Know Your Beans

Understanding the difference between washed and natural beans is an important factor in selecting the right coffee for you. Washed coffee beans have the fruit or pulp removed prior to aging. This tends to produce a bean that is cleaner (thinner mouth-feel), lighter in body with a distinctive brightness or acidity. Washed beans produce a more consistent cup of coffee. Natural coffee beans are aged with the fruit or pulp left on the bean. As the beans dry in the sun, some of the moisture transports dense sugars and flavor elements that are best described as fruity into the bean. Honeyed beans are all naturally processed. Natural beans produce a fruit-forward (initial taste sensation) full-bodied cup of coffee. The washed bean process is far more common as the beans can be processed faster and more reliably. There is a risk of over-fermentation of the pulp during the natural drying process that ruins the bean.

Jim Wilkins