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Title:
METHOD FOR TREATING COFFEE FRUITS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/022610
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for treating coffee fruits with or without the pulp, comprising the step of contacting the coffee fruits with a solution of a composition selected from the group consisting of active chorine-releasing inorganic and organic compositions, such as calcium oxychloride, dichloroisocyanuric acid and sodium and potassium salts thereof and trichloroisocyanuric acid diluted in a liquid vehicle, for a period of time sufficient to disinfect the coffee skin, pulp and beans, avoid fermentation thereof and neutralize metabolic chemical compositions that are detrimental to flavor, aroma and acidity degree of the coffee and to its quality.

Inventors:
FRANZIN, Maurício da Silva (Rua Doutor Emílio Chierighini, 50 - Casa 36, -050 Itu- SP, 13310, BR)
Application Number:
BR2006/000171
Publication Date:
March 01, 2007
Filing Date:
August 24, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ARCH QUÍMICA BRASIL LTDA. (Avenida Brasília, 1500 - Bairro Bauru, -901 Salto - SP, 13327, BR)
FRANZIN, Maurício da Silva (Rua Doutor Emílio Chierighini, 50 - Casa 36, -050 Itu- SP, 13310, BR)
International Classes:
A23F5/02
Foreign References:
US6039996A2000-03-21
GB686520A1953-01-28
Other References:
VAN DER VOSSEN, H. A. M.: "Consequences of phytonic effects of fungicide to breeding for disease resistance, yield and quality in Coffea arabica L." JOURNAL OF HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE, vol. 57, no. 3, 1982, pages 321-329, XP008071616
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARNAUD, Antonio M.P. et al. (Rua José Bonifácio, 93 - 9th Floor - Centro, -901 São Paulo - SP, 01003, BR)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A method for treating coffee fruits with or without the pulp, characterized in that it comprises the step of contacting the coffee fruits with a solution of a composition selected from the group consisting of active chorine-releasing inorganic and organic compositions, such as calcium oxychloride, dichloroisocianuric acid and sodium and potassium salts, trichloroisocyanuric acid diluted in a liquid vehicle, for a period of time sufficient to disinfect the coffee skin, pulp and beans, avoid fermentation thereof and neutralize metabolic chemical compositions that are detrimental to flavor, aroma and acidity degree of the coffee and to its quality, since said fermentation can be caused by pathogenic or endophitic microorganisms .

2. The method as set forth in claim 1, characterized in that said solution is applied, as a washing liquid, to the already harvested coffee fruits. 3. The method as set forth in claim 2, characterized in that the washing of the coffee fruits with said solution is carried out by immersion and/or flotation.

4. The method as set forth in claim 2, characterized in that said solution is further applied to the coffee fruits through at least one operation of spraying said solution onto the coffee fruits that are spread in a thin layer being submitted to a drying step.

5. The method as set forth in claim 1, characterized in that said solution is applied to the coffee fruits by at least one spraying operation.

6. The method as set forth in claim 5, characterized in that the already harvested coffee fruits are spread in a layer being submitted to a drying step.

7. The method as set forth in claim 5, characterized in that the coffee fruits are still in the coffee

trees .

8. The method as set forth in claim 7, characterized in that said at least one operation of spraying said solution onto the still not harvested coffee fruits is later complemented by at least one operation of spraying the solution onto the already harvested coffee fruits spread in a layer being submitted to a drying step .

9. The method as set forth in claim 7, characterized in that said at least one operation of spraying said solution onto the still not harvested coffee fruits is posteriorly complemented by an operation of washing the already harvested coffee fruits with the solution.

10. The method as set forth in claim 9, characterized in that the washing of the coffee fruits is carried out by immersion and/or flotation.

11. The method as set forth in any one of claims 1-10, characterized in that the solution is an aqueous solution with a concentration of the selected composition of about 1 (one) to about 1,000 (one thousand) ppm.

12. The method as set forth in claim 11, characterized in that the time of contact of the coffee fruits with the aqueous solution, when used as a washing liquid by immersion and flotation is up to one hour.

13. The method as set forth in claim 1, characterized in that the selected composition is calcium oxychloride .

Description:

"METHOD FOR TREATING COFFEE FRUITS" Field of the Invention

The present invention refers to a method for treating coffee fruits, whether still with the skin and pulp or in the pulped condition, by promoting disinfection of the coffee fruits, in order to avoid fermentation of the coffee beans by microorganisms and to neutralize some metabolic chemical compositions that are released during the already initiated fermentation, in order to maintain unaltered or improve the flavor and aroma, to control coffee acidity to desirable levels, and to guarantee the quality of the end product, since these microorganisms can be pathogenic or endophytic. Background of the Invention As known, the coffee beans comprise different acidic constituents that include maleic acid, tannic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, among others. These acidic constituents are responsible for the overall acidity of coffee and the discomfort that occasionally arises from the ingestion of this acidic beverage. Besides the acidic constituents mentioned above, the coffee beans contain caffeine which, upon ingestion causes acidic gastric secretions. Accordingly, coffee drinking not only results in the ingestion of an acidic beverage, but also stimulates the production of additional acids by the organism.

