The 3 Methods to Process Coffee
- Washed or Wet Process
Washed is the probably the most popular of all the processes. This process focuses on the actual bean inside the cherry. This process starts by separating the bean from the coffee cherry. They are separated by weight and size while passing through large rotating drums filled with water. Then the beans are transferred to large tanks filled with water to remove the mucilage on the outside layer of the bean. This can take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. After this, the beans are dried out. This happens on either raised drying beds or on a concrete patio. The drying of the beans can take roughly 7 days and requires them to be turned often to make sure they dry out evenly. The growing cycle, care of the plant, nutrients the plant received, the type of soil, the variety of the plant, and when it’s picked (ripeness) play a large factor in this process. This process shines a light on the farmer because of these factors. This process is also very systematic and can produces a consistent taste.
Regions where this is popular: Central and South America
Our Coffees: Dominican Brisas, Kenya Kiamaina
- Natural or Dry Process
The natural or dry process is the oldest process and most basic of the processes. In this process, the picked cherries are lightly rinsed with water and then set out to dry traditionally on raised beds. Farmers protect the cherries by constantly rotating them during the day and covering them at night. The goal is to get the moisture content of the cherries to reach 11 percent. The cherries eventually dry out and transfer some of those sweet, berry or tart flavors to the bean on the inside. Even though this process might be the least invasive at the beginning, this drying process takes a long time to complete. Generally anywhere from 30-45 days. Because this process requires more labor and time, the prices are generally a little higher than a washed coffee. The flavor profiles (berry, sweet, tart) are becoming more desirable and more farmers are giving it a shot.
Regions where this is popular: Ethiopia, Brazil & Costa Rica
Our Coffees: Jason’s Experimental Series: Dominican Natural
- Honey or Semi Dry Process
Honey process is almost like the middle ground between washed and natural. During the honey process, you wash away the red cherry but not the mucilage around the bean. Now what is mucilage? The mucilage is a sweet protective coating covering the bean. Once the cherry is washed off, the bean is then dried in its mucilage. The drying process can last between 10-15 days and requires the beans to be turned almost hourly for them to be dried evenly. The sweetness from the mucilage is transferred into the bean creating a sweet flavor like honey. It does not give the coffee any of the fruit (berry) flavors per say but it does give the coffee a syrupy like body and of course the sweet notes become prominent.
Regions where this is popular: Brazil, Central America
Our Coffees: Jason’s Experimental Series 2.0