The influence of shade trees on coffee quality in small holder coffee agroforestry systems in Southern Colombia uri icon

abstract

  • Production of coffee, especially by small holders, is often associated with various forms of shade management. To analyse the effects of shade on physical coffee quality and on sensorial cup quality of Coffea arabica L. cv. Caturra KMC, a study was carried out with 94 plots on 16 farms in two municipalities, Timana and Oporapa, located at elevations from 1272 to 1730 masL in Huila, Colombia. The study was designed with emphasis on shade cover variation within each of the two study areas, while minimizing the variability of environment, agronomic management other than shade, and post-harvest processing. 46 samples of shade coffee and 46 samples of sun coffee were evaluated for physical and sensorial attributes using three professional coffee cuppers (assessors). A principal component analysis including all quality and environmental variables showed that sensory attributes were influenced negatively by shade, and that physical attributes were influenced positively by altitude. A mixed linear model, with coffee cupper and farm as random variables, revealed different shade effects on coffee quality in the two areas. In Oporapa, situated at high altitudes, shade had a negative effect on fragrance, acidity, body, sweetness and preference of the beverage, while no effect was found on the physical quality. In Timana, situated at lower altitudes, shade did not have a significant effect on sensorial attributes, but significantly reduced the number of small beans. At high altitudes with low temperatures and no nutrient or water deficits, shade trees may thus have a partly adverse effect on C. arabica cv. Caturra resulting in reduced sensory quality. The occurrence of berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) was lower at high altitudes and higher under shade. Future studies on shade and coffee quality should focus on the interaction between physical and chemical characteristics of beans. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009