Types of Coffee Processing
A coffee bean is wrapped in different layers—skin, pulp, mucilage, and parchment. Processing coffee involves removing these layers to get the raw ingredient that farmers will trade to roasters. How farmers choose to process coffee will profoundly impact its quality and taste.
Natural / Dry
Farmers wash the coffee cherries and then dry them in the sun. The most flavorful coffees are often naturally processed.
Wet / Washed
The cherry is pulped from the coffee beans by a machine that removes the outer layer of skin (the remaining is fermented in water and washed off after a few days). This creates a much fruitier flavor than dry-processed beans. Specialty coffee shops use this method, as it produces the highest quality coffee.
Honey / Fully Washed
Tends to add sweet notes to coffee because some of the mucilage of the fruit remains on the bean after the skin and pulp are removed through water and fermentation. This process is also often used on Arabica beans.