Flávio M. Borém, Luisa P. Figueiredo, Fabiana C. Ribeiro, Gerson S. Giomo.
The Bourbon cultivar is internationally recognized for its genetic potential for producing high quality coffees. It is used in the production of specialty coffees around the world because of its unique sensory characteristics, including a high level of natural sweetness, chocolate-like taste, intense aroma and agreeable acid levels.
Bourbon coffee cultivars that are grown in regions with climatic suitability have a high potential for producing quality coffee. Considering the great variety of Bourbon selections and the environmental diversity in Brazil, the optimal combination of genotype and environment that consistently yields the maximum expression of quality has yet to be determined.
Studies were conducted by the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) in Brazil to identify the most promising genotype or genotype group for the production of specialty coffees. The research focused on three different growing environments and the potential of chemical compounds as descriptors or discriminators for the interaction between genotype and environment. Fourteen Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica L.) genotypes were evaluated over the course of three annual harvests, including 11 Bourbon genotypes and three commercial non-Bourbon cultivars widely planted throughout Brazil. The environments represented distinct edaphoclimatic conditions in traditional Brazilian coffee-producing regions. Trigonelline, caffeine and chlorogenic acids (5-CQA) from coffee bean samples were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and sensory analyses were performed by cupping judges certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
It was possible to identify a specific group of promising Bourbon genotypes for the production of specialty coffees for each environment studied, although it was not possible to identify a unique genotype recommended for the production of specialty coffees for all three environments studied. It was not possible to show any discrimination of the genotype and environment interaction using the studied chemical compounds, whether they were analyzed together or individually. However, the content of trigonelline allowed the discrimination between the three environments studied.