All About Coffee

How Coffee is Roasted

Coffee cherries must be processed soon after harvesting to prevent the pulp from fermenting around the bean. There are two types of processing known as dry and wet processing.

Dry processing is sometimes called "unwashed" or "natural" processing. Cherries are spread outside for 15 to 20 days. The cherries are exposed to the sun and stirred regularly to help them dry evenly. The dried cherries are then hulled by hand or by machine, removing the dried out pulp and parchment. This is the way coffee has been processed for centuries.

The other type of processing is known as wet or "washed" processing. A few hours after the cherries are harvested, the pulp is removed from the cherries. The beans are then washed in a process that involves cycles of fermentation and rinsing. Small amounts of fermentation don't hurt the bean but softens the remaining pulp and skin, making them able to be easily rinsed off. This is a better type of processing because it causes less damage to the bean than dry processing.

Once the coffee beans have been processed, they are sorted by size and looks, then bagged ready for shipment. Coffee beans that don't make the "grade" for export are normally used on a local basis.