FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $49+ OR BY JOINING THE CLUB
The coffee cherry originates from the fruit-bearing coffee plant. They have a berry-like appearance and start as green, small, and unripe fruit. Once it matures, the cherry typically turns red, with some turning yellow depending on the variety.
The coffee cherry is the fruit of the coffee plant. It can be divided into three parts: The outer skin, the pulp, and the coffee bean, which is actually a seed (usually two seeds but not always). The fruit is slightly tough on the outside and a bit slimy on the inside. The pulp is sweet and contains a small amount of caffeine.
The typical coffee processing method involves removing the cherry skin and flesh, leaving only the coffee bean to be washed, roasted and brewed. The chaff is a final layer of skin that comes off of the bean during the roasting process.
Traditionally, coffee producers use three main processing techniques: natural (or dry), washed, and honey (or pulped natural):
The natural or dry process is the oldest coffee process globally and is popular in regions where there’s low humidity and rainfall. These coffee farms place the cherries on a flatbed, where they end up drying the entire fruit for up to six weeks before de-pulping. Natural coffees are great if you want something with a sweeter taste and a heavy body. Often with notes of berries, fruits, and even wine, depending on the roast.
If you prefer to taste a vibrant and clean cup of coffee, choose a washed or wet-processed coffee that is often better for flavor. Washed coffees are de-pulped, then washed clean before drying. Unlike the natural method where the cherry is still intact, a washed coffee is dried without the cherry, allowing the bean’s intrinsic flavors to shine.
The honey (or pulped natural) process is a hybrid that combines elements of both techniques to create new differentiations in flavor. The honey process is when the fresh coffee cherries are de-pulped but allowed to dry without washing. Some of the fruit is still there, but not nearly as much as in the natural process. Most of the cherry is gone, but the remaining golden, sticky mucilage is reminiscent of honey, where the process gets its name.