What is a honey processed coffee? What are the differences between the different colours? What's involved in the overall honeying process? What happens to the beans? How is a honey processed coffee different to a washed or natural processed coffee? What can you expect flavour wise from a honey processed coffee? Find out more here with our guide to honey coffee processing featuring Francisco Mena of Exclusive Coffees.
Starting out like a washed coffee, a honey or pulped natural uses a machine (demucilager) to get rid of the skin of the ripe coffee cherries after they are picked. The machine can be set to leave different amounts of the flesh (mucilage) behind, which will give the process it’s name - white honey has nearly none of the fruit left on, yellow a bit more, then red and finally black honey has just the skin removed. The green beans with mucilage on are left to dry in the sun before the beans get cleaned by machines at a Dry Mill.
Typically, honey processed and pulped natural coffees will be sweet and balanced, although a white honey will often be more like a washed coffee and a black honey can be very like a natural processed coffee.