Alkaline treatments have been used in the production of coffee products. A process for preparing a coffee presenting improved qualities of flavor and aroma involves an intermediate step of partially treating the roasted coffee beans with an aqueous alkaline solution that- is adequate to be applied to food products, such as sodium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide or ammonium bicarbonate,

before final roasting the coffee, as disclosed in US Patent No. 4,986,271.

US Patent No. 2,419,031 suggests the use of an alkaline substance, such as lithium carbonate as a preserving agent for roasted and ground coffee.

US Patent No. 2,036,345 describes a process to provide a more digestible coffee, by raising its pH through the addition of an acid binding substance. In this process, the acid binding substance is a basic or alkaline material non injurious to health and includes alkaline earth metal oxides, hydroxides, carbonates and bicarbonates, as well as alkali metal carbonates, bicarbonates and alkaline phosphates . These substances, however, are rejected today by the Official Institutions that regulate this matter.

US Patent No. 5,853,787 teaches a method of reducing coffee acidity which comprises the addition, to a coffee product, of a composition comprising calcium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide and potassium chloride to a coffee product. Said addition is made by the consumer himself/herself , in order to reduce the acidity of the beverage according to his/her individual preference. Thus, this process addresses the problem of the acidity in the brewed coffee, but does not suggest any process which allows previously treating the coffee fruits to promote disinfection thereof against fermentation by microorganisms and to reduce its acidity prior to its final processing steps. While different methods directed to coffee treatment aiming at reducing or controlling the acidity of the beverage have been disclosed, these known methods refer, exclusively, to the already pulped coffee beans, and mostly to the already toasted coffee beans, addressing only the problem of controlling the acidity

of the beverage to be ingested. These known processes are not related to the objective of simultaneously providing disinfection of the coffee fruits from their final growing phase in the coffee trees before the harvest, as well as soon after the harvest, during the initial washing and drying steps, before the coffee fruits are conducted to the subsequent processing steps, where they are transformed in a product ready to be consumed. The known prior art technique teaches no procedure related to said disinfection to avoid fermentation of the beans by microorganisms and to neutralize chemical compositions released during fermentation, when said fermentation starts by different reasons during handling of the coffee fruits and beans after the harvest. Summary of the Invention

As a function of the deficiencies mentioned above in relation to the process of treating the coffee fruits, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method for treating coffee fruits still in the coffee tree (in the field/prior to the harvest) , or after the harvest, inclusive in the terrace, with or without the pulp, in the form of cherry, raisin, dried in the tree or on the ground, which allows providing disinfection of the coffee fruits, in order to avoid fermentation by microorganisms and also neutralizing metabolic chemical compositions that are released with an already initiated fermentation, guaranteeing and even improving the characteristics of flavor and aroma of the coffee, by controlling its acidity and improving its quality for commercialization.

According to the invention, the method for treating the coffee fruits with or without the pulp comprises the generic step of contacting the coffee fruits, still in the tree (in the field/prior to the harvest)

or after the harvest, with a solution of a composition selected from the group consisting of active chorine- releasing inorganic and organic compositions, such as calcium oxychloride, dichloroisocianuric acid and the sodium and potassium salts, trichloroisocyanuric acid diluted in a liquid vehicle, preferably water, for a period of time sufficient to disinfect the coffee beans, avoid fermentation thereof and also neutralize the chemical compositions that are detrimental to the coffee flavor, aroma and acidity degree and which are usually produced during fermentation phases of the coffee beans, which result in beverages of low quality. The method for treating coffee fruits proposed by the present invention allows achieving disinfection of coffee fruits and beans, from the phase in which the fruits are growing in the coffee tree (prior to the harvest) , during the subsequent phases of coffee harvest and handling, until the first processing steps which generally include a washing operation followed by a subsequent drying operation in a terrace and/or in driers. The disinfection obtained with the method proposed herein avoids the occurrence of coffee fermentation by microorganisms such as Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Colletotrichum, Epicoccum, Fusarium, etc., neutralizing some metabolic chemical compositions that are usually released during the fermentation, whereby the flavor and aroma of the coffee are preserved and its acidity is maintained within desired levels, besides guaranteeing the quality of the end product by controlling pathogenic or endophitic microorganisms. Detailed Description of the Invention

As discussed above, the method for treating coffee fruits of the present invention is particularly

directed to the coffee fruits still with the pulp, which are found in a certain growing phase in the coffee tree, and to those coffee fruits that have already reached an adequate ripening stage and are ready to be collected.

