Updated: May 29, 2021
Hi, Okta from Business team here!🙋♀️
Previously, I shared about coffee cupping & mentioned some crucial factors that influenced coffee's flavour on my blog. Today, I will talk about the processing method!
Have you ever looked at your coffee packaging and found semi-washed, full-washed, natural, or anaerobic as the coffee processing method? Have you ever wondered what does it mean?
The processing describes how the layers which consist of cascara, fruit, mucilage, and parchment that surround the coffee beans are removed prior roasting process. It sounds simple but is one of the main influences on the taste of your cup of coffee. The processing can be done in many ways and each process affects the 3 characteristics of coffee cupping: acidity, flavor, and body. I'm going to share you the three common methods: neutral, semi-washed, or washed processing.
Natural Processing (wild, unpredictable, and berry)
This is also known as the dry process, a one-step traditional processing method where the coffee beans are dried inside the whole coffee cherries. It is common in regions without reliable access to water. Natural processing will create the characteristics of coffee before the removal of skin and parchment.
Semi-Washed Processing (lower acidity, light-bodied and smooth)
Coffee pulp is removed using the machine with the addition of water then immediately detached the mucilage by using a demucilager, then dried the coffee beans. After partial drying, parchment is removed and good to go for final drying.
Washed Processing (light, clean and tangy)
Coffee pulp is removed mechanically and let the sticky layer called mucilage (sugar coating) on the bean. Next, the beans are washed and fermented for 18–36 hours. This fermentation begins to break down the mucilage, which is a sugary, slimy substance that surrounds the bean to develop flavor, acidity, and body. Finally, the beans are washed then dried, parchment is removed and the result is green beans which are sorted and graded. This process can produce a high-quality coffee but requires very good management of the fermentation and washing process to ensure the coffee flavour is not damaged in the process.
So, what is the best processing method? The truth is there's no right answer.
Access to resources, cultural traditions, space limitations, and climate might influence what is the best method for the producers to choose. Different countries have different preferences that can't be ignored. At the end of the day, one of the great things about coffee is the variation of its characteristics. The only thing that really matters is your own preferences as a coffee drinker.
Kindly check our full-washed su-re.coffee here. See you on my next blog! 😊👋🏽