Scientists introduce new examination method to identify Colombia’s quality coffee

(Photo: Flick Federacion Nacioal de Cafeteros)

Colombia’s coffee industry has introduced a new scientific examination method that has helped to identify the origins of coffee beans and ensure that buyers are receiving quality Colombian coffee, reported local media on Friday.

As a result of the joint effort between different sectors of the coffee industry, an examination method has been implemented that can prove the specific qualities of coffee beans by analyzing their biochemical properties. Through this method, coffee producers can ensure their buyers that they are consuming, “some of the best coffee in the world.”

Colombia’s National Center of Coffee Investigation has implemented a “Close Infrared Spectroscope” scanner for coffee examination, which is capable of tracing the biochemical “footprint” of a coffee bean.

The biochemical “footprint” is made up of seven photos taken by the scanner of a 3.5oz sample of the beans in question.

Using this method, scientists can distinguish different chemical compositions of the samples, which can distinguish between their respective regions of origin.

“This chemical spectrum contains information about the climate, temperature, relative humidity and sunshine under which the coffee was grown,” explained one of the scientists, Uber Posada, to Colombian news agency EFE.

The results of this analysis have been used to certify different coffee beans with specific producing regions like Cauca, Huila and Narina–all in the southeast of the country.

This method was first used in 2006, but simply for generally examining coffee for Colombia’s national market. In 2009 it was used in the course of an experiment to find a best kind of coffee bean for exportation.

Since last year – when this method was installed in all of the major ports of Colombia like Santa Marta and Cartagena in the Caribbean or Buenaventura on the Pacific coast – all coffee that is being exported has to pass through this new focused examination method.

The method has already proved to be a useful tool to ensure the quality standards of Colombian coffee, which is fundamental to keep exports high.

Coffee exports during the ‘coffee year’ (October 2012 – September 2013) have shown promising results, surpassing 8.8 million 60 kg bags, a 21% increase when compared to the year before.

MORE: Colombia’s coffee production up 30% on year: Growers

While Colombia is still one of the oldest traditional coffee producing countries in the world, other countries have taken the lead in the global coffee market in the last decade.  Colombia is now in 4th place after Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia.


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