According to the concept used by the present invention, the treatment of the coffee fruits still with the pulp basically comprises contacting the coffee fruits with a solution of a composition selected from the group consisting of inorganic and organic compositions that release active chlorine, such as for example, calcium oxychloride, dichloroisocianuric acid and the sodium and potassium salts, trichloroisocyanuric acid diluted in a liquid vehicle, preferably water. The exposure of the coffee fruits upon contacting said aqueous solution is achieved for a period of time sufficient to guarantee an adequate disinfection of the coffee skin, pulp and beans, avoiding fermentation thereof and neutralizing chemical compositions that are prejudicial to flavor, aroma, as well as to the acidity degree of the coffee. The present method provides the treatment of the coffee fruits in a condition in which they are still found in the coffee tree, in an adequate ripening stage, usually ready to be harvested, or even before they reach said adequate ripening stage to be harvested.

Thus, the treatment proposed herein can be started by spraying or sprinkling said solution to the coffee tree, so that said spraying permits contacting (wetting) the coffee fruits with the solution used in the treatment . The coffee fruits can be in different maturation stages, such as green cherries, ripe cherries and raisins. Spraying the coffee fruits with said aqueous solution

can be achieved in one or several repeated steps, so as to maintain the still not harvested fruits in contact with the composition utilized, during a period of time that is adequate for the composition to actuate on the fruit and sufficient to disinfect its skin, pulp and also the beans, preventing posterior fermentations during the subsequent steps of post- harvest, shipping, handling and processing. Whether or not the composition in the form of a solution is applied to the fruits still in the tree, the method of the present invention further provides a possible treatment step which includes applying the solution as a washing liquid to the already collected coffee fruits . Said washing can be achieved by immersing the coffee fruits, usually in batches, in washers, hullers and/or mucilage removing devices containing the solution of the composition, which can be selected from the group consisting of active chorine-releasing inorganic and organic compositions, such as calcium oxychloride, dichloroisocianuric acid and the sodium and potassium salts, and trichloroisocyanuric acid. It should be understood that the washing of the already collected coffee fruits can define a second treatment phase for the coffee fruits previously treated by spraying said calcium solution onto the coffee trees, before the harvest, or define the first operation of treating the coffee fruits with the composition comprising a solution. A solution of calcium oxychloride that can be used in the present invention is preferably an aqueous solution with a concentration of calcium oxychloride of about 1 to about 1,000 ppm. However, it should be understood that other liquid diluents for the calcium oxychloride, or other compositions of the group

considered herein, might be used, provided that they are harmless to the coffee fruits being treated and to the food product to be consumed.

In the case of the treatment operation by washing the coffee fruits by immersion and/or flotation in an aqueous solution of the composition, it is generally sufficient to maintain the coffee fruits immersed and/or floating up to 1 (one) hour. Whether or not occurring one or more operations of spraying the solution onto the coffee fruits still in the tree, or even an operation of washing the already harvested coffee fruits, with or without the pulp, it is still possible to carry out the present treatment through one or more operations of spraying said solution onto the already harvested coffee fruits spread in a thin layer being submitted to a drying step which usually occurs in the so called coffee terrace. This single or multiple aspersions of a solution of the selected composition, such as calcium oxychloride, onto the collected coffee fruits spread in a thin layer in a drying step, when carried out as the only step of treating the coffee fruits, permits avoiding fermentation of the latter or even stopping an already started fermentative process, neutralizing the metabolic chemical compositions that are detrimental to flavor, aroma, and to the acidity level of the coffee and to the quality of the end product and which arise upon the occurrence of some fermentation level of the harvested product. Even in the cases in which the operation (s) of spraying the solution onto the coffee fruits spread in a thin layer define a second step of contacting the coffee fruits with the selected composition, it is possible to obtain an even higher protection against deterioration of the desired characteristics for the coffee to be

offered to the consumers, particularly when the coffee fruits and even the pulped beans undergo processing operations in which they are subjected to high degrees of humidity in the processing ambient. When the treatment of the coffee fruits is carried out, at least partially, through a washing step by immersion and/or flotation of the coffee fruits in an aqueous solution of the selected composition, such as calcium oxychloride, the content of free chlorine in the washing liquid must be properly controlled, in order to maintain the concentration of residual free chlorine between 1 (one) and 1,000 (one thousand) ppm.