3 Coffee Processing Methods

Posted by admin in Coffee School

While all green coffee is processed, the method that is used varies and can have a significant effect on the flavor of roasted and brewed coffee.


The simplest way to process coffee, natural is still very difficult to get right. This is a craft involving careful hand selection of cherries at the precise stage of ripeness and specially constructed drying beds which protect the coffee from the elements, while allowing full airflow under and around the cherries. Under careful control, the process will take 25-35 days. Over this extended period, sugars and flavours in the fruit are concentrated and absorbed into the bean, imparting heavier body and powerful yet refined fruit flavours.


Traditionally the full wash process involves a 5-7 day period of enzymatic fermentation in water, which softens the sticky cherry pulp surrounding the beans. This process enhances acidity and any of the finer floral aromatics a coffee may possess. At Santa Teresa the coffee is friction washed, a more modern process in which the sticky flesh is removed by mechanical friction in an extra stage added to the traditional pulping machine. An abbreviated soak in water follows, to showcase the clear acidity, and citrus, apricot and apple notes the Finca is known for.


The Honey process is the most difficult and demanding of all to execute well. The coffee is pulped, then spread out to dry without washing, leaving some of the pulp on the beans. The beans must be spread thinly on purpose built drying beds, and turned hourly during the 10-15 days required to become stable. The reward for success is a coffee with the fine elegant attributes of a top washed coffee, coupled with the more substantial body and fruit sweetness of a natural. The honey process has been greatly refined in Central America to include white, yellow, red and black styles, which are defined by the percentage of flesh left behind after pulping, and the weather conditions while drying.