Coffee Processing: Honey And Pulped-Natural

Pulped-natural processing was developed in Brazil as a method for drying coffee more quickly when compared to the Natural processing method. It is being more refined and becoming extremely popular for specialty coffee as Honey processing.

First, coffee is picked, either by hand or mechanically. The picked cherries might be “floated” in water to remove any over-ripe cherries, leaves, sticks, or other debris. Coffee will also typically float if the seed did not develop properly or was damaged in some way.

The “sinkers” are sent to the depulper which is designed to remove the cherry’s fruity flesh or pulp. The pulper will either scrape away the fruit or flesh of the cherry or it will squeeze the cherry, forcing the seed out through a screen.

After pulping, the coffee may be passed through a Demucilager. This machine will use water and rotors to remove varying amounts of the coffees’ mucilage. The amount of mucilage left on the seed will impact how quickly it dries. More mucilage on the seed will take longer to dry. In many cases, this step is skipped.

After pulping/demucilaging the coffee will be laid out to dry. The length of the drying time will be drastically influenced by the temperature and humidity of the environment. It may also be manipulated by turning more or less frequently or adjusting the depth of the drying bed.

The length of the drying time with dictate what type of honey will form. Darker honey more similar to a natural will occur from long drying times, and lighter honey more similar to a washed coffee will result from faster drying times.