The basic principle of honey coffee processing is the collection of only ripe cherries. At the end of each harvest, cherries are collected, crushed manually or with the aid of mechanical shredders.
However, slime remains on the grain, we call it "mucilage". Grains with no exocarp are spread on "African beds", where they are usually stay for 15 to 20 days. During this time the water content is reduced to 11% and the sugar is decomposed. During the drying period grains need to be rake by hand, as the high content of vegetable slime makes the coffee slimy and grains at the bottom could moldy (anaerobic fermentation).
African beds are made from local sources - bamboo, wire mesh, netting and black sheets. At night, grains are wrapped and covered with a tarpaulin to prevent unwanted moisture during the night.
The advantage of this method is that it can also be carried out in remote areas and there is no need to transport it to often distant processing plant (unwanted fermentation and potential quality loss may occur during the journey).
No water drops are required! There is no need for large secadoras de café - dryers, which consume a lot of electricity and fossil fuels during drying.
Pulped natural – semi washed, wet Hulling (Indonesia)
During this process, the skin is removed from the coffee cherry, leaving the fruity mucilage intact during the drying process. The machinery used to eventually remove the mucilage is either pulped or taken off by forced demucilage equipment. Pulped natural coffee can have more body and lower acidity than the washed process, and a cleaner, more uniform cup than the natural process.
Special processing methods in Costa Rica
- White honey: 80-90% (or up to 100%) of mucilage removed
- Yellow honey: 50-75% of mucilage removed
- Red honey: 0-50% of mucilage removed
- Black honey: minimum mucilage remove
Distribution based on how much pulp is removed during wet processing.