Three Coffee-Harvesting Processes and the Effect on Flavor

Why are there so many coffees in the world if it ends up as just a cup of coffee?


A coffee bean is packed with a lot more than just caffeine. A good bean is infused with delicate tasting notes that take the first morning cup to another level. Dependent on the origin the bean was cultivated, flavors can touch upon fruity and bright to deep and smokey notes. Why is that? There is more than one way to pick and process green coffee beans and that attributes to taste. Coffee starts out as cherries and goes through an assembly of actions to become a roasted bean ready for the brewer.

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‘Coffee and fruit in the same cup?’ you may say in disbelief. In fact, my favorite coffee are those that are naturally processed and fruity! Natural processing, or dry processing, is exactly what it sounds like: drying the bean without separating the cherry. It is the oldest method of processing beans (Ethiopia, a country nestled in the Horn of African where coffee was originated, uses this process). The product of this process is a coffee bean that has soaked up the properties of its cherry and yields a fruity taste. Once picked, the coffee cherries are dried out until they are hardened and brown. The green bean is then extracted from this housing. Our Bali coffee is naturally processed which is why it smells comparable to a strawberry and peanut butter sandwich (I am not kidding! This is one coffee you have to try).


Wet processing occurs in about half of all coffees, typically those cultivated in the Americas. The pulp of the coffee is removed with a coffee pulper before drying. This attributes to the coffee’s citrusy acidity because the sweet and fruity pulp is not overriding that taste. The coffee then sits in vats of water where more of the fragments are washed and separated from the bean. For about a week, the beans are lain under the sun to dry. Once the moisture content reaches 10-12%, the beans are hulled from their parchment layer and shipped to roasteries.


Wet-hulled coffee can be best described as a marriage between the two procedures noted above.  The coffee cherry is  partially removed from the bean and usually left to ferment overnight in water in order to break down the mucilage from the parchment layer of the bean. What really sets wet-hulled coffee apart from its sisters is that the beans are dried less, leaving roughly a 50% moisture level when all is said and done. This allows the coffee, once roasted and brewed, to have less body and acidity. Some varietals tend to have a wine-like quality to them.


Ask your barista about the coffee you are being served. We at Black River Roasters keep an open dialogue between the brewers and drinkers. We want you to ask us questions. ‘What is the origin of this coffee’? ‘What is the difference between Peru and Rwanda’? ‘How did this get from Indonesia to Whitehouse Station, New Jersey’? We do this for a living and we love what we do. Our objective is to educate and entertain with a nice, balanced cup of fresh-roasted coffee.


Ciao and I will be prepping the pour-overs-


About Casey

Lead Barista/Co-Cafe Manager/Coffee Enthusiast
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