Ecological quality as a coffee quality enhancer. A review.

Torrez, Vania; Benavides-Frias, Camila; Jacobi, Johanna; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe (2023). Ecological quality as a coffee quality enhancer. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 43(1), p. 19. Springer 10.1007/s13593-023-00874-z

[img] Text
s13593-023-00874-z.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (2MB) | Request a copy

As both coffee quality and sustainability become increasingly important, there is growing interest in understanding how ecological quality affects coffee quality. Here we analyze, for the first time, the state of evidence that ecological quality, in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, impacts the quality of Coffea arabica and C. canephora, based on 78 studies. The following ecosystem functions were included: pollination; weed, disease, and pest control; water and soil fertility regulation. Biodiversity was described by the presence, percentage, and diversity of shade trees. Coffee quality was described by the green bean physical characteristics, biochemical compounds, and organoleptic characteristics. The presence and diversity of shade trees positively impacted bean size and weight and reduced the percentage of rejected beans, but these observations were not consistent over different altitudes. In fact, little is known about the diversity of shade trees and their influence on biochemical compounds. All biochemical compounds varied with the presence of shade, percentage of shade, and elevation. Coffee beans from more diverse tree shade plantations obtained higher scores for final total organoleptic quality than simplified tree shade and unshaded plantations. Decreasing ecological quality diminished ecosystem functions such as pollination, which in turn negatively affected bean quality. Shade affected pests and diseases in different ways, but weeds were reduced. High soil quality positively affected coffee quality. Shade improved the water use efficiency, such that coffee plants were not water stressed and coffee quality was improved. While knowledge on the influence of shade trees on overall coffee quality remains scarce, there is evidence that agroecosystem simplification is negatively correlated with coffee quality. Given global concerns about biodiversity and habitat loss, we recommend that the overall definition of coffee quality include measures of ecological quality, although these aspects are not always detectable in certain coffee quality characteristics or the final cup.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Jacobi, Johanna, Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2023 09:08

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2023 02:26

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Agroforestry Biochemical compounds Biodiversity Coffea Ecosystem functions Final cup Organoleptic characteristics Physical characteristics Shade tree diversity




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback