Ethiopian coffee is renowned for its unique taste and aroma, and the country is considered to be the birthplace of coffee. Ethiopian coffee beans are processed using two main methods: washed process and natural process. Both methods result in coffee beans with distinct characteristics, but they are quite different from each other. In this article, we will explore the difference between washed process and natural process Ethiopian coffee.
The washed process involves removing the outer layer of the coffee cherry (called the mucilage) from the bean before drying it. This process results in a cleaner and brighter flavor profile, as the mucilage can contribute to a more fruity or tangy taste. The washed process also results in a higher acidity and a lighter body, making it ideal for coffee lovers who prefer a crisp and refreshing cup of coffee.
The washed process starts with the coffee cherries being picked and then sorted to remove any under-ripe or over-ripe beans. The cherries are then put into tanks where they are fermented for a period of time to help break down the mucilage. After fermentation, the beans are washed and then dried on raised beds or patios. This process can take up to three weeks, but it results in coffee beans that are uniform in size and shape, making them easier to roast and produce a consistent flavor profile.
The natural process, on the other hand, involves drying the entire coffee cherry, including the mucilage, before removing the outer layer. This process results in a coffee with a bolder and sweeter flavor profile, as the mucilage contributes to the coffee's natural sugars. The natural process also results in a lower acidity and a heavier body, making it ideal for coffee lovers who prefer a smooth and rich cup of coffee.
The natural process starts with the coffee cherries being picked and sorted in the same way as the washed process. However, instead of being fermented and washed, the beans are dried on raised beds or patios. This process can take up to two months, but it results in coffee beans with a unique flavor profile that is not found in other coffee-growing regions.
Flavor Profile: Washed coffee typically has a clean, bright, and acidic flavor profile, while natural coffee has a fruity, sweet, and sometimes earthy flavor profile.
Processing Method: Washed coffee is processed by removing the fruit from the coffee cherry and fermenting the beans, while natural coffee is dried with the fruit still attached to the beans.
Environmental Impact: Washed coffee processing typically requires a significant amount of water, while natural coffee processing has a lower water usage and can be more environmentally sustainable.
Price: Natural coffee is often more expensive due to the increased labor and cost involved in processing the coffee with the fruit still attached.
Growing Conditions: Natural coffee is typically grown in drier climates, while washed coffee can be grown in a wider range of climates and conditions.
These are general differences and may vary based on the specific coffee and processing methods.
in Conclusion, both washed process and natural process Ethiopian coffee offer unique flavor profiles that are sure to please different types of coffee drinkers. Whether you prefer a clean and bright taste, or a bold and sweet flavor, Ethiopian coffee has something to offer. The choice between washed process and natural process coffee ultimately comes down to personal preference, and it's always a good idea to try both to see which one you like best!
If you are interested to try excellent quality Ethiopian coffees please visit our Single Origin catalogue here