Depending on the location where coffee is grown, as well as desired taste and aroma for the final product, coffee producers use different types of coffee processing methods.
For those who don’t know, coffee processing is a necessary step in coffee production during which coffee fruits are changed into the final product – coffee beans.
In countries which have frequent rainfalls and high level of air humidity, using the dry processing method is just impossible. So, the coffee producers from India, Indonesia and Vietnam have chosen to use different method called wet processing.
Since wet processing method is rather invasive in comparison with dry processing, it is used only for arabica coffee types. Robusta coffee beans are not processed with this method because of their low quality, low final price and finally, low profit.
The main characteristic of wet process is that pulp and all the skins in coffee fruit are removed before drying the coffee.
This method is completely automated and includes several steps:
- The first step includes cleaning and sorting of coffee berries, to remove all the dirt, leaves, overripe berries etc.
- In second step, coffee berries go through several machines used to remove pulp and flesh from the coffee bean.
- Next, coffee beans go to a large tank with water enriched with natural enzymes for next 24-36 hours. During that time, enzymes remove all that has not been removed during washing and pulping processes (this is the fermentation process).
- After fermentation, coffee beans are washed with clean water and sent to dry. Drying process is finished when coffee moisture level is 12.5% , instead of 60% as at the beginning of drying process.
- Finally coffee goes for one more cleaning. Different from first cleaning stage, this step is used just to clean coffee bean in case there are any leftovers and get it for the storage. This step is also called hulling (the term also used in dry process).
Wet process coffee taste and aroma
Coffee beans produced with wet method usually have brighter color and clean look.
Of course, taste and aroma are the most important part of each coffee bean.
The wet process coffee has lighter, clean and sharp taste (also known as light coffee) . It has nice fruity aroma. For these reasons some people love this coffee more than dry process coffee which has more earthy taste.