Post-harvest processing of coffee has a great effect on determining the coffee’s character (aromatics, flavor, body, acidity). There are many methods of processing coffee once it is harvested. Different methods are used in different parts of the world, sometimes due to tradition but often times due to equipment that is available (or not available).
The processing of harvested coffees always involves removing the fruit of the coffee cherry and its underlying mucilage to expose the coffee beans at the cherry’s center. As referenced above, there are different methods to get to the beans and to get them ready to export before we, as roasters, do what we do.
Coffees that are Washed / Wet Processed
Washed coffees are known for their cleaner, more articulate flavors and have a wide spectrum of acidity and are considered “brighter”. With the washed (wet) process method, the fruit of the coffee cherry is removed with 24 hours of harvest.
Coffees that are Natural, Dry Natural, and Honey Processed
Three distinct methods are categorized here, but each is more similar with the others than each is with the washed / wet processed coffees above. Taste profile of coffees that are natural, dry, or honey processed is fruity or “pulpy”, often described as “boozy” or “winey”. The coffee can also have strong nutty and/or chocolate characteristics and typically has a heavier or syrupy body. Once harvested, the coffee cherries are allowed to dry with the fruit of the coffee cherry in tact. Once the cherries are dried, the fruit is removed.