of Processed Coffee
The dry-process (also known as the natural method) produces
coffee that is heavy in body, sweet, smooth, and complex.
The dry-process is often used in countries where rainfall
is scarce and long periods of sunshine are available to
dry the coffee properly. Most coffees from Indonesia,
Ethiopia, Brazil, and Yemen are dry-processed.
Wet-processing coffees is a relatively new method of removing
the four layers surrounding the coffee bean. This
process results in a coffee that is cleaner, brighter, and
fruitier. Most countries with coffee valued for its
perceived acidity, will process their coffee using the wet-process.
The pulped natural method consists of pulping a coffee,
but emitting the fermentation stage to remove the silverskin.
This results in a beverage that has characteristics of both
a dry- and wet-processed coffee. It is often sweeter
than wet-processed coffees, has some of the body of a dry-processed coffee, but also
retains some of the acidity of a wet-processed coffee.
This type of processing can only occur in countries where
the humidity is low and the the coffee covered in the sweet
mucilage can be dried rapidly
without fermenting. Brazil has made this method famous
and produces some of the best pulped natural coffees in
the world. All twenty winners of
the Gourmet Cup competition in Brazil in 2000 used pulped natural coffee processing method.
There is another type of coffee that has emerged on the
market called re-passed or raisins. These coffees
are floaters and are usually discarded with the rest of
the floaters. However, they have a flavor profile
that some of the world's best experts find to be much sweeter
than traditional pulped coffees. The cherries float
because they have dried too long on the tree before being
collected. This, however, allows the bean to interact
with the mucilage for a longer amount of time before the
start of fermentation. The beans are removed from
the rest of the floaters using a barrel system developed
by Eduardo Sampio in Brazil. The coffees are then
re-passed and pulped. They can then be washed or used
as pulped naturals. The availability of the curiously
sweet re-passed coffees is very limited since it is mainly
experimental at this time. Ask your Brazilian coffee supplier
if they separate out this type of coffee and what flavor
characteristics this coffee possesses. It may be another
option for espresso blending and is likely to become the
fourth category of coffee processing.
The vast majority of coffee producers will claim the virtue
of their coffee processing method. In Guatemala, for example, dry
processing is a bad word and rightly so. Due to their high
humidity a dry processed coffee will almost definitely be
fermented, which is why only their lowest grade coffees are
dried without pulping. However, in Brazil, dry processing
results in a sweet, complex, and heavy-bodied coffee that
is almost essential in any good espresso blend. The only conclusion
that one can make is that every region has its own proper
coffee processing technique and that the processing technique should
help attain the flavor profile that is desired by the producer
Other Coffee Flavor
Contributors: The coffee processing method is
usually the single largest contributor to the coffee flavor. The differences between a washed and dry-processed
Brazilian coffee from Sul de Minas will generally be more distinct
than the differences between two wet-processed coffees from
two different regions. However, the microclimate and soil
are the next major contributors to the flavor profile of a
coffee, and assuming processing is done correctly, they become
the most important contributors to the flavor profile.
For more information about coffee processing methods, visit Wikipedia or Coffeereview.com.
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