Before green coffee beans arrive at our Roasting facility, the flavor is already significantly impacted. You may know that soil and climate play a vital role in how the coffee tastes, however, the post-harvest process is a crucial component to determining the bean’s profile. While you will see various hybrid methods below, the two main ways in which coffee is processed are the Washed Process and the Natural Process.
|Cherries at Wet Mill
Washed Drying Coffee Process
WASHED PROCESS (AKA WET PROCESS)
- The fruit of the coffee cherry is removed from the coffee seed as quickly and cleanly as possible before drying.
- Defects are removed when they float to the surface of the water.
- Flavor is derived only from the existing cell structure of the bean.
- Most of our coffees are processed this way, since defects are removed more effectively and coffees are more consistent.
- Profiles such as: clean, bright and mild in flavor
- Examples: Guatemala, Fair Trade Mexico, Ethiopia Guji Washed
|Natural Coffee Drying Process
|Defect Sorting Line in Ethiopia
NATURAL PROCESS (AKA DRY PROCESS)
- The fruit of the coffee cherry is left on during the drying process, shriveling up like a raisin.
- Defects must be removed by hand, requiring vastly greater labor.
- Since the cherry remains intact during drying, the sugars and alcohols in the fruit affect the resulting flavor.
- This process takes much longer than the Washed process.
- We have less coffee processed in this manner. Natural coffees must be carefully and consistently cupped for quality, as removing defects requires additional time and skill.
- Profiles such as: dense, full bodied, fruity and exotic
- Example: Ethiopia Guji Natural
|Honey Process Drying Patio
|Honey Coffee Drying Process
- Used throughout Central America, most notably Costa Rica.
- Honey coffee is depulped to remove the skin of the cherry.
- The coffee seed dries with some or all of its sticky fruit mucilage intact.
- The main benefit of the Honey process over the Natural process is the speed and efficiency of the drying process, as well as the various flavor characteristics through fermentation and exposure.
- Some producers will remove a particular amount of the mucilage material in order to manipulate the coffee’s finished profile
- Other producers focus on modulating the drying process to achieve different Honey levels: Yellow/Golden Honey, Red Honey, and Black Honey.
- Profiles such as: heavy body, sweet fruitiness with lower acidity, deep chocolate notes
- Examples: Costa Rica Honey Finca Angelina, El Salvador Pacamara Black Honey
- This process is a result of a combination of environmental conditions, market access, and traditions found in Indonesia.
- Coffee is often harvested and depulped or left as a whole coffee cherry in a plastic tank or jute sack for pickup.
- It’s then transported or sold with a high moisture to a market, collector or point so that it may be milled for hulling.
- Mucilage and parchment layers are removed simultaneously with special machines and laid on tarpaulins for drying.
- Opposed to most countries that dry with the parchment layer attached, the Wet-Hull process provides very distinct flavors.
- This risky method allows for rapid drying in the damp and cloudy climate in Sumatra.
- Profiles such as: earthy, savory, herbaceous, heavy body, dark chocolate, nutty
- Examples: Sumatra Mandheling, Bali Blue Moon
Source: Information cited from one of our primary coffee importers, Cafe Imports.
We are extremely excited to provide quality coffee with various processing methods. Sharing coffee culture from around the world will always be a great passion of ours. As you browse through our coffee offerings, our hope is that you will be more informed and can appreciate, even more, the rich history and craftsmanship of coffee.