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Natural, Washed, Hybrid

The difference between natural, washed, and hybrid process coffee lies in the method used to process the coffee cherries after harvesting. Each method affects the flavor, aroma, and characteristics of the final coffee product. Here's an overview of each process:

  1. Natural Process (Dry Process):

  • In the natural process, also known as the dry process, freshly harvested coffee cherries are spread out in the sun to dry on raised beds or patios.

  • The cherries are left to dry for several weeks until the moisture content reduces significantly, causing the fruit to shrivel and the outer layers to darken and harden.

  • Once dried, the outer layers (husk, pulp, and parchment) are removed from the dried beans, revealing the green coffee beans inside.

  • Natural process coffees tend to have a fuller body, fruity flavors, and lower acidity compared to other processing methods. They often exhibit pronounced sweetness and complexity.

  1. Washed Process (Wet Process):

  • In the washed process, freshly harvested coffee cherries are pulped immediately after harvesting to remove the outer skin and some of the fruit.

  • The remaining fruit-covered beans are then fermented in water tanks or fermentation tanks for a period of time, typically 12-36 hours, to loosen the mucilage (the sticky layer covering the beans).

  • After fermentation, the beans are washed thoroughly to remove the loosened mucilage.

  • Finally, the washed beans are dried, either in the sun or using mechanical dryers.

  • Washed process coffees often have a cleaner and brighter flavor profile with more pronounced acidity. They may exhibit floral, citrus, or tea-like notes.

  1. Hybrid Process:

  • The hybrid process combines elements of both the natural and washed processes.

  • In this method, the cherries are pulped like in the washed process, but instead of fermenting the beans in water to remove the mucilage, they are dried with some of the mucilage still attached.

  • After drying, the parchment layer is removed mechanically to reveal the green coffee beans.

  • Hybrid process coffees can exhibit characteristics of both natural and washed coffees, often offering a balance between the sweetness and body of naturals and the clarity and acidity of washed coffees.

Each processing method contributes to the distinctiveness of the coffee's flavor profile, allowing coffee producers to showcase different aspects of the beans' natural characteristics. Additionally, factors such as climate, altitude, varietal, and post-harvest handling also influence the final taste of the coffee.


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