Our newest coffee on the offering list is a Honey Processed Costa Rican coffee. But what the heck does that mean? Is it dipped in honey? Did we add flavors? We get some questions from time to time in our cafe so I thought we would take a minute to talk about the processing and what it means to your cup. If you are a visual learner like me, look at the chart on the bottom of the page to see more. After digging around on the web, we found some good info at one of our favorite site to learn more about coffee. The breakdown below is credited to : https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/
WASHED COFFEE - Lets start with the most common process.
Washed coffees focus solely on the bean. They let you taste you what’s on the inside, not the outside. Washed coffees depend almost 100% on the bean having absorbed enough natural sugars and nutrients during its growing cycle. This means the varietal, soil, weather, ripeness, fermentation, washing, and drying are critical.
Washed coffees reflect both the science of growing the perfect coffee bean and the fact that farmers are an integral part of crafting the taste of a coffee bean. When looking at washed coffees, it becomes apparent that the country of origin and environmental conditions play a vital role in adding to the flavor. This means that the washed process is able to highlight the true character of a single origin bean like no other process – and it’s the reason why so many specialty coffees are washed.
SEMI WASHED / HONEY PROCESS
In many ways, this type of coffee is halfway between a washed coffee and a natural process coffee: it’s fruity, but not in as exaggerated a way as some naturals. It often has a more rounded acidity than washed coffees, with intense sweetness and complex mouthfeel.
The honey process is strongly associated with Costa Rica and, in recent years, subcategories have developed: yellow, red, golden, black, and white honey. This reflects the ability this process has to influence the taste and overall profile of a coffee. It can become a highly scientific process, as the level of mucilage – which influences the sweetness and depth of body of the coffee – is monitored and controlled. Typically, the more mucilage left on the bean, the sweeter the taste.
The natural process, also known as the dry process, is a back-to-basics approach that stems from Ethiopia. The fruit is left on the bean, and there’s little disruption to the coffee while it dries. Although it needs less investment, it still requires certain climatic conditions to ensure the drying of the fruit and seed in time.
Over time, the natural process has become considered a lower-quality method that can lead to inconsistent flavors. This inconsistency is often the result of unripe fruit drying and turning brown alongside ripe fruits.
However, there are many who believe this process actually has the potential to create the most flavorful coffees – and that a comeback is just around the corner. If consistency can be achieved, then many argue that natural coffees can match washed coffees for clarity, and also provide some more interesting notes and characteristics as well. You can see this happening in Brazil, among other places.