How Coffee Is Made (2/4): Processing & Drying
Yesterday, we covered how coffee is grown and harvested, peeling back the topsoil to get a closer look at the root of the matter. By having a deeper understanding of the coffee process, we’re able to produce better coffee syrups for you. And, by the same measure, we think a little coffee education might make your enjoyment of flavored coffee all the richer!
So, pick out a bottle of your favorite coffee syrup (we recommend Amoretti Premium French Vanilla Syrup), and lend us a couple minutes to share what we’ve learned about coffee processing and drying…
How Coffee Is Processed & Dried
Once coffee has been picked, it must be processed. There are three methods of processing coffee: wet/wash, dry, and semi-dry. Only one method is required. Wet processing is definitely the most common type of processing, so let’s begin with it.
Wet Processing: This process, which typically uses a 1:1 coffee to water ratio, involves immersing the beans into a tank or tray of water. Bad coffee cherries and other materials will float to the top. The coffee ferments slightly in the water so that the skin of the cherries detaches. This portion of the coffee bean is then removed. This process is very common in Latin American coffees.
Dry Processing: This is the traditional method of coffee processing, often used with many African coffees. In this method, coffee cherries are set out to dry in the sun. Of course, this method is not as efficient and can be risky (sudden rain or windstorms, etc.), which makes dry-processed coffee more expensive.
Semi-Dry Processing: In this process, the coffee beans are wet processed and the outer skin removed. Then, still wet, the beans are stored for up to 24 hours. On the following day they are set out to dry in the sun. This process is quite common with Indonesian coffees.
Once the coffee has been processed, it’s time for it to be milled, a phase that consists of hulling, polishing, cleaning, and sorting. Remember, at this point, the coffee is still un-roasted and would be largely unrecognizable to many people. Tomorrow, we’ll cover all of these processes.
In the meantime, why not increase your coffee knowledge? Learn about the four most common terms used to describe coffee. Grab a friend and taste a few different coffees. What stands out to you? What do you like? What does the coffee remind you of? How does it change in different brewing methods?