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LWT 38 (2005) 709–715


Composition of green and roasted coffees of different cup qualities

Adriana S. Franca, Juliana C.F. Mendonc- a, Sami D. Oliveira
Núcleo de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Café, DEQ/UFMG, Chemical Engineering, R. Espı´rito Santo, 35-6 andar, 30160-030,
Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Received 18 June 2004; accepted 27 August 2004


One of the most important criteria used for assessing coffee quality is based on sensory analysis and is referred to as cup quality.
The presence of defective coffee beans is quite relevant to coffee quality. However, the majority of data on coffee properties are
restricted to supposedly good quality beans. Therefore, the present study is aimed at an evaluation of physical and chemical
attributes of coffees of different qualities, both green and roasted. Arabica coffee samples, previously classified by cup as soft (higher
quality), hard, rioysh and rio (lower quality), were roasted at 200 1C for 1 h. Regarding attributes of green coffee beans, both bean
density and volume were higher for the soft sample compared to the rio one. The soft sample also presented higher protein levels,
due to its higher caffeine contents. The rio sample presented lower lipid contents, probably associated to the presence of defective
beans. Acidity increased and pH levels decreased as cup quality decreased, probably due to the effect of defective beans that
undergone fermentation (sour beans). After roasting, the rio sample presented higher density and trigonelline levels, indicating that
it did not roast to the same degree as the other samples.
r 2004 Swiss Society of Food Science and Technology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Coffee; Cup quality; Proximal composition; Caffeine; Trigonelline

1. Introduction point cooling is required in order to avoid burning the

coffee (Sivetz & Desrosier, 1979; Rodrigues, Borges,
The characteristic flavor and aroma of coffee result Franca, Oliveira, & Correa, 2003).
from a combination of hundreds of chemical com- Roasting is a complex process from a chemistry point
pounds produced by the reactions that occur during of view, since hundreds of chemical reactions take place
roasting. This process can be divided into three simultaneously. Some examples include Maillard and
consecutive stages: (i) drying, (ii) roasting or pyrolysis Strecker reactions, degradation of proteins, polysac-
and (iii) cooling. The first stage is characterized by a charides, trigonelline and chlorogenic acids (De Maria,
slow release of water and volatile substances, during the Trugo, Aquino Neto, Moreira, & Alviano, 1996). Sugars
first half of processing. Bean color changes from green and trigonelline will act as aroma precursors, originating
to yellow. Pyrolysis reactions take place during the several substances (furans, pyrazines, pirroles, pyridines,
second stage, resulting in considerable changes in both etc.) that will affect both the flavor and aroma of the
physical and chemical properties of the beans. Large beverage. Thermal degradation of chlorogenic acids will
quantities of CO2, water and volatile substances are result on phenolic substances that will contribute to
released and the beans turn brown, due to sugar bitterness (Clifford, 1985). Even though caffeine does
caramelization coupled to Maillard reactions. At this not take part in any reaction, it should also contribute to
bitterness, besides its known pharmacological effects
Corresponding author. Tel.: +55 31 32381777; (Macrae, 1985). Thus, evaluation of trigonelline, chloro-
fax: +55 31 32381789. genic acids and caffeine, in both green and roasted
E-mail address: franca@deq.ufmg.br (A.S. Franca). coffee, could be of relevance in establishing coffee

0023-6438/$30.00 r 2004 Swiss Society of Food Science and Technology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
710 A.S. Franca et al. / LWT 38 (2005) 709–715

