There are several coffee processing methods used to extract coffee beans from the fruit (cherries) of the coffee plant.
Each method imparts different flavours and characteristics to the beans, influencing the final taste profile of the coffee. Here are the main coffee processing methods:
Each processing method brings out different flavours and characteristics in the beans, and the choice of processing can significantly impact the final taste of the coffee.
Coffee producers and roasters carefully select processing methods to highlight the unique qualities of the beans and create diverse and exciting flavor experiences for coffee enthusiasts.
As a Coffee producers and roasters we follow, Natural/Dry Process, Wet/Washed Process, Semi/Honey Process and Pulped Natural/ Miel Process.
In the natural process, coffee cherries are laid out in the sun to dry with the fruit pulp and mucilage still intact. The cherries are regularly turned during drying to ensure even moisture removal. Once dried, the outer skin and parchment layer are removed, revealing the green coffee beans. This method imparts fruity and wine-like flavors with pronounced sweetness and a heavy body.
In the washed process, the outer skin of the cherries is removed using a pulping machine, leaving the beans covered in a sticky layer of mucilage. The beans are then fermented in water tanks to break down the remaining fruit residues. After fermentation, the beans are washed and then dried. Washed coffee typically has cleaner and brighter flavors with more acidity and a lighter body.
This method combines elements of both natural and washed processes. The outer skin of the cherries is removed, but some or all of the sticky mucilage is left on the beans during drying. The amount of mucilage left on the beans can vary, leading to different flavour profiles. Yellow honey, red honey, and black honey are examples of semi-washed variations with varying levels of mucilage retention.
Pulped Natural/Miel Process:
In this method, the outer skin is removed like in the washed process, but the beans are immediately dried without undergoing fermentation. The sticky mucilage is left on the beans during drying. This process often results in a cup with some characteristics of both washed and natural coffees.
A relatively new and innovative method where coffee cherries are placed in a sealed tank with carbon dioxide. This environment triggers fermentation, leading to unique flavors and aromas in the coffee.
Coffee cherries are placed in containers without oxygen for fermentation. This controlled environment allows for the development of specific flavors resulting from anaerobic microbial activity.
In this experimental method, coffee cherries are frozen and then dehydrated using vacuum pressure to remove moisture. This process is said to preserve the flavors of the cherries and beans.
In recent years, coffee producers and roasters have been experimenting with various innovative processing methods. Examples include carbonic maceration, anaerobic fermentation, and freeze-drying. These methods aim to create unique and distinctive flavors, pushing the boundaries of traditional coffee processing.