In light of our sale of our coffees from Africa, it seems like a good time to compare the processing between wet and dry processed coffee. Our current Ethiopia Dry Process Yirga Cheffe Konga is a dry-processed coffee and our current Kenya Nyeri Gatomboya AA is wet-processed.
Dry-processed coffee, also known as the natural process, is the oldest method of processing coffee on earth. The coffee with the cherry still on are spread out on a patio or drying table and turned regularly to prevent mold and encourage even drying. Once the coffee is dry enough, the dried cherry and husk are mechanically removed. This is a method sometimes used in areas with little water. While it often is associated with lower grade coffees, there are some who use this method for very high quality coffee like our Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Konga. This process often adds fruit flavors such as hints of strawberry or blueberry. It can also be associated with negative flavors like barnyard. Our Ethiopea is on the fruity spectrum and has incredible berry notes, very blueberry like. What we have is almost the end of our supply of this year’s crop so enjoy while it lasts!
Washed-processed coffee removes the cherry from the coffee before the seed is dried with a machine called a depulper. By removing the cherry, the coffee is much less susceptible to something going wrong like mold and the coffee is more likely to be worth more. After going through the depulper, the beans are moved to a tank or trough of water to ferment, removing the rest of the flesh from the cherry. Altitude and temperature affect how quickly the fermentation process occurs. Afterwards, the coffee is dried outside similar to dry-processed coffee. Mechanical dryers are sometimes used in areas with a lack of sunshine or humidity. Wet-processed coffees tend to have higher acidity, more complexity, and a cleaner cup. Our Kenya Nyeri Gatomboya AA has a very clean cup!
If you want to learn more, a lot of this information can be found in The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman. Photo from here.