There are three primary methods of coffee processing. These methods are used to remove the outer layers of the coffee cherry to expose the coffee beans inside. The methods are:
1. Washed Process: This process involves removing the pulp and mucilage from the coffee cherries using water before drying them. This method results in a clean, bright flavor profile and is commonly used in Central and South America.
2. Natural Process: This process involves drying the entire coffee cherry, including the pulp and mucilage, in the sun. The cherries are frequently stirred to ensure even drying. This method produces a fruity, bold flavor and is popular in Africa.
3. Honey Process: This method is a blend of the washed and natural processes. The cherries are pulped, but some of the mucilage is intentionally left on the beans before drying them. This method produces a sweet and clean flavor profile.
Each method results in a different flavor and can impact the complexity, sweetness, acidity, and body of the coffee.