An Introduction

Coffee cultivation is hard work: from growing to harvesting is only part of the job. Once the coffee is harvested, the real work begins: processing. This involves removing the husk, pulp, mucilage, and parchment that are part of the coffee bean – the raw material that the farmer will sell. The way a grower processes coffee has a big impact on the taste of the coffee. Since we offer coffees that have gone through different processing methods, we would like to explain some important facts about these methods. We will present these procedures and how they affect the taste of the coffee. Although there are several ways to process coffee, with countless variations, we only present here the ones we normally offer, as well as a few interesting variations of traditional methods, that we regularly stock from some of our valued Direct Trade partners.


Wet process coffee beans

Most of our coffees are “washed” or wet-processed. In this process, freshly harvested coffee cherries are hulled, meaning the husk and most of the fruit around the bean is removed. The coffee is then filled into tanks where it naturally ferments for 18-24 hours. This fermentation breaks down the mucilage, a sugary, slimy substance that surrounds the bean.

Once the grower decides that the coffee has fermented long enough, the coffee is washed with fresh water to stop the fermentation process. Then the coffee is dried on raised beds or terraces before resting in warehouses for 60-90 days and being shipped all over the world.


Natural or Dry Process coffee beans

The second most common method we offer is natural or dry processed coffee. The whole intact ripe cherries are spread out on a terrace or raised beds where they the coffee is allowed to dry slowly in the sun with the green bean inside. After drying, the fruit is pulped in a coffee pulper machine. Dry-processed coffees tend to have a fruity note and can be very intense.

Our coffee from Ethiopia is a good example of a classic, naturally processed coffee. This particular coffee, with its notes of cocoa and mango, makes for an excellent espresso.