The open secret that really determines how your coffee tastes is not just in the origin or type of roast alone. You may have noticed the “processing method” on your coffee bags. It may be dried, washed or honey processed. Ever wondered what it actually means and how it affects the flavor of your morning cuppa? No, you don’t have to be a coffee nerd to understand these terminologies in its practical sense. We’ll break it down for you in the simplest way possible.
A coffee bean is the seed of a fruit, commonly referred to as a coffee cherry. Coffee processing involves picking and sorting the coffee cherries, and then removing the skin and pulp of the cherry to separate the coffee beans out of the fruit. There are three predominant ways coffee is processed: natural, washed, and honey. How the coffee is processed can have a dramatic effect on the resulting. Read on, to find what process suits your taste buds.
NATURAL – dry process: Natural dry process is the oldest way of processing coffee. The coffee cherries are spread out in the sun to dry, and then the skin and fruit are mechanically removed. The natural process is common only in regions with very limited access to water, such as Ethiopia and some regions in Brazil. Natural coffees often have a red wine like flavor and can be off-putting for coffee lovers who don't prefer fermented and wild flavors in the cup.
WASHED – wet process: This method is named so because water is the primary means to both moving the coffee through the process and to making the extraction of the seed possible. First, the flesh and skin of the fruits are removed in a machine called the depulper. The beans are then put to a water tank, where the fermentation process removes the remaining fruit flesh on them. The coffee beans are then washed again with water, to remove any leftover flesh. This process gives a bright and acidic flavor to the coffee. The coffee is cleaner, brighter, and fruitier.
- HONEY PROCESS: Honey process originated in the region that is one of the producers of the world’s best coffee – Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known for its eco-friendly focus and uses less water than the above-mentioned processes. After depulping the beans, they are dried without washing off the sticky-sweet outer layer of the fruit. This is where the process gets its name from- the sticky, honey-like feel the bean has, before being dried. The flavor profile of honey processed coffee includes notes of chocolate, brown sugar, spice, and cedarwood. It is complex with low acidity and intense sweetness. Honey process is gaining popularity because of its eco-friendly approach and its mellow flavor and sticky-sweet beans that give you a unique brew.
Wondering what type would suit your taste preference? The best way to find this out is by trying beans from the same region and farm, produced at the same time in the same conditions, but processed in two different methods. Try the La Finca Tarrazu & Llevela Suave harvested from the same farms of Tarrazu, but processed differently. La Finca Tarrazu is processed by washing, while Llevela Suave is processed using the honey process method. This lets you judge for sure, what process fits your taste buds better.
Try now, and let us know what your preferred processing method is! Order online HERE.