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Terra Latinoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2395-8030Print version ISSN 0187-5779


ROSAS ARELLANO, Justino; ESCAMILLA PRADO, Esteban  and  RUIZ ROSADO, Octavio. Relationship of Soil Nutrients to Physical and Sensorial Characteristics of Organic Coffee. Terra Latinoam [online]. 2008, vol.26, n.4, pp.375-384. ISSN 2395-8030.

The organic coffee plantations are important for Mexico because of the extension of cultivated area, the employment it creates, the environmental services it provides and the higher market prices. In order to enter and maintain these market niches it is necessary to keep product quality constant. Within this context it is important to identify the different factors that affect the quality of the coffee. This study is part of an integral research project that deals with the influence of agroecological factors on quality of organic coffee. This exploratory study aimed to characterize soil physical and chemical properties related to effects on the physical quality of the grain and sensorial quality of the infusion. The study was conducted in six organic coffee producing regions in Mexico in the main producer states of Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guerrero with the collaboration of eight certified organic coffee organizations. Results confirm that coffee plantations are located on steep terrain; in Chiapas hilly sites with steep slopes predominate. Soil texture is loam, sandy loam and loamy sand. Nine soil units were identified, in which Lithosols and Rendzins were outstanding. Chemical analyses showed high levels of total nitrogen, organic matter (OM), iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P) contents; medium concentrations of calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), and manganese (Mn); whereas potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and zinc (Zn) were found at low amounts. Zinc affected physical and sensorial quality, while Mn influences grain shape (flat convex, similar to half of an ellipsoid) type coffee; Ca, Mg, and Fe has an influence on fragrance; P on aroma; OM and total N on the nose attribute; boron (B) on aftertaste; and Cu influences acidity of the coffee infusion.

Keywords : Coffea arabica; sensorial analysis; quality; organic soil.

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