This study describes, for the first time, the potential use of selected lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to conduct improved coffee bean fermentation during on-farm wet processing. Among different strains tested, Lactobacillus plantarum LPBR01 showed a suitable production of organic acids and flavour-active esters in a coffee-pulp simulation medium and was used as starter culture under field conditions. The results indicated that L. plantarum LPBR01 was able to establish an accelerated coffee-pulp acidification process and potentially reduced the fermentation time from 24 to 12 h. The inoculation of LPBR01 strain also increased significantly the formation of volatile aroma compounds during fermentation process (such as ethyl acetate, ethyl isobutyrate and acetaldehyde) and enabled the production of beverage with distinct sensory notes and a remarkable increase in quality compared to the conventional process. Our results suggest that the use of LAB in coffee processing is an ideal alternative way to conduct faster and improved coffee bean fermentation.
Flowchart of lactic acid bacteria selection methodology used in this study. The implementation of the selected L. plantarum LPBR01 in coffee processing enabled the production of coffee beverage with a remarkable increase in quality compared to the conventional process. It was the first time to reveal the potential of lactic acid bacteria to conduct faster and improved coffee bean fermentation process.