Do you ever read the labels on your bag and wonder what "Natural" or "Washed" process means? Here's a quick rundown on different coffee processes! Coffee processing is a crucial step in bringing out a flavorful bean. Here are three popular processes: Washed, Natural, and Honey.
Washed process is when coffee cherries are sorted with water and sent through a de-pulping machine to remove the skin and pulp of the cherries and then put into a water tank where natural microbes help separate the mucilage from the seed and then easy to wash off. After the coffee cherry seed (a coffee bean is actually a seed) and mucilage are removed the beans will be sent off to dry.
Natural process is when the coffee cherries are picked and spread onto a patio or a raised mat. The cherries are then sun dried and raked regularly to achieve an even level of drying on the cherries. Once the process is done the seeds are removed from the fruit.
Honey process is when the fruit and pulp are removed leaving only the mucilage and the seed. The mucilage is a sticky and sugary layer of the bean which is often referred to as honey. The beans are then set in the shade where the amount of light is controlled for different honey processes. Once the process is finished the seeds are removed from the mucilage.