No 30

Cenicafé, another Argument in Favor of Café de Colombia

August, 2012


Cenicafé, another Argument in Favor of Café de Colombia

The National Coffee Research Center -Cenicafé- adds up over 70 years devoted to advancing research   to help differentiate - Café de Colombia. Its scope of work include aspects related to production in the coffee farms, harvesting, wet processing and the quality of the bean, management and utilization of coffee by-products, and conservation of natural resources.

A key part in the research focus is to strengthen the sustainability of Colombian coffee crops, so that these social, economic and environmental values may leverage the brands that sell 100% Colombian coffee around the world.

Consequently, Bean & Beyond shares with the members of the 100% program some of the research center`s most outstanding projects, knowledge that has been transferred from the labs to the coffee growers, through more than 1.500 technicians of the Federation`s Extension Service.

Development of coffee varieties: On this matter, Cenicafé has developed coffee varieties resistant to coffee rust, adapted to the climatic conditions of the different Colombian coffee regions (Regional Castillo®  Varieties) since they do not need chemicals to control this disease.  Similarly, they better adapt to the climatic variability.

Water cycle: Cenicafé also conducts an ongoing research on everything related to the hydrological cycle associated with coffee, such as evaluating native species for reforestation of watersheds of the coffee area, aimed at contributing to the stabilization of water balance and to the reduction of erosion in watersheds.  This, through an increase of sustainable forest use and protection of forest ecosystems. 

Environment conservation: The research center also investigates and promotes conservation practices among producers, especially on slopes, where the coffee crops are established, in order to maintain the levels of soil production capacity and retain its natural fertility over time. Thus, avoiding an increase in the use of chemical fertilizers and their leaching or washing, causing the presence of nitrates, sulfates and phosphates in the water.
Integrated management of pests and diseases: On this front, Cenicafé uses a combination of cultural and biological control techniques, and only in extreme cases chemical control (depending on the levels of economic damage) to establish the timing of control, which has allowed to minimize the application of agrochemicals. 

Water decrease: Aware of the importance of water, as a principle of life, the research center has also developed technologies for the disposal or rationalization of water use in the different stages of the beans wet processing. These technologies have enabled water consumption reduction, from 40 liters to less than 5 liters per kilogram of processed beans. Developments such as the Becolsub technology, which involves the mechanical removal of the mucilage,  decreases water consumption to less than 1 liter per kilogram of dry parchment coffee; likewise, the hydraulic separator used for classifying the beans, improving their quality, decreases water consumption during the classifying process from 4,7 liters to only 0,3 liters/kg of dry parchment coffee.

With respect to the treatment of coffee wastewater, Cenicafé has conducted investigations for water pollution control through its comprehensive treatment, which includes secondary and tertiary treatments, in order to avoid a negative impact on the Colombian coffee area water and soil resources.

NIRS technologies: The NIRS technology (Near InfraRed Spectroscopy) provides a measure that can be treated as a spectral mark that could resemble a digital print or a fingerprint that identifies the origin of Colombian coffee, even at a regional level. The construction of the databases and chimiometric models fueling this technological tool has been a key element in the construction and support of the Protected Denomination of Origins for Café de Colombia.

¿Interested in learning more about any of these projects?

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