Dry Natural Process
Arabica coffee is grown in tropical countries around the world. Once harvested by hand, arabicas are processed at the farm or community washing stations. They are either fully-washed, semi-washed, honey processed, or dry natural processed. The use of water in coffee processing is one of the biggest environmental concerns. Water use varies from region to region, depending on traditional practices and water availability. At Galloping Goose, we feature several dry-process naturals with fantastic cup profiles.
With sun-dried naturals, the ripe coffee cherry is spread on drying beds. The fruit (also known as ripe cherries) dries, and the two beans inside each cherry develop their unique flavour. Once fully dried, the outer shell is husked. The coffee is then sorted, graded, cupped and sacked for export. This process does not use any water! Thus, naturals have many environmental benefits, particularly in regions where water is scarce, like many parts of East Africa.
Arabicas are most commonly fully washed. That means the coffee cherry's fruity skin is peeled off, and two beans are soaked in water to ferment. The goal of fermentation is to remove the mucilage, break down the fruit's sugars, and wash the beans before drying.
Honey processed coffee is a hybrid that combines elements of both techniques to create new flavour differentiation. Cherries are de-pulped but allowed to dry without washing. Some of the fruit is still there but not as much as in natural processed coffee. The name "Honey Process" comes from the remaining sticky mucilage, which changes to a honey-like yellow colour. One benefit to producers is that honey processing uses less water.