Coffee hand picking
Depending on the variety, it can take up to 4 years until planted coffee trees begin to bear fruit. It is critical to pick the cherries when they are ripe! Picking coffee before it reaches full maturity will result in slightly sour and undesirable flavours. As not all cherries will ripen at the same time, pickers must keep coming back to the tree to pick the cherries at the right stage of maturity. Despite the extra cost and time, we know that the care and attention paid by our expert pickers leads to superior coffee, which offers a more complex and refined flavour.
Coffee Pulp - Natural Process
The pulp natural process is similar to the washed process in that the cherries are brought to the processing mill and de-pulped in a pulping machine. Following this, the de-pulped coffee then does not go through the fermentation process and is taken straight out to dry in the sun with the parchment and mucilage still intact. The process of drying coffee in this way is very delicate. The beans must be turned and raked very often to avoid fermentation and rot. During this process, the mucilage dries inside the bean affecting the final flavour profile of the coffee. This process can also be referred to as “semi-washing”. Pulp natural coffees can have more body and lower acidity than the wash-processed ones. They are generally cleaner and more uniform than naturally processed coffee.
Coffee Washed / Wet / Process
After being harvested, the coffee cherries are brought to a processing mill, where they are soaked in water. The unripe or overly matured cherries immediately float and they are removed before proceeding to the next step. This eliminates a large portion of the defective cherries. The ripe cherries go then into a de-pulping machine, which separates the cherries from the beans. At this point, the beans are still covered in their parchment and fruit mucilage. It is important to get rid of any mucilage. To do this, the beans are fermented in fermentation tanks for 18-36 hours, until the mucilage can be easily washed off. When the beans are clean, they are still in their parchments to dry under the sun. This method preserves more acidity than the natural process and produces more consistency in the final flavour profile. However, the washing process is a lot more complicated. It consumes more water and there is a higher margin of error in getting the fermentation correct.
Coffee’s Natural Dry Process / Honey
The natural process is the oldest and the most traditional way to process the coffee cherries. After the coffee cherries have been harvested, they are spread out in the sun to dry on concrete large patios or raised drying beds. There its very little water involved in this process. The cherries are turned regularly to ensure even drying. When the coffee is fully dried, it is rested inside the fruit and then peeled to remove all parchment and husk that covers the beans. After this, the beans are ready for shipment. With the natural process, it is hard to ensure all coffee dries at the same rate. Due to this, there is a higher risk of inconsistency in the final product that will affect the taste. Generally, naturally processed coffees will have lower acidity and a heavier body. The fruit drying on the beans, in addition to the sun hitting them directly, changes the final flavour profile. In some places they call this process honey, since the sweetness of the cherry sticks to beans and a sweeter taste is obtained. There is a high risk that the cherry sweetness can spoil the bean with an over fermented taste.