Coffee Processing Methods
Have you ever wondered where that peculiar flavor in coffee comes from? Many specialty coffee shops give the consumer an option to choose coffee with different profiles to brew and taste. So if you have heard a ‘coffee geek’ talk about the complexity of acidity in coffee and not understood the meaning, keep reading!
Well the answer comes long before your barista brews your cup of coffee and long before it’s roasted.
Everything starts with the selection of ripe coffee cherries, followed by the different processes to get the coffee beans to be able to roast so you can drink your cup of coffee.
There are different processing methods for coffee. These are some of the most common ones that are used:
- Natural or Dried Process.
- Washed Process
- Honey & Pulped Natural Process.
This method is normally used when there is very little rain and hot weather. They take the cherry with all the pulp and mucilage without removing its skin and then put it to dry. The beans then remain inside the cherry and the pulp, and the mucilage produce fermentation in order to transmit the flavor to the grains – this gives it a much sweeter and fruity profile, which is the main characteristic of this process.
Remember your care is required throughout your process as you must prevent overfermentation. The cherries should be rotated and checked constantly.
This process will give you sweet and fruity notes in your cup of coffee.
This is the most used processing method. It’s good for any climate since it removes the pulp and the mucilage of the bean due to the fermentation being better controlled.
In this method, water is used to remove pulp and mucilage from the cherry. It then goes to a fermentation tank where it will stay for 6 to 8 hours. With water it is then carried through gutters where it will be taken to patios to be dried. This is one of the most expensive methods, since it requires a large infrastructure and quantity of water.
In your cup you will taste a cleaner and clearer variation of all the flavors, highlighting the complexity of the acidity that we can find in the café.
Honey & Pulped Natural Process
This is recommended in areas where there is little water for a washed process. In this process the pulp is removed, leaving a small amount of mucilage to the bean and thus creating the fermentation. To dry the coffee farmers are using African beds. This method is a variation between the washed and natural process.
This process requires a lot of care and knowledge to avoid overfermentation.
In the Honey process we can find different experiments where you can change the amount of mucilage that is left to the bean. This can add value in regard to the marketing and price, as it has a peculiar taste in the cup. There are different names depending on the amount of mucilage that is left to the bean, for example: Honey Red, Yellow and Black. The Honey process, due to being in the middle of the Washed and Natural, opt for characteristics found in both processes. This means you will notice the sweet and fruity from the Natural and the clarity and cleanness of the Washed Process, as well as having changes in the body depending on the amount of mucilage that is left to the beans.
Now when you next visit Devils Isle you can ask what processes our coffee has had and then experience the difference between each one. Always enjoy a cup of coffee brewed by our baristas.