Processing From Fruit
Last time we learned about the different types of coffee. While the distinction between Arabica and Robusta is important, another major factor in coffee flavor is the process it goes through to become the roasted coffee bean we know and love. These processes vary throughout the world depending on the country and even sometimes the different regulations that are in place to regulate the coffee industry.
The coffee beans you know from Salty Sailor, fresh roasted and sent to your door, start out as a cherry fruit. The “bean” is the pit of the fruit that is processed, dried, often shipped, then roasted to perfection before it makes its way into your hands. The three main ways of processing beans are washed, natural process, and semi-washed (also known as “honey”). They each bring distinct flavor profiles to the coffee.
Washed beans are mechanically separated from the fruit, fermented for about 2 hours, and then dried in industrial dryers or on traditional drying tables. The process takes a lot of water and a lot of time. This creates the crisp and clean flavor profile often associated with Colombian coffee. The natural process takes fresh picked cherries to the drying beds. This keeps the sweetness of the fruit next to the bean for the longest time, resulting in a sweeter profile. Ethiopian coffee is processed this way. Finally, the middle option is a semi-washed process. The cherries are pulper washed and then sent to the drying beds without fermentation. Once they are dry, the dry mill takes off the outer, sticky casing. Brazilian coffee is a great example of this profile.
No matter where our coffee comes from, the beans must be delicately processed and transported. Coffee is sensitive to its environment and absorbs the flavor around it. This creates a need for quality control and testing with every roast, but also allows for unique creations like our Bourbon Barrel-Aged Variety. If you normally go for a Colombian (My personal favorite), give another one of our single origins a try. All of our single origins have a unique flavor profile because of the different processes involved in growing and processing each batch. No matter what, we take pride in making sure your coffee is purely delicious with every sip.