Coffee Processing Methods & How it Influences Coffee Flavour

Coffee is a popular beverage that is enjoyed hot or cold in almost every part of the world. There are so many ways to make a good cup of coffee and there are just so many preferences among coffee drinkers.

But for coffee enthusiasts, it’s all about getting the authentic flavour of the coffee. Maybe that’s why some coffee fanatics are willing to pay ridiculously high Brazil coffee beans prize for the sake of getting the rustic coffee taste. However, there’s a major catch when finding a perfect flavour of the coffee.

While many brands claim to offer real coffee flavours, so much of that taste is lost in the processing method of the coffee beans. Yes! Coffee processing methods greatly influence the flavour of coffee beans.

Coffee Processing is a crucial production stage where the fruit that is picked from the coffee plant undergoes a process. Processing involves separating the coffee beans from the pulp and skin of the fruit.

There are majorly four processing methods used for this production phase – washed, natural, honey and wet-hulled process. Each of these methods impacts the chemical components of coffee beans which eventually influences the overall coffee flavour.

Below we have listed the coffee processing methods and how each of these methods impacts the flavour of the coffee.

Natural Processing

Natural processing is an age-old processing method and is pretty common in areas where there is less availability of water. Places such as Yemen, Western Ethiopia fall in this category.

In natural processing, the coffee cherries are dried out while the fruit still remains intact. This particular processing method brings in a distinct flavour profile for the coffee beans. Since a greater amount of raw material makes its way into the seed from the pulp obtained.

The successful completion of the natural processing method gives the coffee beans a nice fruit flavour that is distinctive and very much valued among coffee drinkers. However, if the natural processing method doesn’t go well then, the beans can taste dirty.

The Natural Processing method requires a lot of manual labour as the cherries that are left for drying out needs to be constantly raked. Over the years, the natural processing method has found its way back into popularity.

Washed Processing

The washed processing method is pretty common for obtaining speciality coffees. In this specific method, the coffee cherries are firstly depulped using a specialized machine that may differ in size.

Once the cherries are extracted, the seeds are then fermented either in a water tank or by the application of the dry fermentation method. In dry fermentation, the workers stack them in small piles where the bacteria and yeast grow on them that eventually eats the sugar component present on the seed’s exterior.

After the fermentation process is complete, the seeds are then washed and left out for drying. Once they are dry, the coffee seeds are sent to mills for removing the last layer known as parchment.

The Washed Processing method is the most consistent type of processing method as the unripe fruits float up and are separated conveniently. The final result from this processing method is clear coffee flavour and active acidic profile.

Wet-Hulled Processing

The wet-hulled processing method is commonly seen in Indonesia and the coffee flavour out of this processing method gives a very earthy taste. The process is pretty much similar to the Washed Processing method.

The only difference here is that the seeds are milled or hulled prior to being allowed to dry. The freshly hulled coffee beans dry much quicker than the parchment drying method.

This type of flavour profile has garnered quite a fan that likes the earthy forest-like taste in the coffee.

Honey Processing

This method of processing is a hybrid kind where the coffee beans are depulped extracting the pulp and skin. However, distinctive amounts of mucilage are allowed to be present on them.

The sugary sticky part that is left on the seeds goes through metabolic changes throughout the remaining processing method and ultimately affects the coffee bean’s chemical composition.


These are the four popular coffee processing methods used in the production stage which considerably influences the coffee flavour. Brazil coffee beans prize may also vary because of the processing method used for coffee cultivation.

Each processing method gives a distinct flavour to coffee which consumers like as per their preference.


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