When a coffee person says “Naturals” they mean “Dry Process” Coffee. Why all the confusion?
There’s some questions and misconceptions that evolve around the Dry process coffee is a method for taking the fruit from the tree to an exportable green bean. The whole intact coffee cherry is dried in the sun... ...more method, in which the coffee bean is removed from the fruit. Hopefully this video series (below) helps to answer any questions you may have.
I made this video series some time back, but the topic is timeless. So what is natural coffee? Let’s break it down real quick, then go into further detail. First here’s a bit of “Q and A” about the terms though before we proceed:
What does “process” mean in coffee? What is “processing”?
Process means the way the coffee is transformed from a fruit on the tree, to a dried bean ready for roasting. The coffee bean is a seed from the fruit, commonly called a Originally coffee literature referred to the fruit of the tree as a "berry" but in time it became a cherry. It is of course neither. Nor is the... ...more (and in some places still called a coffee berry). To get that seed from the fruit, and dried so that it can ultimately be roasted, is where the coffee bean must be processed. Read on…
What are the common ways coffee is processed?
There are to main methods called wet The removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural... ...more and dry processing. Wet-processed coffee is called “washed coffee” at times, while dry-processed coffee can be refered to as “natural coffee” in some instances.
Why does coffee need processing?
The main issue is that the seed, or Green coffee refers to the processed seed of the coffee tree fruit. Coffee is a flowering shrub that produces fruit. The seeds of the fruit are processed, roasted,... ...more bean as we call it, is wrapped in a couple outer layers, notably the Green coffee still in its outer shell, before dry-milling, is called Parchment coffee (pergamino). In the wet process, coffee is peeled, fermented, washed and then ready for drying... ...more layer (endocarp). A layer of pectin and fruit Mucilage indicates the fruity layer of the coffee cherry, between the outer skin and the parchment layer that surrounds the seed. It readily clings to the inner parchment... ...more clings tenaciously to the parchment layer. Think of the way the fruit clings to the plum pit / stone in some varieties. It’s slippery/slimy and you can’t even scrape it off.
How is the seed processed from the fruity mucilage layer?
There are two major ways coffee is processed around the world (and of course many variations).
In wet-processing (pictured) the coffee is pulped (which means the outer fruit skin is peeled off), and the fruit-covered seed is held in a tank or bin of some kind to As an aroma or flavor in coffee, ferment is a defect taste, resulting from bad processing or other factors. Ferment is the sour, often vinegar-like, that results from... ...more. The goal of A key part of the wet process of coffee fruit is overnight fermentation, to break down the fruit (mucilage) layer that tenaciously clings to the coffee seed, so... ...more isn’t to create flavor, it’s simply to break down the fruit layer so that it can be washed away from the parchment-encased green bean.
The dry-process approach is much simpler! The coffee Either a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.: Either a flavor in the coffee, or... ...more is laid in the sun to dry. That’s it! The fruit dries out, the green bean inside shrinks away from the parchment layer. Then, when fully dry, all the outer layers are stripped off the green bean.
Video Part One: Basics of Natural Coffee aka Dry Process Coffee
Video Part Two: Macro Views of Natural Coffee, Further Details on Processing
Video Part Three: History of Natural Coffee and Tasting Naturals
Sweet Maria’s Coffee Dry-Processing Overview Card
I produced this photo collage card as an overview of dry processing. We have shipped this card with orders at times, and keep a stock of them at Sweet Maria’s warehouse.
Sweet Maria’s Coffee Wet-Processing Overview Card
For comparative reference, here is the wet-process card, the sibling to the above.
Wet Process overview card, Front Wet Process overview card, Back