COFFEE PROCESSING METHODS
Coffee processing methods have a direct effect on the quality of the brewed coffee. Different methods are used by producers for different reasons, but most important is to maximize the value of the coffee sent to market.
Coffee cherry is picked and then the outer skin is removed from the seed or “bean.” That skin and the sticky mucilage is removed from the seed using a depulping machine. The seed is then washed in tanks of fresh water and fermented for a period to remove the remaining flesh. This process involves much work and is the most expensive for producers.
Harvested cherry is laid out on raised beds or patios to dry in the sun. The cherry is turned regularly to avoid mold or rot. The dried cherry skin is then removed from the seed mechanically. This method is often used in places where water is scarce. The fermentation process imparts intense fruitiness. But if not done correctly, can result in undesirable musty or barnyard notes.
This is similar to the natural/dry process. Coffee seed is separated from the cherry, but some of the fruit mucilage is left on the seed.