venerdì 22 marzo 2024

How Coffee is Produced?

how coffee is produced


author: Editorial Staff

Discover the world of coffee processing through an immersive journey through its traditional and innovative methods. Explore the different techniques, from the natural method to the washed and honey method, to understand how they influence the taste and quality of this incredible beverage. Delve into the crucial role of producers in the creation of coffee and be surprised by the variety of flavour profiles that emerge from each individual bean. Discover what makes each coffee production method unique.

Where are the largest coffee plantations?

Most coffee production takes place in specific, limited areas where the Coffea plant finds optimal environmental conditions. This plant thrives mainly in altitudes between 200 and 2000 metres, in warm regions, where temperatures stay between 15° and 25° Celsius. Below are the coffee production percentages for the various regions:

- About 70% of the coffee produced globally comes from the Central and South American regions, with significant production coming mainly from Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
- 20% of global production comes from Asia, with Indonesia and India in particular prominence.
- The remaining 10% of global coffee production originates in Africa, with countries such as Angola, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Uganda contributing significantly.

What are the coffee processing processes?

Traditionally, the two approaches used to process coffee fruits are the dry and wet methods, from which natural and washed coffees are derived respectively.

Recently, new ways of coffee production have emerged that have gained popularity, allowing even some coffees processed by the natural method to be equally considered as fine coffees. We know you are curious, so we will elaborate on these methods later.

Do you love the world of coffee? Read a real gem about coffee 'The Coffee of the Arts: Pintor do Cafe', an artist who sees coffee as the focus of his life! Let us continue our analysis by pointing out that in addition to the two mentioned above, since the late 1990s, a method that we can define as intermediate, known as the 'honey' method, has become particularly popular among Latin American producers.

In summary, the main ways of processing coffee fruits can be categorised into three: natural, washed and honey.

Interested in knowing how much caffeine is in a coffee? Find out in our dedicated article!

Coffee processing method: Natural

The first method we will examine is natural, the oldest coffee production process. Originating in Ethiopia after the discovery of coffee, it has been used for centuries and continues to be in use today.

This process involves drying the coffee drupes in the sun together with the skin, pulp, parchment and seed. The drupes harvested must be perfectly ripe, and during the drying process, it is essential to maintain an initial moisture content of between 60% and 65%, then reducing it to around 12% to avoid mould growth. Following the steps perfectly is essential for proper coffee processing.

Constant ventilation and handling of the drupes during drying and fermentation, which lasts about 25-30 days, are essential to avoid undesirable problems in the pulp. Drying must be carefully controlled to avoid ochratoxin (OTA) contamination.

Once dry, the drupes are husked using special machines to separate the green coffee bean from the dry part, another crucial step in coffee processing.

The choice of the natural method is influenced by the weather conditions during the harvest and is considered the process with the least impact on the environment. It is a method that was developed by populations living in low rainfall and water scarce territories.

Why choose natural coffee?

Although natural coffees were once considered inferior to washed coffees, they have gained popularity among consumers and coffee producers in recent years. When carefully executed, the natural coffee production process can lead to the creation of extraordinary flavour profiles, deep and complex, enriched with exceptional sweetness and fruity notes.

Characteristics of natural coffees

• Greater aromatic complexity: the influence of the fruit during the drying process gives the coffee a richer and more complex flavour profile.
• Intense sweetness and fruity notes: the fermentation of the sugars in the fruit gives the coffee an extremely pleasant sweetness and fruity notes.
• Full body: natural coffees tend to have a rounder body, particularly noticeable when more mucilage is left.

Now that we have seen what characteristics develop with the natural coffee production method, let us move on to the well-known coffee processing method known as 'Washed'.

Coffee processing method: Washed

What does washed coffee mean? Also known as the 'wet' processing method, lavato is another fundamental approach to coffee production. Unlike the natural process, in the washed method, the pulp is removed mechanically before drying.

The pulp is removed using special machines, after which the beans are immersed in water to ferment and decompose the remaining mucilage. Once fermentation is complete, the beans are washed and then dried, following a process similar to that of natural coffees.

Why choose washed coffee?

