There are three major types of coffee processing: washed, natural (dry) and honey.

Natural processing is the traditional type of coffee production dating back centuries to the origin of coffee, Ethiopia. After the coffee cherries are picked they are left to dry with the fruit completely intact as opposed to other processing methods which remove varying amounts of the fruit. Once the fruit fully dries, the outer part of the cherry is mechanically removed. Since the fruit is left on the seed during processing, it has a significant impact on the final taste of the coffee and not surprisingly natural coffees tend to be bright and fruity tasting. Since much is left to nature in this process, naturals can be inconsistent.

Natural processing is also called dry processing since no water is used.

Features of this process

  • Sugar and flavor absorbed by the seeds (beans) from the fruit of the cherry
  • Emphasised fruit flavors possible
  • Maximum fermentation yields highest acidity
  • Limited water needed
  • Inconsistent production results
  • Can be difficult to roast