What is a processing method?
Here are the three main ways farmers process coffee, and how they affect the flavor of your coffee.
Wet or Washed Processing entails the coffee bean being "de-pulped" or removed from the coffee cherry with a little of the cherry's mucilage left on the bean. The beans are then soaked in water for 12-36 hours, allowing them to ferment in the mucilage. Afterwards, the beans are laid out to dry in the sun or on drying beds, and eventually bagged to await roasting.
Wet Processed coffees tend to be more predictable in flavor for roasters, as the lack of fruit and pulp makes them more consistent.
This processing method is good for coffee drinkers who want a cleaner and potentially more acidic cup of coffee, while avoiding more complex and fruity flavors that might accompany a Naturally Processed Coffee.
In Dry or Natural Processing, coffee cherries are laid out on concrete slabs or drying beds where fermentation begins with the beans still inside of the cherry. Once fully dried the beans are de-pulped and bagged.
Since little to no water is used in this process, beans will still carry bits of the dried fruit on them. Although the fruit and fermentation can tend to make the coffee a bit unpredictable for roasters, they often result in bold and delicious berry flavors.
This processing method is good for anyone who enjoys a more fruit-forward and complex cup of coffee.
During Honey Processing, coffee beans are de-pulped, but more mucilage is left on the bean than with Wet Processing. Afterwards the beans are laid out to dry.
While drying, the mucilage begins to oxidize and change in color: first yellow, then red, and finally black. With each color change, the coffee further develops in sweetness and fruitiness. Farmers rotate the beans to shorten or prolong oxidization, and ultimately gain more control over their crop.
This processing method is good for anyone who wants a sweeter and fruitier cup of coffee, without some of the funky notes that can accompany a naturally processed coffee.
Want to know more about the way processing methods affect coffee? No better way to learn than to try for yourself. To shop our single origin coffee CLICK HERE