Skip to content
How Is Coffee Grown and Processed?

How Is Coffee Grown and Processed?

Have you ever wondered how coffee is transformed from cherries to the delectable, flavourful beverage we all love? The coffee you know and love must first pass through a series of phases before it is delivered to you in roasted form.

In this article, we’ll concentrate on three coffee processing methods: Natural (or Dry) Process, Washed Process, and Wet Hulled Process. 

What Is Coffee Processing?

Coffee processing refers to the actions taken to remove the coffee seed from the cherry and to dry the seed in order to prepare it for roasting. The amount of cherry that is removed directly affects your coffee's flavour.

In a coffee cherry, there is a seed, pulp, mucilage that surrounds the seed and a skin barrier that serves as protection. By separating the cherry's fruit and skin, coffee processing removes the seed from the coffee cherry.

There are several ways to remove the seed from that cherry, and each method can significantly alter the resulting cup of coffee. Coffee farmers and producers must decide which coffee processing method is best because some methods require more time, money and resources than others.

Types of Coffee Bean Processing 

1. Natural Processed Coffee

Natural coffee processing, also referred to as the dry process, is one of the oldest processing methods. The coffee cherry is picked from the coffee tree and set on drying beds in the sun with the seed still inside. Depending on the farm or region, the drying stations can vary slightly.

Coffee growers will rotate these cherries over the course of 3–6 weeks to prevent rotting and spoilage. As the sugars and mucilage stick to the seeds, they develop a sweet and rich flavour. When the coffee is dry, a machine removes the skin and dried fruit flesh, making it ready for shipment. 

This method of coffee processing produces a cup of coffee with a heavy body and complex flavour notes. These coffees frequently have a syrupy consistency and taste sweet and fruity.

2. Washed Process

The washed process, also referred to as the wet process, is another typical method for processing coffee. Depulper machines are used in this process to separate the fruit flesh from the coffee beans before they have dried completely. To ensure maximum sweetness, the seeds are only removed from cherries that are just the right amount of ripeness. 

Once the pulp is removed from the seeds, they are placed in a water tank where fermentation will remove the remaining fruit flesh. The seeds are then placed on sun-drying beds or, in the event of inadequate sunlight or high humidity, mechanically dried.

Since it uses a significant amount of water to remove the mucilage, this coffee processing may be harmful to the environment. However, when the washed process is carried out correctly, it reduces the chance of flaws and is a more reliable way to process coffee.

This process yields a cup of coffee with vibrant and acidic flavours.

3. Wet Hulled Process

Wet hulled coffee is sometimes referred to as semi-washed coffee because it also uses a de-pulping machine to remove the seed from the coffee cherries. However, rather than being placed on drying beds, the coffee seeds are placed in plastic tanks. 

During this stage, the mucilage sticks to the seed, and it is removed through a process known as hulling. Once the mucilage is removed, the seed is laid out to dry.

This method of processing coffee, which is common in Indonesia, drys coffee much faster than the other method. It produces a robust cup of coffee with nutty and chocolatey undertones.

Shop Primo Caffe's Range Now

Now that you are aware of the various coffee processing techniques, check out our range of coffee beans to find a batch that suits your personal preferences. Interested in something that doesnt use pestisides or fertiliser?

Our Fairtrade Organic Beans might be right for you. You might be shocked to find out how each method can change and improve your brew!

Single Origin vs. Blend Coffee: Key Differences
Previous article
Single Origin vs. Blend Coffee: Key Differences
Americano black coffee in a white cup
Next article
Tips for the Perfect Long Black Coffee