The Coffee Origin Project: Processing Methods of Nicaragua
From farm to cup.
Coffee processing is an integral part of crafting the flavour and character of your cup of coffee.
When coffee reaches you in its roasted form, it has gone through several phases. First as a coffee cherry which is harvested and processed, then as a green coffee bean prepared for roasting. Processing refers to the steps taken to remove the fruit of the coffee cherry and to dry the seed (or bean) to prepare it for roasting.
For the second offering in our Coffee Origin Project, BBCR is happy to provide Perdido Coffee nicaraguan beans that have been processed using one of three different methods: washed, natural and honey processed.
Washed coffee uses machines called depulpers to remove the skin and pulp from the seeds. But at Perdido Coffee not just any cherry is selected. Only the cherries with the perfect amount of ripeness and density to make sure they are sweet enough are selected. The cherries are placed in tanks where water is used to wash away the rest of the mucilage and the fruit that has caked onto the seed. Finally, the seeds go onto beds in the sun to dry out. This washed process highlights the true character of a Perdido Coffee bean.
Natural Processed Coffee
During the natural process, the fruit remains on the bean and dries undisturbed in perfect climatic conditions. Both Finca El Perdido and Finca Crystal possess the ultimate environment for this type of processing. Natural processed coffee beans offer an amazing and sweet flavourful coffee experience. It involves drying out the entire, freshly picked cherry with the seed inside and the pulp still attached. The entire coffee cherry is placed on drying beds in the sun where they are regularly raked to rotate them to enhance and coax out the ultimate flavour. The natural processing ensures the sugars and mucilage or flesh of the cherry coats and latches onto the seeds which enhance the flavours and make them taste sweeter. Once the coffee is dry, a machine then separates the pulp and skin from the seed. The natural process results in heavily bodied coffee beans with a deep and complex taste due to the additional time and attention spent during the processing. Raking the cherries by hand ensures an ultimately sweet tasting coffee bean which is well worth the effort. The natural processing used at Perdido Coffee ensures the seeds ferment cleanly as they dry with the full cherry intact.
Black Honey Coffee
As the name suggests, Honey processing results in the Perdido Coffee beans tasting as if someone had literally poured honey onto the beans. This method of coffee processing is considered halfway between washed and natural, resulting in a fruity but not too intense taste with complex flavours. The Black Honey processing uses a depulper to remove the seed from the handpicked cherry before it dries out. The mucilage, which is what gives it the name “honey”, stays on the seed as it is dried in the sun afterwards to produce a sweet and flavourful but mellow coffee bean.
Perdido Coffee is processed and housed at Sajonia, a high respected 'Beneficio' (processing plant) for Specialty Grade Coffee in the Matagalpa region. All of Perdido’s coffees are dried on raised beds at Sajonia where they are weighted and graded by certified Q graders. After drying in the Nicaraguan sun, the coffee is screened and the imperfections are hand-selected out and the coffee is raked to 11% humidity before being stored for 'reposa' for 6 months. Washed coffee is stored in 'pergamena' which means it just contains the skin. Honey is stored with the mucilage or flesh of the cherry and the Natural coffee is stored with the entire cherry intact. During 'reposa' or rest, something amazing happens: the coffee bean absorbs all the flavours from its surroundings. This is what gives Perdido Coffee its distinctive characteristics as well as increasing the quality of the final product. Coffee requires constant monitoring. At Perdido Coffee this is done to ensure the highest quality of coffee is harvested.
Not all Nicaraguan coffee beans are processed in the same way. With our second Coffee Origin Project release, you have the opportunity to explore and compare the different processing methods that lead to a unique and flavourful coffee experience… In your quest for the perfect cup, Perdido Coffee more than delivers.
Taste all three three processing methods by ordering the TRIO of Nicaragua - Coffee Origin Project.
The BBCR Team