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Coffee is an inherent drink in the lives of people. Avid coffee lovers start every day with a mug of this beverage. Java provides energy thanks to a natural stimulant, caffeine.
Most people don’t know what happens to java cherries after picking from threes. If you’re one of them, scroll down below and read about java processing techniques.
What Is Coffee Handling?
Java pods in the form most people know them are seeds only. They are derived from java cherries. This fruit consists of protective skin, an extra layer called the pulp, and a seed. Only clean pods should be roasted and milled for brewing java.
There are some distinct ways of separating the protective coverings from the seeds. They are called java processing techniques. Each of them provides a particular impact on beans. As a consequence, the acidic, sweetness, and body depend on a handling technique.
Most Popular Coffee Processing Methods
There are four main ways how java pods get separated from the external skin, pulp, and mucilage. They are completely different and depend on the area of coffee origin. Countries that have vast water resources use wet processing methods. However, farmers in regions that have a lack of water apply the dry handling methods. Scroll down below and discover more about every handling method in more detail.
It is the most widespread way of handling java. The natural handling technique is also called dry. It is a traditional way of coffee processing invented in Ethiopia, the region of coffee origin. It implies four essential stages. Each of them is very important.
First of all, cherries are sorted manually. Workers sort the ripest ones from others. After this, they put the sorted cherries on drying beds. The seeds have to lie in the scorching sun inside cherries for five weeks, on average.
Since beans get dried inside the cherries, the outer layer starts the fermentation process, producing sugar. Workers rake the cherries constantly to avoid spoiling and get them dried from all the sides equally. Thanks to fermenting, coffee beans processed in this way become sweeter and more syrupy. At the last stage, coffee beans are removed from the cherries. The de-pulping process is automated with the help of pitting machines.
This way of handling coffee is entirely different from the traditional one. It’s called wet as this way of coffee processing needs a lot of water. However, it’s the most efficient way of handling coffee beans.
In the beginning, collected cherries are put into a large container with water for quick sorting. Good ripe fruits sink in the tank while unripe cherries float. It helps sort tons of cherries very fast. After this, the sorted fruits are delivered into a de-pulping tool that removes the outside layers.
Nevertheless, mucilage, the coating on beans, cannot be removed by machines. Thereupon, the beans go to another tank and get washed from mucilage and other leftovers. Finally, seeds get drained in the sun. The taste of washed coffee beans is crisper and cleaner. The best Guatemala coffee beans are processed using the wet method.
Unfortunately, this way of coffee handling harms the environment. Processing facilities produce large amounts of water with leftovers, dirt, and a high pH level.
For starters, cherries got sorted with the help of water tanks. After this, coffee seeds get separated from fruits with the help of pitting machines. Then, coffee beans get dried naturally, using the sun. At this stage, the mucilage induces the fermentation process. Correspondingly, the amount of mucilage left on pods determines their sweetness. Seeds get racked and rotated while drying in the sun.
At the final stage, hulling machines eliminate the dried mucilage from java pods. There are three major types of coffee seeds prepared in this way: black, red, and yellow. The type of honey-processed seeds depends on the frequency of raking.
It is a distinctive java handling process that is also called semi-washed coffee. Cherries get sorted fast, using large tanks of water. After, ripe fruits get pitted by machines. The beans are put in plastic bags. Since machines don’t remove mucilage, it remains on beans.
Over time, the mucilage turns into a thick husk that covers the beans. It got removed by the hulling machine. After this stage, completely clean beans are put on beds to get dried in the sun. The wet-hulled method allows processing coffee very fast. This way of coffee brings a nutty-chocolate taste. Beans, handled in this way, can help brew a tasty mug of pour-over beverage.
There are no best and worst coffee handling ways. Each of the four methods is unique and brings particular taste peculiarities to coffee pods. Therefore, it’s recommended to try coffee handled in different ways and choose your favorite.