Recently a few  customers have asked “what’s pulped natural coffee” so I figured I’d share some of the details with ya.

One of our favorites Coffees in our lineup is our El Salvador El San Emilio which is currently being served as our Single origin espresso. It offers a slightly different processing method than our other current coffees we are roasting. We have found that coffee processed with this method  is a pleasure to work with and brew in our espresso machine.

Coffee processing involves the removal of the coffees fruit or “pulp” from the seed or “bean” and sun drying on patios or mechanical dryers while protected by a thick parchment before being husked and sorted for export as “green coffee”which is what we receive ready for roasting.

What are the different processing methods you may ask, well there are a few that coffee millers will use to develop the coffees flavor characteristics

Traditionally the processes we see are the Dry Process or “Natural” which the coffees are left whole, as intact cherries and allowed to sun dried directly on patios, and raised beds; once dried, the hard cherry pod is hulled to remove the skin, pulp and parchment in one step after the coffee had dried to the 10-13% moisture level. A great example of this can be found in our Ethiopian Sidamo which showcases how good a full natural coffee can be when it is done properly.

raised beds for drying

Full Natural Coffee drying on raised beds


Washed Process or “Washed” coffees are unloaded at the mill after picking for de-pulping, where the coffee cherry is “pulped”or removed, moved to tanks and allowed to ferment with or with out water from anywhere from 8-36 hours, later it is washed of all remaining mucilage and pulp and then allowed to sun dried on patios until they reach a 10- 12% moisture content

Washed Coffee

Washing Coffee with paddle


And one of our favorites is the Pulped Natural or “Honey”. During this process the coffee is de-pulped as in the washed process but the fermentation tanks are skipped leaving the sticky mucilage on the coffee and taken directly to the patios or raised beds for sun drying. The Pulped natural process can be a bit more labor intensive and harder to control the fermentation process due to the mucilage still being on the bean. this coffee can over ferment if not dried quickly or in humid environments. When all the steps are preformed correctly the results are a slight increase in sweetness, body and aromatics traditionally found in natural processed coffee, and a milder acidity than we usually find in most washed coffees.

Drying Pulped natural Coffee

Pulped Natural on Raised Beds

This process that is now seen in many central American growing regions was first offered in Brazil and has made this process famous where is it know as semi-washed.

So feel free to enjoy all the characteristics of the pulped natural coffee process and find what out what makes this coffee so tasty.

You can find our El Salvador San Emilo being served as our single origin espresso, as a great drip coffee, and is currently in our Stylo Blend as well.

Add your comments and let us know what you think about this coffee.

Share This