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Washed or dried coffee? Coffee processing methods

May 24, 2018 ● Pascal Giroux

Once harvested, the fruits of the coffee plant undergo different transformations to get to the coffee bean we consume. Coffee producers use different methods to free the bean from its shell of skin, pulp, and hull. The best known methods are the dry treatment, the wet treatment, and the honey process.

Dry treatment

The dry treatment, or natural treatment, is one of the most ancient ways of treating coffee. Once harvested, coffee cherries are spread in a drying area in the sun and are raked constantly to ensure even drying. After several days of drying, the cherries are picked of their skin, pulp, and hulls, leaving only the two coffee grains from each fruit. Natural coffee can often be recognized by its wilder and earthier notes.

Wet treatment

The wet method first requires the cleaning and depulping of the cherries right after harvesting. The cherries must then soak in a water basin to ferment from 12 to 36 hours which develops the grain's flavours while letting the flesh decompose. The grains are then washed, dried, and freed from their hulls. As for taste, the wet treatment makes for finer coffee with a nice acidity level.

Honey Process

This method, which is gaining in popularity, mixes the wet and dry processes. The honey process consists of washing and depulping the coffee cherries while leaving the mucilage (honey-like substance) on the fruit. The grains are then dried and cleaned in the sun. This treatment has several variations: White, Red, Yellow, and Black Honey, determined by the quantity of mucilage left on the grains. This process brings out sweeter and softer notes. Would you like to see the difference between coffee treatment processes?  Julius offers a wide range of specialty coffees that have been treated using different methods.