roasting

Berries to Beans: Coffee Processing

Ever look at a bag of coffee and wondered what it means when it says washed, honey, natural, pulped? Have you ever thought why does it matter? Or will this really impact the flavor of the coffee? The answer is YES! This thing called processing does matter! It can make your coffee taste terrific or terrible! So what is processing, and how do these different ways of processing impact the cup of coffee you're going to drink?

Processing is the method of how the fruit of the coffee bean is removed. There are three major types of processing which include natural, honey, and washed. Now, let's dive into these three!

The natural process is the first one we will be discussing.

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This process is the oldest processing, having it’s origin start in Ethiopia. In this process the coffee cherries are laid out on a patio out in the sun until the fruit around the bean is completely dried out. Once the cherry is dry the fruit is removed and the only thing left is the bean. When this process is done right, it creates some of the most flavorful coffee. Although this process is the most eco friendly and disrupts the bean the least, there are still some issues that may arise in this process. If the coffee fruit is not rotated correctly it might cause the fruit around the bean to rot or brown which can impact the flavor of the coffee.

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The next process is the washed processed. The washed process is a very common process to find from most places. The washed process is a process in which the flavor profile of the bean is most clear. They start by depulping the bean from the fruit. The bean is then placed in fermentation tanks for 18-24 hours to break down the mucilage (slimy layer around the bean) around the bean. After the 18-24 hours the beans are washed to stop the fermentation process and dried. This way of processing solely focuses on the bean, and highlights the flavors of single origin coffees. One potential issue with this process that can happen is the bean not absorbing enough natural sugars from the fruit creating a not so pleasant taste.

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The last process to talk about is the honey process. The name honey process comes from how sticky the beans are during this process. The honey process is very unique where the fruit is depulped, like in the washed process, but instead of fermenting to get the mucilage off, they lay it out to dry like in the natural process. There are varying leaves of honey processed coffee depending on how much mucilage is left on it. This coffee tends to be intensely sweet, but this sweetness might overpower the other flavor notes the coffee might have.

Whatever your coffee region preference might be, try a different processing method! Each one creates totally unique coffee, and can really enhance the bean itself! And if you want to start check out our shop page of our website!

Cheers,

Daniel and Krystjan

The Myth of Acidity

Acidity. The ‘taste’ that lots of people prefer to not be in their coffee. Many people think about acidity in a way that reminds them of sour, bitter, or even something that gives them heart burn. But for people in the coffee industry, acidity is sought after in the coffee flavor profile. When we say this coffee is acidic we are not talking about the coffee’s pH level or natural acidity, we are talking more about a flavor note.

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If it's not the acidity in the coffee, what’s causing the heartburn or upset stomach or acid reflex?

Well, it could be the coffee’s natural acidity. One way to think about this is, if you experience acid reflex, heartburn, or an upset stomach after you drink juice, soda, wine, or beer. If you do not experience those things after drinking juice, soda, wine, or beer, than coffee probably is not causing heartburn, upset stomachs, or acid reflex either. Coffee falls around a 5 on the pH scale which is means it has a lower acidic content than any of those drinks. But if you only experience it after drinking coffee here are a few reasons why. It could be the caffeine content in the coffee, it could be caused by the coffee being prepared poorly (i.e., grind size, storage, age, brewed improperly) or it may have some bean remnants left in it. Or it could even be caused by adding milk, dairy might tone down the natural acidity in coffee, during the moment, but it might cause issues for later.

What is acidity to the coffee industry?

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The coffee industry refers to acidity as a flavor note. Acidity is found in coffee beans around the world, but at varying levels. There are five major types of acidity; tartaric, acetic, phosphoric, citric and malic.

Tartaric acid usually gives the coffee a grape-like undertone. Tartaric acid is also very found in wine giving it that pleasant tartness we all enjoy.

Acetic acid which if too overpowering gives almost a vinegar taste, but when roasted correctly it can a beautiful lime note in a coffee.

Phosphoric acid is a very desired acid in coffee because it produces a nice sweetness to coffee, along with tropical fruit notes such as mango.

Citric acid, which is very common, citric gives coffee those, you guessed it, citrus notes, such as orange grapefruit, and sometimes even lemon. Citric acid is one of the more noticeable acids present in coffee.

Malic acid. Malic acid when enhanced in roasting coffee gives coffee a nice apple/pear crispness and sometimes even a stone fruit flavor note.

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Next time you are at your local coffee shop, don't be afraid of the acidity. Enjoy it! Try to figure out which acid is more accentuated than the others, and if you like that or not!

Cheers,

Krystjan and Daniel