Natural process coffee. Something we’re quite drawn to here at Yorks Coffee Roasters, because we just can’t get enough of that natural sweet, fruity taste.
Natural coffees are dried still encased in the cherry, and then de-pulped after drying. Naturals have to be carefully dried, constantly turning them to ensure the coffee dries evenly to avoid strange flavours occurring. It is sometimes dried on raised-beds, or raked into an even layer on patios to dry in the sun. When it reaches a certain moisture level, the hull is removed and you’re left with a green bean ready for shipment.
Thanks to the cherry being dried fully intact, the bean absorbs more of the cherry’s fruit flavour than it would normally, and a certain amount of natural fermentation happens - resulting in even more distinct flavour profiles in the coffee.
Natural processing is one of the more lengthy processing types, as cherry is usually left for days or weeks to dry. It’s also labour intensive - cherry must be turned frequently to avoid defects or mould, and it is usually hulled by hand once dry.
The primary difference between natural and washed? You guessed it, washed coffees get washed. The cherry is removed almost immediately after picking, and the beans are then washed clean before drying begins. This results in a clean, uniform taste that can be easier to roast and work with, but you lose some of the natural fruit flavour that come with naturals.