For many coffee drinkers, the terms natural or washed coffee are still foreign words. Although the preparation method has a great influence on the aroma and can help us choose after the perfect variety.
What ismeant by coffee preparation?
Coffee preparation, also called processing, refers to the processing steps that the coffee bean undergoes on its way from the picked coffee cherry to the unroasted coffee bean.
If the coffee cherry is not processed immediately after harvesting, it begins to ferment in an uncontrolled manner.
This has a negative effect on the taste and quality of the bean.
What happens during coffee preparation?
At harvest, the coffee bean is surrounded by the pulp and the mucilage, a slimy protective layer.
Since the coffee bean must be dry for roasting, it is necessary to separate it from the pulp and dry it.
There are different procedures for this, which are typically used depending on the country of origin.
We present you the two most common methods.
Natural coffee, also called Dry Processed coffee, has a long tradition. Especially in dry areas, such as Ethiopia or Brazil, this process is the first choice. The reason for this is that no water is needed and the processing is relatively simple. After harvesting, the coffee cherries are simply sun-dried on drying beds or cement floors. Meanwhile, they need to be turned over and over again until they are completely dry after about three weeks. Moisture must also be measured constantly, because once the beans begin to modern, the harvest is gone. The sugar molecules of the mucilage pass into the coffee bean during the drying time – creating a fruity-sweet aroma.
They also ensure a lower acidity and a fuller body of the coffee, which ultimately gives you a more intense mouthfeel when drinking.
Once the bean has developed its characteristic central web, drying is complete.
Then the bean only needs to be removed from pulp and mucilage and is ready for transport to the next processing step – roasting.
So if you’re looking for a slight fruit sweetness in your coffee, you should choose a Natural coffee.
A lot of water is needed for the washed coffee process.
You may wonder why the natural method is not always used for the sake of the environment. Regions where there is a lot of precipitation or too little sunlight rely on processing with water. In fact, the coffee cherry is very sensitive and under the wrong conditions quickly becomes moldy and mildew.
In the washed process, the pulp is removed from the coffee cherry immediately after harvesting. This is done with the aid of water pressure using so-called wet mills.
Subsequently, the last pulp residues are removed in fermentation tanks and the bad coffee beans (floaters), which float on the surface, are sorted out. The gentle fermentation results in a creamy, smooth taste.
After that, the coffee beans are dried for up to ten days. However, the thin parchment skin surrounding the coffee bean is removed just before export. In this way, we ensure that all flavors remain protected.
Washed coffees taste more complex and have a milder body.
In addition, the fine acidity of the raw bean is retained, leaving a balanced floral, sometimes even tea-like flavor.
Conclusion: Natural or Washed Coffee
You now know the most important differences between the two preparation methods and maybe this can help you in your search for the next variety.
If you want an unusual moment of pleasure with intense aromas and fruity notes, try a Natural Processed coffee.
If you prefer to play it safe, let yourself be enchanted by the delicate and complex aroma of one of our washed coffees.
Have fun trying it out!
Recommendation: Try our Washed Espresso Fortissiomo.
It enchants you with a multi-layered aroma of malt and marzipan and a pleasantly light acidity.