WHAT IS COFFEE FERMENTATION?
Wine has grapes, beer has hops, coffee has cherries. When growers pick coffee cherries, they have to process them, and in the coffee world, three processes are most often used for this: natural, washed and honey. In each of these methods, the bean is removed from the coffee cherry in a different way.
Natural process (natural process)
Today, this is one of the traditional ways of processing coffee. Originating in Ethiopia, it involves drying whole coffee cherries by placing them in the sun for 3 to 6 weeks. During this time, sugars and mucilage adhere to the coffee beans, developing more complex flavors and making the coffee sweeter. When the coffee is completely dried, the growers use a machine to separate the beans from the pulp and husk.
Washing process (washed process)
In this process, machines called depulpers remove the coffee beans from the cherries before they even dry. Then the grains go into tanks filled with water, which washes the remaining mucilage and bits of pulp from the seeds. The coffee beans are then laid out in the sun to dry.
This method is a combination of "natural" and "washed" processes. First, they remove the coffee beans from the cherries, but do not put them in tanks of water, but lay them as they are (with the remaining mucilage) in the sun to dry. The amount of mucilage that remains on the coffee bean ultimately determines the sweetness of the coffee.
If the same coffee variety were processed in all three ways, you would feel three different flavors in the finished cup. And that is precisely why the process method plays a very important role in coffee processing.