quality. Furthermore, a few studies have proposed the Table 2

Summary description of the type classification system
use of these substances for determination of the degree
of roast (Stennert & Maier, 1996), as genotype selection Type no Maximum allowable number
criteria (Guerrero & Suárez, 2001) and for species of defects per 300 g sample
differentiation (Martı́n, Pablos, & González, 1998; Ky
NY 2 6
et al., 2001).
NY 3 13
The quality of coffee is commonly evaluated accord- NY 4 30
ing to criteria such as bean size, color, shape, processing NY 5 60
method, crop year, flavor and presence of defects NY 6 120
(Banks, McFadden, & Atkinson, 1999). Among those, NY 7 240
NY 8 450
flavor (cup quality) and presence of defects (type
classification) are the most important criteria employed
worldwide in coffee trading. In Brazil, coffees are market. The majority of the roasting industry in Brazil
officially categorized by reference to a flavor scale as has been using these defective beans in blends with
presented in Table 1 (Banks et al., 1999). This healthy ones, and, overall, a low grade roasted and
classification, or cup quality, is assessed using the ground coffee is consumed in the country.
brewing method of steeping (Lingle, 1993). The chemistry of flavor development during roasting
The term defect is employed in commercial practice in of coffee is highly complex and still not well understood.
reference to the presence of defective (black, sour or More than 800 volatile compounds have been identified
brown, immature, insect-damaged or bored, broken, in coffee. However, the question of which ones and their
etc.) beans and also of extraneous matter (husks, twigs, corresponding precursors are the most relevant con-
stones, etc.) in a given coffee sample (Franca, Oliveira, tributors to coffee flavor and aroma has not yet been
Mendonc- a, & Silva, 2004). The presence of defects is answered. Thus, in view of the large variety of coffees
quite relevant in establishing coffee quality, for they are available, of variations in processing and storage
associated to problems during harvesting and pre- conditions, and also of the fact that the literature data
processing operations. This is accounted for as type on both physical and chemical attributes of coffee are
classification (Table 2), according to which coffee is mostly in reference to good quality beans, an investiga-
categorized depending on the number of defects present tion of the chemical composition of coffee samples of
in a 300 g sample. Each type of defect is counted as an different qualities is relevant. In view of the above, the
equivalent to one black bean. For example, two sour objective of the present study was to evaluate physical
beans or five insect-damaged beans correspond to one and chemical attributes of coffees of different qualities.
black bean, which is equivalent to one defect.
Defective coffee beans are usually not commercialized
in international markets, for they affect the quality of 2. Methodology
the beverage when roasted with nondefective beans.
Currently, these defective beans comprise a figure of Arabica green coffee samples previously classified by
about 20% of the total coffee production in Brazil, and cup and type were used in the roasting tests (Table 3).
they are separated from the nondefective beans prior to The coffee samples were provided by Sindicato da
commercialization. Since they also represent an invest- Indústria de Café do Estado de Minas Gerais (Minas
ment in growing, harvesting and handling in the coffee Gerais, Brazil). Eight samples of 100 randomly selected
production chain, coffee producers have adopted the beans were separated from every lot. Half of the samples
practice of dumping them in the Brazilian internal were roasted in a convective oven at 200 1C for 1 h. All
samples (and respective replicates) were roasted simul-
Table 1 taneously in a single batch in order to assure that the
Summary description of the coffee cup classification system roasting conditions were the same for all of them. Also,
two samples of approximately 300 g were separated
Flavor characteristics from each lot and the defective (sour, immature, bored)
and nondefective beans were manually separated and
Strictly soft Low acidity, mellow sweetness, pleasant row of the weighted, in order to determine the mass composition of
mouth easiness
defective and nondefective beans.
Soft Same characteristics as strictly soft, only less
accentuated The average volumes of the beans were calculated
Softish Same characteristics as soft, only less accentuated from measurements of major, minor and intermediate
Hard Lacks sweetness and softness diameters of individual beans. It was assumed that each
Rioysh Iodine, medicine like inky flavor from microbe-tainted bean could be taken as half a triaxial ellipsoid. Average
bean density was evaluated as the ratio between the
Rio Same characteristics as rioysh, only more accentuated
weight of the 100 beans sample and the sum of the
A.S. Franca et al. / LWT 38 (2005) 709–715 711

Table 3 Fig. 1. The high-quality samples (soft and hard)

