What is Honey Process Coffee

What is Honey Process Coffee

Coffee is a great beverage that suits every mood. There are different types of coffees available that depend on their preparation method. One thing that makes coffee different from one another is its processing method. The way its beans are processed makes a great deal. There are two broad ways of processing the beans. The first is removing the flesh and leaving it to dry and the second is the natural dry process. In this article, we are going to talk about the honey process, which is a combined method of both.

So, if you want to know what honey process coffee is, you have come to the right place.

What is Honey Process Coffee?

There are two processing methods, washing, and drying. It is a hybrid that comprises both these methods. This coffee processing method is known as the hardest and the most strenuous processing method. It hulls the coffee and removes the last layers of its skin, protecting the inner beans. The beans spread on drying beds and regularly turned in every hour for at least 10-15 days. The grouping process is on the basis of the flesh percentage they leave over the bean after the processing.

Does Honey Process Coffee Involve Honey In It?

When we hear the term honey process coffee, we often picture beans that are coated in honey. But, in reality, it does not have any amount of honey in its process. The honey depicts the mucilage the processor leaves. It is the sticky and sugary layer found beneath the skin of the beans. So, the amount of mucilage determines the honey content of the coffee. Honey processing is also known as the washed process, but it does not involve the process of the washed method.

Every region has given a distinctive name to the process like the Sumatra region calls it the wet hulling process. In the honey process, only the ripest cherries with high-grade quality. The cherries are transferred through the pulper splitting the skin. It uses the centrifugal force to throw the beans out. Instead of putting them into the fermentation tanks and other washing channels. The beans are left to dry with mucilage content in it. Often a mechanical demucilager is used to set the mucilage amount.

Honey Processing Will Use Lesser Water

Compared to other processing methods, the honey process will use less water. The wet or washed coffee process will evidently have water. In this method, 40 gallons of water transfer the seed. At the same time, the honey process is a water-saving method. Even at the last stage of mucilage removal, processors use a mechanical mucilage removal device to do the necessary steps. Only the final wash requires water to clean off the beans for drying and packaging. Hence, the honey coffee process is good to save water and make use of other devices.

How Does Honey Process Coffee Taste Like?

Honey process indeed has a different flavor profile altogether. Regular drinkers would know it includes the notes of brown sugar, chocolate, cedarwood, spice, etc. It might feel like the barista has added honey or brown sugar to your cup of this beverage. But,this process does not have any honey in it. The name comes from its stickiness and texture. The coffee that you prepare from these beans has a fruity taste with intense sweetness. There are several store-bought honey processed beans that you can buy from the market.

Mucilage Percentage of Different Honey Process

Costa Rica is known as the hub of coffee processing, and you can find different types of honey processes. Here are the few examples of mucilage percentage-:

  • White Honey Process: 80-100% mucilage
  • Yellow Honey Process: 50-75% mucilage
  • Red Honey Process: 0-50% mucilage
  • Black Honey Process: This process only removes the least amount of mucilage.

It is important to understand that when the processor attains the target mucilage, coffee is spread for drying. The beans have to constantly toss and turn to reduce the chances of fermentation and minimize moisture. At this point in time, the coffee beans will look like candied nuts. It gives it the name honey process. The processor needs to store the bean before they are ready for the distribution.

How Processing Affects TheFlavor of Coffee?

When you drink honey processed along with others, you will find a great difference. While honey process coffee is more complex, the wash and natural process are lighter. The type of processing method makes a great difference to the flavor profile. For instance, the honey process will make the final brew darker, sweeter, and fruity, while other processing methods make them lighter on the notes. The honey process has been evolving over the years. Different variants of honey process make them distinctive from the others. From the amount of mucilage to the amount of fruit on the beans, every little aspect creates a big difference in the flavor profile.

How is Honey Process Coffee Different From Others?

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of processing methods to make fine coffee. Among all the processing methods, the honey process, black honey process, and pulp natural process are quite famous. While we are talking about processing method, we need to understand how they are different from the others. The first main difference is that the honey process does not involve honey in it. The beans come from fruits that processors grind and brew. Mucilage is the sticky ad sugary layer on the beans. It has a golden amber color and a sticky texture to it.

While the washed process contains water in it, the honey process does not have the involvement of much water. Every step in the washed process involves water in it. The honey process only uses water in the last stage when the mucilage has to dry on the beans. Processor removes the mucilage with mechanical devices and avoids the usage of water. The honey proves coffee does not dry out the beans like the natural pulped coffee process. Unlike the black honey process, the honey process does not use the fermentation process.

What is Wash Processed Coffee?

It is a popular processing method in Central America due to water availability in the region. This process mainly involves soaking of the beans that helps in softening them and removing the cherries. Later the coffee ferments and washes in water to remove the mucilage. Often depulper, a mechanical device used to remove the cheery.

The beans have to dry in the sun or put into mechanical driers. The washed process will depict the characteristics of the particular location, its temperature, soil, altitude, etc. Generally, the washed processed has light tasting notes. As compared to the natural process coffee, it has a citrusy and chocolaty flavor profile. The best example of washed coffee is Guatemala Huehuetenango. It is a clean coffee with notes of dark honey and cinnamon.

What is Pulped Natural Processed Coffee?

It is a simple and cost-effective process for processing coffee. The pulped natural coffee process is also the oldest and environment-friendly processing method still popular in some parts of the country. This method comprises drying the beans on a patio.

The processor uses a hulling machine to take out the dried cherry. The cheery dries around the bean that will keep the earthy and fruity flavors intact. The Ethiopia Sidamo is a pulped natural process coffee with a similar taste to that of a blueberry muffin. The pulped natural coffee process is becoming a growingly popular process for coffee processing. It keeps the flavors intact and even adds nuances. This approach has helped farmers to increase their coffee production and get a competitive edge in the market.


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