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Café & Aroma

The 3 processes of coffee

There are three ways coffee has been traditionally processed: washed, natural, and honey. Most producers want a process that generates greater profitability and also a coffee with the best flavor, but they have limited climatic conditions. Normally, they first wait to see how much it has rained so they can decide if they will produce washed, honey or natural coffee. If it has rained a lot, it is more difficult to produce a good natural coffee since the cherries can begin to break. And if it has not rained, then it is conducive to a natural coffee or honey since in this way the sugars that develop through this process would not be lost. Coffee processing refers to the way in which we obtain green beans or coffee for subsequent roasting.

Washing Process

This process focuses solely on the grain, since it allows you to savor what is inside it, and not outside. One of the processes to get to the seed is washing, which uses a lot of water and is one of the most common in Latin America and Asia. Over time, less use has been made of this system to be careful with wasted water. The flavors that remain in a coffee with a washed process are more acidic and a much lighter body. This process is commonly used where the volume of coffee is too large, since it is faster and use machines to remove the pulp.

Natural or Dry Process

Although this process does not require much investment, it is necessary to have certain weather conditions to ensure a favorable drying time. This process is also called dry and its use has been a symbol of African coffee for many years. This is due to the scarcity of fresh water that the continent suffers, so methods had to be devised to process coffee without using so much liquid. This method does not use machines, which requires more manual work and consequently its cost can be higher. To carry out this process, the first step is to choose the ripe cherries, either by hand or in a washing channel where the ripe cherries float and the green cherries go to the bottom. Here the cherries are dried on beds and spread. This process can take up to 20 days and to do it you need to be an expert. If drying is not complete and moisture remains, the grain is very susceptible to developing fungi or disease. On the other hand, if its drying is excessive the grain becomes brittle and when it is broken it is considered defective. You should also take care to turn it over, since all the grain must be consistent in its drying. The flavor of these coffees undoubtedly presents a heavy body, low acidity and flavors that remain from the soil in which they were planted.

Honey Process

The taste of a Honey coffee, when processed properly, is literally as if someone had added honey and brown sugar to a cup of coffee. However, the name comes from the sticky feeling that is generated in the beans during the process. In many ways, this type of coffee is the intermediate between a washed and a natural coffee, it is fruitful but not as much as a natural one. The honey process is very similar to washing with the difference that the mucilage, the membrane that covers the coffee bean, is not removed. The parchment is also not removed (membrane between the mucilage and the grain), and thus allowed to dry. Depending on the region and the customs used to dry the cherry, but above all the time, the process will take another name: honey yellow, red and black. The yellow honey is left to dry for approximately 8 days in the rays of the sun, which gives the parchment a light yellow tone. Red honey takes a little longer to dry as it is done in the shade. Does not receive direct sunlight; This makes the color of the parchment not be degraded by light and take on a reddish hue. Black honey carries more moisture in its drying, so it is covered with black plastics to do it. Its color is not completely black, it is only a little darker than red honey.

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