Classification of coffee samples used in this study
presented the smallest amounts of defective beans, less
Sample Type Cup than 5%. The percentage of defective beans in the low-
quality samples (rioysh and rio) varied from approxi-
1 NY 3/4 Soft mately 30–40%. The lowest quality sample (rio)
2 NY 3/4 Hard
presented less defective beans than the rioysh one.
3 NY 7/8 Rioysh
4 NY 7/8 Rio However, approximately 75% of the defective beans in
the rioysh sample corresponded to insect-damaged
beans. The amount of sour beans was much higher for
volumes. Bulk density was evaluated as the ratio the rio sample, which could explain its lower cup
between the weight and the volume of the 100 beans quality.
sample in a 50 ml graduated recipient (Dutra, Oliveira, Results for physical attributes are shown in Table 4.
Franca, Ferraz, & Afonso, 2001). Bean density values were in the ranges reported in the
The nitrogen (method 920.87) and fat (method literature: 1200–1300 kg/m3 (Sivetz & Desrosier, 1979;
920.97) contents of the coffee samples were determined Clarke, 1987; Dutra et al., 2001; Franca et al., 2004) and
according to official AOAC procedures (AOAC, 1995). 450–800 kg/m3 (Sivetz & Desrosier, 1979; Rodrigues et
Nitrogen content (N2) was determined with a Kjeldahl al., 2003) for green and roasted beans, respectively.
Digestion System (Tecnal, Brazil), using cupric sulfate Regarding green beans, both bean density and volume
and potassium sulfate as catalysts (method 979.09). were higher for the soft (high-quality) sample and lower
Protein content was calculated as nitrogen  6.25. Fat for the rio (low-quality) sample. No differences were
content was obtained from a 6 h hexane extraction at detected in bulk density prior to roasting. The lower
60 1C. Ash content was calculated from the weight of the values observed for bean volume in the rio sample could
sample after burning at 580 1C for 17 h (Clarke & be associated to the presence of sour beans. Previous
Walker, 1975). Moisture content was measured based on studies (Franca et al., 2004) have shown that such
sample weight-loss after oven-drying at 105 1C for 16 h defective beans are smaller than nondefective ones. As
(ISO, 1983). Carbohydrate content was estimated by expected, there was a significant decrease in both bean
difference: 100 g—total grams of water, protein, lipids and bulk densities after roasting. The lowest quality
and ash. pH was measured with a pH meter (Micronal, sample (rio) presented the highest values of density after
Brazil) with glass electrode at 25 1C. Titratable acidity roasting and the lowest increase in volume. Even though
was evaluated by titration with NaOH, according to all samples were submitted to the same roasting
AOAC (1995). (method 920.92). conditions, these results could be an indication that
Caffeine, trigonelline and 5-caffeoyilquinic acid con- the rio sample did not roast to the same degree as the
centrations were also measured, since previous studies others. Previous studies have shown that beans that
have indicated that those substances could vary with swell less should roast more slowly (Clarke, 1987) and
coffee quality (Franca et al., 2004). Ground coffee that defective beans, mainly black and sour, should
samples (1 g) were extracted with distilled boiling roast to a lesser degree than healthy beans, under the
water (100 ml) and the extracts were analysed by HPLC. same roasting conditions (Franca et al., 2004).
A Shimadzu Chromatograph (model LC-10VP) with The proximate composition of green and roasted
a photo-diode array detection (PDA) system and a coffee beans is shown in Table 5. Since total carbohy-
Supelco C18 column (5 mm, 150 mm  4.6 mm), with a drate was determined by difference, carbohydrate values
C18 pre-column were employed. The mobile phase presented in Table 5 will not be discussed in the present
consisted of methanol, water and acetic acid (15:85:1) study. Green coffee samples presented an average of
at a flow rate of 1 ml/min. A caffeine, trigonelline and 9 g/100 g moisture content, with the highest value for the
5-caffeoyilquinic acid (5-CQA) standard solution was rioysh sample and the lowest value for the rio sample,
employed for the identification of their respective peaks for the same relative humidity (75%). Moisture levels
and subsequent quantitation. are within the range reported in the literature: 8.5–13 g/
Cup classification was employed for sample identifi- 100 g (Clarke, 1985). After roasting, moisture levels
cation throughout this paper. The obtained data were decreased to an average of 1.5 g/100 g, with no
submitted to analysis of variance and the means were differences among the samples. Protein levels for green
compared by the Duncan test at 5% probability. coffee were also in the range reported in the literature:
11–16.5 g/100 g (Macrae, 1985). It is noteworthy to
mention that this range is based on the determination of
3. Results and discussion crude nitrogen and multiplication by the factor 6.25.
After corrections for caffeine-nitrogen and trigonelline-
Average results for the distribution of defective and nitrogen, protein values should be in the range of 9–13 g/
nondefective beans in the coffee samples are shown in 100 g. The highest quality sample (soft) presented higher
712 A.S. Franca et al. / LWT 38 (2005) 709–715

Bored Sour 1.1%

Sour 0.7% 1.8% Immature Bored
1.6% 1.3%

1.0% Others

96.5% Non-defective

(a) (b)

Immature 4.2%
Immature Sour 4.7% Sour 8.8%

Non-defective Bored Non-defective 10.7%
60.0% 30.6% 73.7%

Others 2.6%
(c) (d)

Fig. 1. Distribution of defective beans in the coffee samples: (a) soft; (b) hard; (c) rioysh and (d) rio. Others=broken beans, husks, twigs, stones, etc.

