Honey Process Coffee compared to Wet Process
Deeper tasting notes, a more complex body and lower acidity are characteristics of Honey Process coffee. In contrast to the wet process where the coffee berry is washed off of the bean, the honey process involves removing the coffee berry from the bean through grinding off the berry skin and pulp, also referred to as mechanical demucilage. This process leaves some pulp on the bean.
Coffee beans grow inside fruits that ripen to red bulbs at harvest time. The fruit itself has been removed prior to drying since ancient times. Modern washed coffee, also known as the “wet process,” involves removing pulp from coffee beans with large quantities of water before the drying process begins. This process is the least labor intensive, which explains why wet processed coffee is also less expensive. Of course, its also less sustainable given how much water is required.
Honey process uses a variety of techniques or machinery to basically grind the pulp off the bean. The removal process however is not as thorough as washing beans, so a small amount of the pulp remains on the bean, where it congeals as it dries, turning into “mucilage”. Mucilage developed into a honey colored gelatinous substance as it dries, hence the use of the term honey in honey process coffee.
What does Honey Processed Coffee Taste Like?
The mucilage imbues the coffee bean with a wider range of tasting notes – typically fruity or floral hints – as well as a deeper, muskier and more satisfying texture. If you enjoy light roast coffees you already know these notes, but you also know that the complexity of tisane notes comes with higher acidity. In a honey coffee, fruity and floral notes are present even at a medium roast because of the strength of the mucilage, and the entire process tamps down acidity. The richness and complexity of honey process coffee does not also necessarily involve additional sourness, making for new dimensions of flavor alongside classic coffee flavors that we all know.
There are also benefits to Honey Process in addition to the coffee drinking experience. By cutting down on the tremendous amount of water needed in the wet process, the Honey Process is more sustainable. In drier regions, the wet process can tax local streams or water tables, but the Honey Process involves much less water and is thus environmentally preferable.
Cafe Jose imports very high quality honey processed, single origin coffee beans from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, which are additionally strict hard (SHB) beans. A specialty coffee term, strict hard beans are usually grown at high altitudes with cool climates and more drainage, resulting in a