In my time of admiring and exploring coffee, tasting it has always been my favorite experience; I see tasting coffee as a sort of color theory for your mouth. My adventure in this “color theory” was first sparked by a Washed coffee. It was wildly juicy, colorfully crisp, and subtly herbal. This cup of coffee hit all ends of the color wheel and created beautiful harmony and balance. How are these distinct and colorful notes held and transported in a little bean, you may wonder? It all starts in the process! Meet one of the most widely universal and uniquely versatile coffee processing methods, the Washed Process:
Found in countries all around the coffee belt, the washed process is known for its efficiency and reliability on the farm level. Methods and equipment for the Washed process are slightly different from place to place but the design remains very universal. The fresh and clean personalities of washed coffees can be traced straight down to how they are processed. Water and timing!
You can view “Washed” as a loose definition which typically means that the coffee seed has been removed from the coffee fruit as quickly and as cleanly as possible. Part of this process of removing the fruit from the seed is called “depulping”. Depulping happens as soon as possible in the washed process, usually within 8-12 hours of harvesting. After depulping, the seeds are covered in a sticky fruit juice called mucilage. The sticky seeds can then be brought through either a fully washed processing method, or a semi-washed process to help remove the mucilage.
These two processing methods can bring forward different qualities in the coffee… The fully washed process is when the seeds first sit in a fermentation tank with water before being rinsed and dried. This method takes more patience and time than others, but it accelerates fermentation and brings out unique qualities in the coffee that you may not get from other methods. The semi-washed method is more time efficient, as the fermenting/soaking step is mostly skipped. Rinsing and drying begins almost right away which allows for much more control in the process, and in the end, gives you more balanced qualities in the cup. Either method, whether it be fully washed or semi washed, produces dependably sweet, clean, and colorfully fruity tasting experiences.
Next time you’re in our cafes, or shopping our online store from afar, I invite you to grab a bag of washed coffee and focus on the unique tasting notes! Elevate your experience even more by pairing your cup of washed coffee along with its tasting notes… a slice of a Honey Crisp apple, a handful of roasted almonds… You’ll find similarities and parallels that create really colorful and enjoyable experiences.
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