Table 4
Physical attributes of coffee beans

Sample Soft Hard Rioysh Rio

Green beans
Bean density (kg/m3) 1314.870.1a 1275.774.5b 1285.1719.6ab 1241.4712.2c
Bulk density (kg/m3) 641.973.3a 650.873.6a 634.7713.8a 639.478.2a
Volume  109 (m3) 117.270.6a 95.771.6b 111.174.2a 103.072.3b
Roasted beans
Bean density (kg/m3) 634.3715.3b 635.979.6b 631.976.6b 670.179.5a
Bulk density (kg/m3) 333.777.0c 348.372.9b 338.371.7bc 365.272.4a
Volume  109 (m3) 203.975.0a 164.371.1b 196.874.6a 167.5716.1b
Increase in volume (%) 74 72 77 63

Mean values with the same letter in the same line do not differ significantly by the Duncan test at 5% probability.

protein levels in comparison to the others. There are no in protein content. Considering the high temperatures
evidences that suggest that the protein contents in attained during roasting, one should expect a significant
coffees of different qualities or even of different species change in protein levels. However, due to the formation
(arabica vs. robusta) should be noticeably different of volatiles nitrogenous components, protein deter-
(Macrae, 1985). The soft sample presented approxi- mined by Kjeldahl nitrogen changes only slightly. Even
mately 20% more caffeine than the others (Table 6), though differences were small, protein levels after
which could explain its higher protein levels. Crude roasting were the highest in the soft sample and the
protein levels did not vary significantly after roasting. lowest in the rio sample. Again this could be attributed
Only the soft and rio samples presented a slight decrease to the higher levels of caffeine of the soft sample
A.S. Franca et al. / LWT 38 (2005) 709–715 713

Table 5
Proximal composition of coffee beans (g/100 g green coffee d.b.)

Sample Soft Hard Rioysh Rio

Green beans
Water 9.0570.06bc,x 9.2070.03ab,x 9.3870.01a,x 8.9470.09c,x
Protein 16.1170.13a,x 14.4770.28b,x 14.7971.01b,x 14.6170.33b,x
Fat 11.1370.13a,x 10.3170.16b,x 9.6570.51c,x 10.5370.10b,y
Carbohydrate 68.2870.78 70.4270.59 70.9272.03 69.9970.93
Ash 4.5970.57a,x 4.8970.07a,x 4.9070.06a,x 4.8170.47a,x
Roasted beans
Water 1.4970.06a,y 1.3570.04b,y 1.4770.04ab,y 1.5670.04a,y
Protein 14.8770.14a,y 14.2470.27b,x 14.5070.28ab,x 12.7870.04c,y
Fat 10.3670.05c,y 10.9470.18a,x 10.7370.11b,x 10.6970.14bc,x
Carbohydrate 62.1470.10 62.2570.07 62.4170.47 61.4970.88
Ash 4.1570.35a,x 4.4070.06a,x 4.4270.05a,y 3.9070.59a,x

Mean values with the same letter in the same line (a,b) or in the same column (x,y) for a specific substance do not differ significantly by the Duncan
test at 5% probability; d.b.=dry basis.

Table 6
Titrable acidity and pH levels of coffee beans

Sample Soft Hard Rioysh Rio

Green beans
Acidity (ml/100 g) 207.278.6c,x 229.778.2b,x 219.776.6bc,x 263.3712.6a,x
pH 5.570.0a,y 5.470.0b,y 5.570.0a,y 5.370.0c,y
Roasted beans
Acidity (ml/100 g) 101.070.3a,y 108.478.6a,y 108.979.0a,y 114.070.4a,y
pH 6.0470.00c,x 6.4570.01b,x 6.4670.03ab,x 6.5070.01a,x

Average values for three replicates. Mean values with the same letter in the same line (a,b) or in the same column (x,y) for a specific parameter do not
differ significantly by the Duncan test at 5% probability.

