Honey process or natural process might be listed on your coffee bag, but what do these terms mean? I’ll dive in explaining coffee processing with Part 1 of this 2-Part blog series.
Like the natural wine-making movement, honey and natural processed coffee puts an emphasis on processing coffee in a way that uses minimal or no input of other resources. By not adding or removing anything, or only doing so minimally, the coffees are, in a sense, allowed to ‘speak’ for themselves. As a result, natural and honey processed coffees are often known as being very expressive, complex coffees with taste and experience notes ranging all the way from intense fruitiness to bright acidity and viscous bodies.
Natural processed coffees do not add any water during processing, and do not remove anything from the coffee cherry, either. The skin and mucilage on the outside of the coffee cherry is left on, and the beans inside are essentially left to ferment inside of the fruit. The skin and mucilage on the outside of the cherry imparts sweet, fruity flavors onto the beans inside as a result of fermentation. Though there is nothing added to natural processed coffee, there are many different methods of natural processing, such as extended fermentation, carbonic maceration, and more, which play with different variables such as fermentation time, oxygen deprivation, etc.
Want to try a Natural? Stay tuned for our super limited-run Small Batch Reserve Pink Bourbon Natural Colombia, releasing exclusively online on Thursday, November 19th! In a mug of Pink Bourbon Natural, you’ll taste the juiciness of cherry limeade paired with floral notes of rose, the sweetness of strawberry, tropical notes of papaya, and a full, Malbec-like body for a full-on natural experience. Pink Bourbon Natural is a juicy example of what extended fermentation can do.
Honey processed coffee, which is sometimes referred to as Pulped Natural, is somewhere in between natural and washed process. Unlike natural processed coffee, honey processed coffee removes some of the pulp from the cherry, allowing it to dry without washing afterward. Since some of the mucilage on the outside of the bean is left on, what remains is akin to honey.
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