Coffee quality is vital for quoting prices, marketing and for the acceptance of the final product by the consumer market. Many factors can interfere with the quality of the coffee beans, especially those related to the stages of post-harvest, such as processing and drying. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of dry (natural) and wet (washed) processing, dried in an earthen yard and in a cement yard, respectively, on the physico-chemical composition and quality of coffee beans produced in the southwest region of Bahia, in the 2007/2008 harvest season. The present study evaluated the parameters of pH, electrical conductivity, potassium leaching, total sugars, non-reducing sugars, reducing sugars, caffeine, total titratable acidity, soluble solids, sensory analysis and the pH of the infusion of roasted and ground coffee beans which resulted from natural and washed processing in the municipalities of Barra do Choça and Encruzilhada, in the southwest region of Bahia. It is suggested by the results obtained that, for the southwest region of Bahia, washed processing associated to the drying of the beans in a concrete yard provides coffees of a better quality when compared with the naturally processed beans dried in an earthen yard.
Key words: Coffea arabica, physico-chemical composition, post-harvest.
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