Washed Process gives a balanced cup of coffee

Washed Process

The method coffee is processed can have a big impact on the flavor of the coffee. In the washed process the coffee bean or the “seed,” is removed from the coffee fruit or “cherry.” Let’s take a deep dive into washed process and it’s many variations to discover how it is done.

Step 1: Picking & Screening

The coffee cherries are hand-picked. The farmers pick only the ripe mature cherries and then screen them very carefully. In the screening process they try to eliminate twigs, leaves, and other foreign material. Next, it’s time for de-pulping.

Step 2: De-pulping

De-pulping may be done by hand or by machine, depending upon the mill.
The coffee cherry: the skin or pulp, mucilage, parchment, and the seed (or what most people refer to as the bean) is separated from the cherry.
De-pulpers are the machines that squeeze the cherries until the seeds pop out. In a machine-assisted process, the cherries are mechanically scrubbed and most of the mucilage is removed through friction.

Step 3: Washing

Generally, after the seeds and skins are separated, the seeds are moved into tanks where they go through either a ferment-and-wash method or a machine-assisted wet process to remove the rest of the mucilage, or the remaining fruit. This is done to clean the seeds before they are dried.

Ferment & Wash
In a ferment-and-wash process, the remaining mucilage is broken down by microbes and yeast via fermentation and then is washed with water again to remove the mucilage from the seeds. Fermentation time may very per varietal and mill. El Salvador Las Mercedes Pacamara: Fermentation for up to 36 hours in traditional tanks add a smooth body and balanced cup.
Machine-Assisted Wet Process
Other wet mills process cherries are received into ceramic tiled ditches, washed with fresh collected rainwater and fed into a pulper, which consists of rotating disks or cylinders, each one fitted with adjustable knives. These are designed to separate the bean from the flesh of the fruit while leaving each bean intact in its parchment envelope.

Step 4: Drying

After the seeds are washed, they are dried in the sun on clay patios, raised beds, or in machines. They are turned constantly to ensure even drying.

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