Natural Processed Coffee - The Deep Dive
Processing coffee beans is an important step in making great coffee. It's essentially a type of manufacturing process and can affect the flavor of the coffee, as well as the caffeine content.
There are two main ways to process coffee beans: natural processed and washed processed. Both methods have their own unique steps and yield different results.
The natural process is the oldest and most traditional way of processing coffee beans. It's also known as dry processed coffee. This method was first used in Ethiopia and Sudan, where coffee trees grow wild and the climate is very dry.
This process is still used today in some parts of Ethiopia and Sudan, as well as in Brazil and other countries with a similar climate.
Understanding the role fermentation plays in coffee processing is important to understanding the natural process.
All coffee processing methods involve some form of fermentation, but the natural process relies on it more heavily.
Fermentation is a key step in the natural process because it breaks down the coffee cherry's pulp, which is the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean.
This breakdown makes it easier to remove the beans from the cherries. It also helps to develop the coffee's flavor and aroma.
The coffee cherry surrounds the beans, which are actually seeds. The coffee cherry is very delicate and must be harvested by hand. Once the cherries are picked, they are sorted by ripeness and color.
Natural processed coffee is made from coffee cherries that are dried with the help of the sun and wind. This method is also known as dry processed or sun dried.
The first step in natural processing is to pick only the ripe cherries. Ripe cherries are red and have soft flesh. The cherries need to be ripe in order to yield high-quality coffee.
When picking the cherries, careful attention is paid to avoid picking any unripe or overripe cherries. Unripe cherries are green and have hard flesh. Overripe cherries are brown and have mushy flesh.
Drying the Coffee Cherries
The coffee cherries are placed on large patios or raised beds and turned regularly to ensure even drying.
The raised bed method of drying coffee cherries has many benefits. One benefit is that it allows for better air circulation, which helps to prevent mold growth.
Another benefit is that raised beds allow for easy turning of the coffee cherries. This is important because it ensures that all of the coffee cherries are evenly dried.
These raised beds are usually made of concrete, bricks, or wood.
The coffee cherries are typically dried for 15-20 days. During this time, the coffee cherries will lose about 60-70% of their weight.
Raking and Sorting
Once the coffee cherries are dried, they are raked and sorted. During this step, any defective coffee cherries are removed.
The cherries need to be raked regularly to prevent them from sticking together and forming clumps.
Usually farmers will use their feet to rake the cherries. This is because it is the most gentle way to rake the cherries and prevent them from being damaged.
After the coffee cherries are raked, they are sorted. Sorting is usually done by hand, but some farmers use mechanical sorting machines.
The sorting process removes any remaining defective coffee cherries, as well as any foreign objects that may have gotten mixed in with the coffee cherries during the drying process.
The sorted coffee cherries are then stored in bags or bins until they are ready to be hulled.
Hulling and Polishing
The final step in natural processing is hulling and polishing. Hulling is the process of removing the outer layer of the coffee cherry, which is called the parchment but is also sometimes referred to as the "skin". The mucilage, which is a sticky layer that coats the coffee bean, is also removed during hulling.
The mucilage needs to be removed because it can affect the flavor of the coffee. However, some farmers will leave a small amount of mucilage on the coffee beans to add sweetness and body to the coffee.
The coffee cherries are hulled with a tool called a huller. Hulling can be done by hand or using a machine.
After the parchment is removed, the coffee beans / seeds are then polished to remove any remaining bits of fruit or parchment. The parchment needs to be removed because it can add bitterness to the coffee.
Polishing is usually done by machine, but some farmers do it by hand.
The coffee beans are then sorted one last time to remove any defective beans.
The natural processed coffee beans are then stored in bags or bins until they are ready to be shipped or roasted.
Natural processed coffee has many benefits. One benefit is that it is less labor intensive than washed processing.
Another benefit is that natural processed coffee beans have a higher level of sweetness. This is because the coffee cherries are dried with the help of the sun and wind, which concentrates the sugars in the cherries.
Natural processed coffees are known for having fruity, sweet flavors.
Natural processed coffee beans also have a higher level of acidity. This is because the coffee cherries are dried with the help of the sun and wind, which concentrates the acids in the cherries.
Natural processed coffee also has some drawbacks. One drawback is that it is more difficult to control the drying process.
This can result in coffee beans that are over-dried or under-dried. Over-dried coffee beans can be brittle and under-dried coffee beans can be difficult to hull.
Another drawback is that natural processed coffees can be more susceptible to defects. This is because the coffee cherries are dried with the help of the sun and wind, which can introduce foreign objects into the coffee.
Natural processed coffees can also be more susceptible to mold growth. This is because the coffee cherries are dried in the open air, which allows for more moisture to enter the coffee.
Where is the Natural Process Most Used?
The natural coffee process is most commonly used in Ethiopia, Brazil, and Yemen.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and the natural coffee process. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia over 1,000 years ago.
Ethiopian farmers have been using the natural coffee process for centuries. The natural coffee process is still the most common way of processing coffee in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian coffees are known for their fruity, sweet flavors.
Brazil is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. The majority of Brazilian coffees are processed using the natural method.
Brazilian coffees are known for their nutty, chocolatey flavors.
Yemeni coffee is some of the most expensive and sought-after coffee in the world. Yemeni coffees are processed using the natural method.
Yemeni coffees are known for their fruity, sweet, and spicy flavors.
The Pulped Natural Method
Pupled natural coffee was invented in Brazil in the 1970s.
Pulped natural coffee is a hybrid of the natural and washed processes.
Pulped natural coffee beans are first hulled and then pulped. The coffee cherries are pulped using a machine, which removes the skin and mucilage.
The coffee beans are then dried with the help of the sun and wind.
Pulped natural coffee has a smoother flavor than natural processed coffee, and it contains more caffeine. It also has a brighter color than natural processed coffee.
How to Prepare Natural Processed Coffee
Now that you know what natural processed coffee is and some of the benefits and drawbacks of this type of coffee, you may be wondering how to prepare it.
Natural processed coffee beans should be roasted to a medium roast. This will help to bring out the fruity, sweet flavors of the coffee.
When brewing natural processed coffee, it is important to use freshly ground coffee beans. This will help to ensure that your coffee is as fresh as possible and has the best flavor.
What is natural processed coffee?
Natural processed coffee is coffee that has been dried with the help of the sun and wind. This method is often used in countries where water is scarce. The coffee cherries are picked and then laid out on a drying patio or raised bed to dry. This can take anywhere from two to three weeks.
The coffee is turned regularly to ensure even drying and to prevent molding. Once the coffee has reached the desired moisture content, it is hulled and sorted.
What does natural processed coffee taste like?
Natural processed coffees tend to have fruity and chocolate notes. They can also be less acidic than other processing methods.
How is natural processed coffee different from other types of coffee?
Natural processed coffee is dried with the help of the sun and wind. Other processing methods involve using water to wash the coffee cherries or using mechanical drying methods.
Learn more about Washed Coffee Processing
In this article we define and describe the washed coffee process, which has important implications on quality and flavor. Learn more about how this processing method is different than others.
Learn more about the Semi Washed Coffee Process
In this article we define and describe the semi-washed process for coffee. We detail how the process works, why some people prefer it, and how it impact flavor profiles, roasting, and brewing of coffee.