The three most popular coffee processing operation around the world are natural (dry), washed and “honey”, while in Brazil, next to the dry process, it is still used a semi-washed process called the “pulped natural” process.
In the process of natural processed coffee is spread on concrete plateaus or raised beds, and the grain is dried inside the fruit. The wash process involves the removal of the outer layer, the fence of the fruit, the immersion of coffee in the water, where the fermentation process removes the pulp in which the grain is located, and the drying of so washed grains in the sun or in special drying machines. The semi-washed (“pulped natural”) process is the most similar to the yellow honey process, and the only difference is that in the yellow honey process water is not used at all, while in the semi-washed process, the coffee is partially washed before drying.
The “Honey” process is actually something between the natural and the washed process. From the freshly harvested fruits, only the outer shell is removed, and then the grains that are still inside the pulp dry as well as in the natural process. The process got its name because of the characteristics and appearance of the grain before drying, at that stage grains are sticky, seemingly submerged in honey.
This process actually originated in Brazil, as a way to save water, but to improve the quality of the final product. However, the “honey” process was the most experienced in Costa Rica, where it was perfected to the smallest detail.
The process is very complicated, takes a lot of time and requires great attention and concentration.
The first step is choosing and reading only the smallest fruits. Then, the outer shell is removed from the fruit, as mentioned above in the text, and the true secret and key to this process lies precisely in the sugars and acids found in the pulp that remains on the grain.
The next step is the most complex and most sensitive in the whole process, and involves a drying phase. The timing must be perfect. Dried grains too quickly will not absorb and absorb all aromas and flavors from the pulp, on the other hand, the grains of the dried too slowly will ferment and become awake. The coffee must be constantly rolled up and spread so that the drying is even.
Depending on the quantity of pulp left on the grain, the “honey” processed honey process is classified into three categories: yellow, red and black “honey”.
This process of processing really produces coffee fantastic characteristics, rich sweetness, balanced acidity and beautiful fruity tones.