You’ve probably noticed that our coffee beans are labeled traditional or natural process. This refers to the way the coffee was dried. Understanding this is important when deciding what kind of coffee you like or want to buy. While drying is only one step in the harvest-to-roast process, it is one that will greatly effect the flavors in your cup…
After the coffee is harvested, the seeds are dried. This process involves stripping the fruit away from the seed, washing and then drying the seed. There are two main methods to this drying process: Traditional and Natural. In recent years new methods have developed that are slight variations to these methods but ultimately still fall under either of the two main methods. Such as the Honey process, which adds some variation to the Natural method.
In the Traditional process (also known as Washed or Wet process due to the water used for soaking), coffee is stripped of the fruit and soaked in water to remove the rest of the pulp. The seed (beans) are laid out in the sun on large concrete patios or raised screened tables after all the pulp is removed. The coffee is raked or stirred to prevent mold and mildew from forming. The seeds are left to dry until the moisture level is between 12-13%. Traditionally processed coffees typically create a clean, smooth, consistent cup of coffee.
The Natural process involves leaving the whole cherry, fruit and all, intact while it dries. The whole cherry is placed on the patio or raised screened tables. As with the Traditional process, they are raked or stirred to prevent mold and mildew. Since the fruit is left intact the sugars present cause a fermentation to take place, which allows the seed to absorb more of the fruit flavors. After the cherry reaches the ideal moisture level, the dried pulp is stripped away from the seed. Naturally processed coffees are known for their very sweet, fruity taste that vary due to the natural fermentation taking place.
So, if you love a consistent, clean cup of coffee, find a Traditionally processed coffee that has hints of flavors you enjoy. If you are up for a unique coffee experience try a Naturally processed coffee that will highlight all the super fruity flavors and add a sense of anticipation from one cup to the next.
Have fun with your coffee, its an enjoyable adventure!