Processing is the second in a series of courses about coffee origin. Processing picks up where the Terroir course ended — at the precise moment that the ripe coffee cherry is harvested. In this course, we learn about how coffee is looked after from the moment it ripens until it is dried and is ready to be roasted. The importance of processing cannot be overstated. It has as much impact as the terroir on the final success in the cup. Processing is becoming an increasingly creative and complex pathway for the development of coffee flavours.
It was once the case that growing regions had a traditional processing system associated with them, but the last decade has seen a decisive shift away from this tendency. Increasingly, farmers can augment the flavours of a coffee to their exact liking. Coffee buyers can now pre purchase coffees that have been processed in a range of methods from the same producer. It is an exciting time in the world of coffee — the diversity of coffee flavour has never been so rich and varied.
There are dozens of ways to process coffee, many of which we will explore in this course. However, three main workflows are involved in the processes that most of the world’s coffee goes through after it is harvested until it is bagged and ready for market. The most common of these is dry processing, commonly referred to as the natural process. Wet processing on the other hand breaks into two broad subsections: washed coffees that undergo an intentional fermentation phase and the pulped natural method sometimes called the honey process. Pulped naturals were introduced as means of mitigating some of the risk of overfermentaion in the washed and natural methods. This course will take an in depth look at washed, natural, and pulped natural processes, as well as looking into the most innovative new approaches to coffee fermentations around the globe.