Dois Métodos de Processamento de Cafés

Two Coffee Processing Methods

Washed Coffee, Natural Coffee

It can be a little confusing if you're new to this world, but it's simpler than you think.
One of the most subtle pieces of information on a coffee package label will be the coffee processing method used by the farmers who grew it. It's usually one or two words that have big implications for what to expect from your first sip.
Coffee processing methods revolve around the layers of a coffee cherry. There are a few layers to know about:


Skin (Outer Skin) – the outer layer of the coffee cherry;
Pulp (Pulp) - the fruit of the cherry;
Mucilage (Mucilage) - a sweet, sticky substance that surrounds the seeds inside;
Silver Skin (Silverskin) - a protective layer that falls off during the roasting process;

Green Bean - Each coffee cherry will usually have two seeds inside. This is COFFEE.

Coffee processing methods refer to how we go from coffee cherries to green beans, ready for roasting . Different methods leave different amounts of pulp and mucilage in the beans before they dry, which changes the flavor after roasting. Coffee processing is a delicate procedure; green coffee can change during these processes, resulting in different flavors in the cup. Roasters carefully first taste (Cupping) a coffee “sample” before purchasing and roasting to ensure they are able to achieve the desired flavor profile.


Process - Washed

Washed coffee is currently one of the most popular processing methods among specialty coffee roasters. This involves pulping the coffee after harvesting, then fermenting the coffee in tanks of water to soften and remove the sticky mucilage . The beans are then washed with more water, before being dried and sent to roasters.
If you wash the layers of pulp and mucilage, you will get very clean, crunchy and acidic flavors from your coffee, with medium amounts of body and little sweetness.
Some regions will take this process a step further by washing their coffee completely. Fully washed coffee is similar to washed coffee, but instead of leaving the coffee in tanks to ferment after pulping, the mucilage is essentially pressure washed and the coffee is immediately moved to drying yards. Fully washed coffee relies on cherries taking on enough flavor from the climate , altitudes and soils to produce quality in the cup - no pulp or mucilage will add sweetness or variety. Therefore, fully washed coffee is generally considered to be the most accurate representation of an origin .
The method is fast, but it can be considered wasteful due to the massive amount of water used in the tanks and the waste produced from the washing stations.


Process - Natural

Naturally processed coffee is the simplest and oldest way to get a delicious taste of origin . Coffee cherries are picked, laid out in the sun on concrete slabs or raised beds ( African beds ) to dry, then the dried skin and pulp are dried, ground (pulled) to get to the green beans inside. This is a long process and can take between 3 to 6 weeks .

The flavor of natural processed coffee is strongly affected by the drying pulp; Bright, juicy and fruity flavors really carry heavy body and sweetness. Over time, natural processing has become considered a low-quality method by some, as it can be challenging to obtain consistent natural processed coffee; As fruit ripens, ferments and matures at different rates, the flavor can be unpredictable with natural processed coffee . However, there are just as many people who believe that natural processing has the potential to create tastier coffees.


Process - Honey / Pulped Natural

Two processes that are almost identical in practice, just called different things in different regions. Coffee processed with honey is situated between natural processed and washed coffee. With this method, the pulp from the outer layer is removed but leaves the sticky mucilage intact before drying in the sun. The amount of pulp left on the beans and some environmental factors can be controlled to achieve the desired flavors for the harvest.

With the mucilage left intact to add additional depth to the flavor, coffee processed with honey can carry tasting notes as if someone had put honey and brown sugar in your coffee cup. These coffees often have medium levels of body and sweetness , a good balance between the weight of the natural processed coffee and the crispness of the washed coffee that follows.


What is the best coffee processing method?

This is entirely up to the consumers, who, as expected, must know how they feel at that particular moment, while choosing the coffee to drink.

Visit Asante Boutique Coffee Roasters in Costa de Caparica and talk to us about these specific types of processing and flavor of a Natural or Washed coffee, as we currently have Specialty Coffees from these two processes in stock.

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