Coffee Processing from Seed to Cup
The first time I roasted coffee I made a HUGE mistake. (Well, maybe I made several mistakes if you count the whole burning beans in the kitchen when you’re wife is gone to Wally World, even more so when you do it, WITHOUT TELLING HER A THING!) When I was deciding what bean to roast, I was just looking for the highest Q Score. I didn’t even think about taste! Coffee processing is something that generally is region specific; however, I’ve had the same bean, from the same region processed with two different methods and the coffee tasted completely different!
Almost forgot, because coffee is ONLY grown in the Tropic of Cancer, so based on accessibility of the farm to water, humidity and altitude will make one coffee processing method preferred over another. Coffee literally grows on trees. And on those trees there are cherries, and within those cherries, the bean remains. To remove all of the mucilage, the gooey stuff between the bean and the cherry, there are three methods of processing the bean from fruit to something drinkable. I’ve been known to go into DEEP research about a lot of things. My kids like to compare me to Clif Huxtable when it comes to explaining, but you’d probably appreciate just a high level overview. So here we go….
Let’s talk about the wet processing method first. Coffee cherries are completely immersed in water which will results in bad or unripe beans floating and the ripe beans sinking to the bottom. Next, the pulp is then removed by pressing the bean through more water for a period of time. Finally, the mucilage, goo, is allowed to ferment then is removed. Coffee that is processed using this method is usually known for its bright, crisp and fruity flavor. Wet processed coffee is what you look for when brewing your bulletproof coffee. It’s good to use for bulletproof because the fermenting process reduces the possibility of deterioration with bacteria or fungus. I’ve given you the wet process.
There is a “peculiar” coffee processing method native to Indonesia. It’s sometimes called “bucket list coffee” or “monkey poop coffee”. This is called Kopi Luwak Processed Coffee. If interested you can buy a bag of Kopi Luwak right here.
Now let’s talk about dry processing coffee. As you probably can guess, dry processing of coffee is sometimes called the natural method. Like anything natural, this is a fairly straightforward process. The cherries are raked periodically; this allows the cherries to be dried uniformly. It’s been known to take up to 5 weeks until the cherries are dried and ready for further processing. The dry method results in a coffee that is heavy in body, sweet, smooth, and complex. Most of the time, the dry process is used in countries where rainfall is scarce and long periods of sunshine are available to dry the coffee. Now after both of these processes are completed, the beans are moved on for further processing and grading.
Personally, I am a fan of wet processed coffee. I love; I mean I ABSOLUTELY LOVE iced coffee, and the coffee that works best for my “refined” (which is a way of saying that’s what I like!) palate. I carry both wet and dry processed coffees; I even have some of the same beans, usually Ethiopians that have been processed in this manner. It’s interesting to try and compare and contrast the difference. As a matter of fact,