compared to the rio one after roasting (Table 7). observed for the rio sample. There is an indication that
According to the literature, the lipid contents of green acidity should increase and pH should decrease as cup
arabica coffee beans is in the range of 9–16 g/100 g quality diminishes. This could be associated to the effect
(Folstar, 1985; Speer & Kölling-Speer, 2001). The values of sour beans on cup quality. According to Mazzafera
obtained in the present study (Table 5) are within the (1999), low quality coffee is associated with high acidity
reported range, with the soft sample presenting slightly contents, mainly due to bean fermentation. Further-
higher lipid contents than the others. Healthy coffee more, Mazzafera (1999) showed that immature beans
beans have been found to present higher oil contents presented higher acidity values than both black and sour
than defective (black, sour and immature) ones (Barros beans. Thus, the increase in acidity with the decrease in
Júnior, 2004). After roasting, lipid contents did not vary cup quality observed in the present study could be
significantly, as expected. Data on lipid contents in the associated to the combined effect of sour and immature
literature are usually a bit higher for roasted coffee in beans. Acidity levels decreased considerably after
comparison to green coffee, but this occurs only because roasting. No significant differences were detected among
data for roasted coffee are usually expressed in roasted the samples, since both the hard and rioysh samples
basis and do not take into account the overall dry matter presented high standard deviation values. However, the
content loss during roasting (Folstar, 1985). The average tendency for increase in acidity with decrease in cup
mineral content (ash) in both green and roasted coffee quality can still be observed. pH values increased after
was in the range of 4–5 g/100 g, without significant roasting, with the values increasing as cup quality
differences among coffee samples. decreased.
The results for titratable acidity and pH values are The results obtained for chemical attributes are shown
shown in Table 6. It can be observed that, prior to in Table 7. Regarding green beans, the highest and
roasting, the soft beans presented the lowest acidity and lowest caffeine levels were found in the highest (soft)
the highest pH values, whereas the opposite was and lowest (rio) quality samples, respectively. The same
714 A.S. Franca et al. / LWT 38 (2005) 709–715

Table 7
Caffeine, trigonelline and 5-CQA contents of coffee beans

Sample Soft Hard Rioysh Rio

Green beans
Caffeine (g/100 g) 1.0770.02a,x 0.8670.00b,x 0.9070.04b,x 0.7370.02c,x
Trigonelline (g/100 g) 0.6470.28a,x 0.9170.03a,x 0.8570.03a,x 0.6370.26a,x
5-CQA (g/100 g) 2.3970.00ab,x 2.3170.03ab,x 2.4870.17a,x 2.1870.04b,x
Roasted beans
Caffeine (g/100 g) 0.6870.07a,y 0.5770.02ab,y 0.6470.01a,y 0.5170.02b,y
% Loss 36 33 29 29
Trigonelline (g/100 g) 0.1770.02ab,y 0.1670.00b,y 0.2070.00a,y 0.1970.00a,y
% Degradation 73 83 76 70
5-CQA (g/100 g) 0.1170.00b,y 0.0970.00c,y 0.1770.00a,y 0.1270.00b,y
% Degradation 95 96 93 94

Mean values with the same letter in the same line (a,b) or in the same column (x,y) for a specific parameter do not differ significantly by the Duncan
test at 5% probability; Concentrations are in g/100 g green coffee dry basis.

tendency was maintained after roasting. Values for variation among all green coffee samples were acidity
green coffee are within the range reported in the and pH. Also, the obtained results show that defective
literature: 0.9–1.9% (Macrae, 1985). Roasting caused beans play an important role in coffee quality, prior to
an approximate reduction of 30% in caffeine content. and after roasting.
Since the solubility of this compound in water increases
with temperature, the caffeine loss may be attributed to
a drag by water vapor released during roasting. Previous Acknowledgements
studies (Dutra et al., 2001) have reported that caffeine
was detected in the exhaust gas from roasting. No The authors acknowledge financial support from
differences were observed in both trigonelline and 5- CNPq, CAPES (Brazilian Government agencies) and
CQA levels for the green samples. After roasting, both FAPEMIG (Minas Gerais State Government agency)
the rioysh and rio samples presented slightly higher and thank Sindicafé-MG (Minas Gerais State Coffee
trigonelline levels than the hard and soft samples. This Industries Union) for providing the coffee samples.
could be attributed to the presence of sour beans in
those samples. Previous studies (Franca et al., 2004) References
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