Washed coffees focus exclusively on the bean, allowing a greater perception of taste without significant influence from the surrounding pulp. The quality of a washed coffee depends on several factors, including soil, climate, ripening and coffee processing.

The quality of a washed coffee depends entirely on the absorption of natural sugars and nutrients by the bean during its growth cycle. It is influenced by factors such as soil, climate, ripeness, fermentation, washing and drying.

Washed coffees reflect not only the experience of the farmers, but also their fundamental role in creating the taste of coffee through the process.

This method of coffee production brings out the distinctive characteristics of an individual coffee bean like no other.

This is why many coffees prefer the washed process.

Characteristics of washed coffees

• Purer taste: without the presence of mucilage, the taste profile of washed coffee is more defined and cleaner.
• Consistency in taste: as the fermentation process is completed before drying, it is easier to control the final taste profile of the coffee.
• Pronounced acidity: the reduced influence of sugars in the washing process allows the development of more pronounced acidulous notes.

Now that we have seen which characteristics develop with the washed coffee method, let us move on to the more special coffee processing method known as 'Honey'.

Coffee processing method: Honey

Mainly used in Central America, such as Costa Rica and El Salvador, coffee production by the Honey method represents a middle way between washed and natural.

In the honey method, the drupes are mechanically stripped before drying, but the machines are adjusted to leave a certain amount of mucilage on the beans, making them sticky during processing.

Once husked, the grains are immediately dried. Due to the lower presence of mucilage, the risk of over-fermentation is reduced compared to the natural coffee production process, while the sweetness and body in the cup are enriched by the sugars from the excess pulp.

Coffee varieties derived from honey processing are commonly classified into different shades: black (black), red (red), yellow (yellow) and white (white).

This subdivision is based on the amount of mucilage remaining on the bean after the stripping stage and the duration of the drying process.

This is therefore where these designations come from, black honey coffees have more mucilage, while white honey coffees have less.

These small differences within the coffee production method can indeed make a difference in the final flavour of the beverage.

Why choose honey coffee?

Honey coffees offer a taste experience that lies somewhere between a washed and a natural coffee, with a balanced sweetness and fruity complexity.

You can well imagine, therefore, that the amount of mucilage left on the beans influences the final result of the coffee, with the black honey varieties being closer to natural and the white honey varieties closer to washed.

What characteristics are imparted if the Honey coffee production method is followed? Let us look at them together.

Characteristics of honey coffees

• Flavour flexibility: from the sweetness of the black honeys to the cleanliness of the white honeys, you can choose a variety of taste profiles to suit different palates.
• Greater variety: with the different tones of honey, you can appreciate how different levels of stripping and drying affect the same type of coffee.
• Balanced acidity: thanks to the partial fermentation of sugars during drying, honey coffees offer a balance between sweetness and acidity.

We hope this overview of coffee processing methods has helped you better understand the characteristics and differences.

Please feel free to share your favourite processing method!

The Malabar Monsoon India by Caffè Roen

We would like to introduce you to one of our varieties, a type of coffee that is only processed in India, the Malabar Monsoon India coffee. The famous Malabar Monsoon coffee, made from carefully selected natural Arabica beans, represents the excellence of the Indian coffee tradition.

Produced in the coastal region of Malabar in south-west India, it is artisan-roasted in our own facility. Here, the best beans of this variety undergo the unique monsoon process, stored for months in special warehouses protected from the rain but exposed to the hot, humid monsoon winds.

This treatment swells and dries the beans, completely altering their sensory characteristics. The result is a delicious single-origin blend, rich in an intense and persistent flavour, with typical notes of spices, malt and dried fruits.

Prepared in beans and served as espresso, this coffee produces a voluminous crema and a syrupy, full-bodied body.

These sensory characteristics, combined with low acidity, give Malabar Monsoon coffee a distinctive balance, appreciated by connoisseurs who seek intense and distinctive flavours.

What are you waiting for to try it? You can find it in our SHOP!

If you have further questions or curiosity, discover our blog where you will find lots of articles on the world of coffee!

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to the Newsletter to be always updated on all the news and promotions