Fortunately, today the culture of drinking coffee is slowly spreading: in bars we can choose coffees that come from various parts of the world, are of the Arabica or Robusta varieties (learn more about these in our article) and are roasted and/or processed in different ways.
If indeed today we do know more about the type of coffee we are drinking, instead most of us are still not familiar with the way via which it finds its way into our cups.
This is why we have decided to shed some light on the processing methods that precede the much more familiar roasting phase. Once the fruit (or drupe) has been harvested from the coffee plant, the pulp must first be removed before it goes on to the roasting phase (the coffee bean that we all know and love is found inside the pulp). In this case we can then talk about natural coffee or washed coffee. What are these?
Natural Coffee, the most ancient method
The natural processing method is the most ancient and traditional one. And indeed long ago it was the only way to process coffee as the machines available today simply didn’t exist back then. What does it consist of?
The whole drupe is laid out under the tropical sun and continuously moved to prevent fermentation from occurring. Once the pulp has dried out, it is removed, leaving us with our green coffee beans.
Washed or wet coffee, water and sun mixed together.
The first part of this process consists in removing the pulp from the drupe using a pulping machine. In this way we obtain the bean, still wrapped in its membrane, known as parchment. To remove it, together with the mucilages, the beans are immersed in tanks full of water, so launching a small fermentation process that changes the taste of the coffee.
When a certain period of time has passed, the beans are washed and dried in the sun.
Another two methods…
There are also another two methods that are a sort of combination of the more “classic” ones.
- Semi-Washed: here the beans are pulped but rather than continuing to the tanks, they are immediately laid out in the sun to dry, complete with the parchment;
- Semi-Natural: the beans are pulped but the mucilage and parchment are removed by high pressure jets of water. They are then left to dry in the sun.
And in terms of taste?
Much of the flavour and the aromas of a coffee depend on the roasting process but they are also affected by how the beans are processed. Beans processed using the natural method generally have a fuller body, whereas those processed via the washed method have a higher acidity level and more aromatic notes.
Now that you are more familiar with the processing methods used to make our coffee, you’ll understand exactly why it tastes so good! Try our blends, made with raw coffee beans roasted individually.