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NATURAL COFFEE PROCESSING

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

The terminology about coffee may be a bit difficult to understand. Aren't all coffee processing methods natural? Or are all coffees processed in some impure way before becoming the delicious cup of coffee we hold in our hands?


Actually, when it comes to natural processing, the implication of the name is that the process from coffee fruit to final coffee cup will involve less intervention by processing methods compared to others such as wet processing or honey processing. This is considered the oldest method in the history of coffee processing, originating from Ethiopia, when equipment and machinery were not yet used.


In the natural process, the entire coffee fruit is left intact, washed and dried after harvesting, which has a very positive impact on the flavor of coffee. It preserves the value of coffee without adding any external factors.

Natural coffee processing. El Pilon Micromill, San Isidro de Leon Cortez, Costa Rica. Source: Cafe Imports


 

Natural Coffee Processing

In some places, "Natural Processing" is also known as "Dry Processing".

Common coffee processing methods. Source: bruvi.com


After harvesting, coffee cherries will go through the process of picking out the remaining green cherries, washing, floating, and finally being sun-dried immediately with intact skins. This means that the coffee beans will receive flavor from the fruit pulp and sugars during their drying process.


Ideally, coffee should be harvested when it is fully ripe to ensure the highest sugar content and consistency, regardless of the processing method used.


In the natural process, coffee can be dried on raised beds, with the purpose of completely drying the coffee cherries. Then, the coffee will be ready for the process of hulling and obtaining the green beans.


During the drying process, some fermentation processes will inevitably occur, contributing to the flavor of the coffee. Some common flavors may include tropical fruit and floral notes.

Coffee raised beds. Source: thirdwavecoffeeroasters.com


The popularity of natural processing method in the world

As mentioned, the natural processing method is basically a very simple form of processing, and requires little in terms of machinery or water supply. Therefore, countries with dry climates or limited freshwater resources can still access this method. Countries commonly using natural processing include Ethiopia, Yemen, Brazil, and Costa Rica.


However, because there is little human intervention or control, and it also depends heavily on weather and external environmental conditions, ensuring quality for batches of natural processing brings many challenges. The sugar content of coffee fruits during harvesting, the fermentation process, sunlight, mold development, ambient humidity, etc. all contribute to the final quality of the product.


It can be said that although the method is simple, producing a product with optimal quality is extremely difficult.


Customer Reception

Coffee processed using the natural method often has rich flavor with a fruity aroma and a deep sweetness. The complexity and uniqueness of the flavor is what customers seek in this method. This is also considered one of the most expensive products in the Specialty Coffee market.

However, if you are a customer who values a light, delicate, and simple coffee, then this may not be the optimal choice for you.


What about you? Are you interested in this natural processing method? Let's comment and discuss more with iO Coffee below!

 

Source:

https://sprudge.com/what-is-natural-process-coffee-185926.html

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