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Coffee Bourbon Pointu of Reunion Island: The post-harvest process is one of the keys to achieve the best sensorial quality

Aguilar P., Berthiot L., Descroix F.. 2011. In : Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Coffee Science; Bali, Indonesia, October 3-8, 2010. Paris : ASIC, p. 1026-1029. International Conference on Coffee Science. 23, 2010-10-03/2010-10-08, Bali (Indonésie).

Producing coffee in a European country is a challenge according to the cost of labour. Faced to the need to substitute non profitable crops like perfume plants (Geranium rosa), farmers of the Reunion Island, the French island in the Indian Ocean (Figure 1), decided to grow coffee helped by a development project ("Café Bourbon pointu de la Réunion"). This project has been set up to study the feasibility of producing a high value coffee, a "gourmet coffee". The coffee Bourbon pointu, caffeine low, is well known for its fruity taste since the 19th century. It received 39 gold medals at the 1869 Colonial Fair and the gold medal at the 1897 Anvers World Fair. The coffee Bourbon pointu cultivation is abandoned in 1940 because of the production costs that makes this cultivation non profitable. It is now boosted for a high value niche market. Four years of agronomic trials (screening of the lines, development of good cultural methods) and experiments on the post-harvest process give a lot of results. Crossing these results with sensorial evaluations led to produce a high value coffee. Studies about the behaviour of the coffee trees in various environmental conditions permitted to define the favourable "terroir" to produce a high value coffee. This paper focuses on the post-harvest processes and the method used to define the process giving the best sensorial results.

Mots-clés : coffea; fève de café; réunion; france

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