Friday June 21, 2019

Here’s How The Microbes Help You Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said

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A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling. VOA

Ever wondered what makes your coffee taste good? It’s the microbes, finds a study.

The study showed that lactic acid bacteria which help in the longer fermentation of coffee beans results in better taste, contrary to conventional wisdom.

“A cup of coffee is the final product of a complex chain of operations: farming, post-harvest processing, roasting and brewing,” said lead investigator Luc De Vuyst, Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Belgium.

There are several variants of post-harvest processing, among which wet processing and dry processing are the most common. Wet processing — commonly used for Arabica and specialty coffees — is the step that includes fermentation.

The research, published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal, was carried out at an experimental farm in Ecuador. The team found that during extended fermentation, leuconostocs — a genus of lactic acid bacteria used in the fermentation of cabbage to sauerkraut and in sourdough starters — declined in favour of lactobacilli.

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Hot coffee contains more antioxidants than cold coffee. Pixabay

Lactic acid bacteria were already present before fermentation, and these acid tolerant lactobacilli proliferated even more during this process.

“It is challenging to draw a causal link between the microbiota and the volatile compounds in the beans — those compounds that contribute to the coffee’s smell — since many of these compounds can be of microbial, endogenous bean metabolism, or chemical origin,” De Vuyst said.

But De Vuyst noted that the microbial communities, in particular the lactic acid bacteria, showed an impact.

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It may have “had a protective effect toward coffee quality during fermentation because of their acidification of the fermenting mass, providing a stable microbial environment and hence preventing growth of undesirable micro-organisms that often lead to off-flavours,” he said.

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said. (IANS)

Next Story

Coffee Does Not Pose ‘Significant’ Cancer Risk, Says California

It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens

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A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, Calif., July 25, 2013. VOA

California officially gave its blessing to coffee Monday, declaring the beverage does not pose a “significant” cancer risk. The rule, proposed a year ago by regulators, means coffee won’t have to carry ominous warnings that the beverage may be bad for you.

The state took the rare move after a Los Angeles judge found Starbucks Corp. and other companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed risks from a byproduct of the roasting process.

That ruling put the industry in jeopardy of hefty civil penalties and in the position of either developing a process to remove the chemical or warning consumers about the risk of cancer. The chemical in question, acrylamide, is on a list that California says causes cancer, though other groups classify it as a “probable” carcinogen.

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“With this news, coffee drinkers around the world can wake up and enjoy the smell and taste of their coffee without hesitation.” Pixabay

Under a law passed more than three decades ago by California voters, products that contain chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects must warn consumers about those risks.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which implements the law, concluded there was no significant risk after a World Health Organization review of more than 1,000 studies and found inadequate evidence that coffee causes cancer. Further, it concluded coffee reduces the risk of some types of cancer.

“Coffee is a complex mixture of hundreds of chemicals that includes both carcinogens and anti-carcinogens,” said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the agency. “The overall effect of coffee consumption is not associated with any significant cancer risk.”

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It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens, Delson said. Pixabay

It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens, Delson said. The coffee industry cheered the rule. “This is a great day for science and coffee lovers,” said William Murray, president and chief executive of the National Coffee Association USA. “With this news, coffee drinkers around the world can wake up and enjoy the smell and taste of their coffee without hesitation.”

ALSO READ: Drinking Even 25 Cups of Coffee in a Day Not Bad for Heart, Says Study

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, which successfully sued the coffee industry in a case that has dragged on more than eight years in Los Angeles Superior Court, will challenge the validity of the state’s regulation in court, said attorney Raphael Metzger.

Metzger, who represents the small nonprofit in its lawsuit against Starbucks and about 90 coffee companies, said the regulation was adopted in violation of state law and disregards the statutes the agency is supposed to implement. He said the regulation can’t be applied retroactively to nullify the judge’s ruling. (VOA)