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How Does Coffee Processing Affect Flavor

Posted by Stori Coffee on
How Does Coffee Processing Affect Flavor

How do you take your coffee? A lot of us add cream, sugar, and syrups to create a taste we enjoy. Did you know that a lot of the flavors we replicate, naturally occur in coffee? When you know what flavors you enjoy and understand what creates the taste of coffee, you can probably find those flavors in the cup right in front of you, without adding a single thing. In this short series, we talk through how origin, process, roast, and brew methods impact the taste of coffee.In today’s post, we’re going to discuss how different processing methods impact the taste of your morning cup of coffee.

What is Processing?

Processing is the method used to remove the coffee seeds, or beans from the pulp and skin. Within 9 months of growing coffee, a farmer has to make a choice. What processing method will I use, and how will it influence flavor?

Coffee processing will highly influence just how much of each of the chemical components within the coffee will eventually reach the roaster, thereby affecting which aromatic precursors are going to eventually be accentuated.

There are different traditional methods and continuously new and innovative breakthroughs used around the world, but the most common processes are natural methods or the washed method.

Two women of the Hingakawa Coffee Co-op sorting coffee in parchment as it dries in the sun

Some of the amazing women of the Hingakawa Co-op sorting Coffee in parchment as it dries in the sun.

The Natural Method of Processing Coffee

During the natural method, after the beans (cherries) are plucked off the tree stems, the ripe red cherries are immediately dried entirely in their natural form with skin and pulp intact.

The Washed Method of Processing Coffee

In the washed method, once the cherry is picked, the coffee is put through a mechanical process that removes all of the soft fruit residue, both skin and pulp, just before the coffee is then dried either in the sun, on raised beds, or on concrete floors.

Women of the Hingakawa Co-op sorting sun-dried cherries

Coffee producers at the Hingakawa Co-op sorting sorting sun-dried cherries. 

The Honey Method of Processing Coffee

The other innovative method beginning to take wave around different parts of the world is “honey” or pulped natural processing. One would call this the halfway point between natural and washed. Here, the skin of the fruit is removed before the beans are dried, but the sticky mucilage called pulp, is left to coat the beans.

All processing methods will significantly impact flavor and aroma because the sugars found within the pulp that are left on natural or honey processed beans will go through metabolic changes that ultimately affect the chemical composition of the green beans. This reaction will impact sweetness and overall viscosity and body of the final cup.

What Processing Teaches us about the Taste of Coffee

Have you ever noticed the processing method when you purchase a bag of coffee? Now you can start to look for it. Is your current coffee naturally processed or washed? At Stori Coffee, our Founders Series Coffee is a washed.

Now we know how origin and process affect taste. In the next post, we’re going to talk about how roasting and brew methods affect the taste of coffee.

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