgressed Arabica varieties.
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