Coffee and Cocoa Yeast

by

Editorial Policy

Published on

Last updated on

Visualization of a mitochondrial chromosome from the genome of, Sasccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast, which can be isolated from unroasted coffee beans. (Photo: Bill Automata.)

[T]here might be a scientific reason that coffee pairs so well with chocolate—and yeast is to thank. A study published in Current Biology looked at the influence of human migration on the global distribution of yeast. Along with fermenting wine and beer, yeast is also used widely in the production of coffee and chocolate.

To gain a better understanding of the genetic diversity of yeasts around the world, lead researcher Catherine Ludlow and her team embraced their restrictive travel budget and began culturing the yeasts contained in coffee and cacao from various regions of the world. Ludlow and her team isolated sixty-seven yeast strains from unroasted coffee beans from countries that included Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Indonesia.

The researchers found three known yeast populations from which all new populations had derived: a North American oak population, a European strain, and an Asian variety. Coffee and cacao yeasts appear to be the result of genetic combinations of strains from each of these known populations.

While the study didn’t specifically address how yeast contributes to the flavor of coffee, yeasts have been linked with microbial terroir, raising questions for future research on the effect of yeast on the flavor profiles of coffee.

Ellie Bradley is Fresh Cup‘s associate editor.

Share This Article

Ellie Bradley

Join 7,000+ coffee pros and get top stories, deals, and other industry goodies in your inbox each week.

Other Articles You May Like

Who Is Canned Cold Brew For?

Ready-to-drink (RTD) or canned beverages have exploded in popularity, and the coffee industry hasn’t been exempt from this trend.
by Chloé Skye Weiser | December 2, 2022

A New Kind of Mocha: On Specialty Chocolate Producers

The same care and craft that’s transformed specialty coffee has also changed the way we make and consume chocolate—and how we drink our mochas.
by Cory Eldridge | November 3, 2022

Waste No More: Cleaning Up After Coffee

From pulp to grounds to chaff, here’s how to use the byproducts of coffee.
by Cory Eldridge | October 27, 2022

Does Tamping Matter?

Tamping is a personal, essential part of making coffee—or is it? We find out.
by Fresh Cup Staff | October 13, 2022