Honey Processed Coffee
Have you ever heard of “honey processed” coffee? I knew this type of coffee existed, but it always confused me.
Because there is NO HONEY in, around, or related to the honey processed coffee!
You heard me: honey processed coffee has never been in contact with actual honey. So, you might logically ask, what’s with the name?
When coffee cherries are plucked from a coffee tree, they go through a few wonderful phases before they are shipped as “green beans” (unroasted beans) to a roaster. One of the phases that has a noticeable effect on the resulting coffee’s flavor (after it’s roasted & brewed) is something called the “washing” phase.
Here are the three most commonly used coffee processes:
This means that after picked from the trees, the coffee cherries are immersed in a substantial amount of water which allows the bad or unripe cherries to float to the top so they can be removed. The remaining good cherries are peeled, the pulp removed, and finally the thin membrane (mucilage) that naturally grows around the delicate bean is stripped off.
(As with the honey process, with the washed coffee, no soap or actual WASHING is taking place. LOL)
The majority of the coffees we roast are washed coffees.
“Dry Natural coffee”
This process can be quite tricky – it requires little or no water and a minimum of machines to process the beans, but more manual labor. Here, the entire cherry including the sticky sweet mucilage is allowed to remain coated onto the bean while it dries, and it’s only removed later (vs. before it’s set out to dry, as in the washed process).
The coffee membrane carries the sweetness of the red coffee cherry. So, as you would imagine, the green beans allowed to sit and dry on raised beds on top of a black cloth in the sun inside this sweet cocoon wind up absorbing much of the delicate wonderful sweetness of the membrane.
Want to try some of the world’s BEST dry natural coffee? Our Ethiopia Dry Natural is a phenomenal example of how yummy a coffee with this type of drying process can yield.
“Honey processed coffee”
Finally, the reason I was compelled to write this post!
In the honey processed coffee, also called “pulped natural,” the skin is removed but the mucilage remains attached to the bean throughout the drying process. It’s sort of a hybrid of the other two approaches – using much less water than the washed process but only leaving some of the mucilage (which is golden and sweet – thereby inspiring the “honey” namesake) around the bean while it dries.
Some processors using the honey method may choose to leave all the mucilage on the bean, while others may remove only part of the mucilage which can give a more controllable drying practice and yield a more consistent cup profile.
For all of the 5+ years that Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co. has been open, small-batch roasting organic coffee, we never had the opportunity to roast and share Honey Processed coffee, mostly because we weren’t finding much of the highest quality that was also certified organic...
Introducing, the BRAND NEW, phenomenally delicious Honey Processed, Fair Trade, Organic Honduras Coffee.
Get one and gift some to friends and family who love coffee!
We look forward to hearing back from you once you try it.
Read more about how we roast our coffee here.
Images Provided by Royal Coffee, Inc.