Natural Process (Dry)
Coffee fruit processed in this manner is harvested and then placed in the sun to dry. The fruit is picked off the trees in varying degrees of ripeness and separated accordingly. The fruit is spread on a concrete/brick/tile patio or raised mat, and the fruit is left on the beans during the entire process. To achieve an even level of drying the cherries must be raked regularly. The drying process can take up to 4 weeks. With the fruit drying on the beans, certain compounds are being absorbed. The result is a coffee with fuller body, more sweetness and a fruitier more complex flavor.
Washed Process (Wet)
At the end of each harvest day the fruit is delivered to the wet mill. They are first put in a tank of water for cleaning and density sorting. Ripe fruit sinks to the bottom and unripe, over-ripe and foreign matter floats to the top and is removed. The ripe fruit is then routed through a depulping machine.
This machine pinches the beans out of the cherry leaving them sheathed in mucilage (a gelatinous sticky layer high in pectins).
The mucilage covered beans are then moved to tile or cement tanks to break down the mucilage via fermentation. The beans can be fermented either with additional water or not. The process is affected by altitude, temperature and humidity, but usually takes between 12-72 hours. After fermentation is complete the remaining mucilage is removed using manual or mechanical methods.
The washing channels are also the first means to separate beans. Lighter beans move through the channel first and denser beans last. Once mucilage removal is complete the beans are then dried.
Semi-Washed / Pulp Natural
Mechanical Demucilaging: after pulping the coffee is run through a machine that uses small amounts of water to lubricate and remove the mucilage as it spins inside the machine. The mucilage is removed by friction between individual beans as well as the walls of the machine.
Pulped Natural: coffee cherries are run through a typical depulper then sent straight to the drying patios or raised drying beds.