Taste-testing Australia’s coffees

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 20th July 2010

A new report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation aims to perfect the Australian cuppa – by drinking 19 cups of coffee.

Researchers tasted a range of roasted coffees, all harvested at different stages of their growing cycle, to find the best time to harvest coffee cherries, and rated to the coffees according to sweetness, balance, body, flavour and aftertaste.

Coffee cherries go through five maturity stages – green, semi-coloured, prime red, purple and tree-dried ‘naturals’. The stage which produced the highest-rating coffee was the prime red stage.

The Effect of Coffee Cherry Maturing on Taste also highlighted the potential of dry processing prime red cherries which could have major implications for growers in terms of reducing their water use.

The report will be a valuable tool for coffee growers in Australia who are looking to develop a unique and high quality espresso coffee consistent with the special characteristics of their growing region.

The study is the Australian subtropical coffee industry’s first commercial-scale look at the effects of coffee cherry maturity on taste. Further studies on management and processing techniques are expected to follow.

The release of the coffee tasting report coincides with another coffee publication by RIRDC today. Subtropical Coffee Conference and Industry Strategy details the development of an industry strategic plan for the Australian subtropical coffee industry.