If you ever look closely at a coffee bean description on our website, you will come across terms like "washed" or "dry" processing. But what exactly is processing in coffee and why should you care? In this post, we will discuss the different coffee processing methods and how it impacts your coffee.
How Coffee is Farmed
Coffee is farmed similarly to most other crops. A seed is planted, within a few years the cherry develops, and then it is picked when the time is ripe.
Once it is picked, it must immediately be processed to avoid spoilage. Processing is the method of removing the layers of skin, pulp, mucilage and parchment that surround the coffee cherry.
The coffee cherry must dry out until the moisture content drops to around 11%.Additional steps are taken based on the method of processing before the beans are finally ready for export.
Natural/Dry Processing Method
The dry processing method involves simply taking the picked cherries, laying them out in the sun, and letting them dry out for several weeks. To prevent spoilage, they are raked and turned throughout the day. The pulp, skin, mucilage and parchment are all left on in the initial drying phase.
This method has been done since coffee was first harvested and has the benefit of using less water than the Washed method.