Burundi Processing Bundle: Washed, Honey, Natural
The processing method - how the fruit is removed from the coffee seed - plays the largest role in the final flavor of the coffee. This bundle of Burundi coffees, all of the Bourbon varietals, lets you taste the differences in processing methods!
Washed processing: Once the ripe coffee cherry is picked and sorted, the fruit is pulped removing the seeds-coffee beans. Some of the fruit's pulp mesocarp called mucilage still cling to the seed after this step, and a biological process called fermentation takes place. Fermentation breaks down the mucilage, once the pectin is soluble roughly 20-30 hours of fermentation. The beans are then washed in clean water that grades them by density and rinses of any mucilage still on the beans. From there the coffee goes on to be dried. This is the most common processing method for coffee, and often results in what many people describe as a "clean" flavor profile.
Honey processing: Despite the name, no actual honey is involved! Once the ripe coffee cherry is picked and after the fruit is removed from the seeds, the coffee is dried with the fruit fibers, or mucilage, still on the seeds. As the coffees dry, the pectins and other sugars in the coffee fruit are dried into the parchment layer giving the appearance of the coffee having honey drizzled over the top, bringing a complex sweetness to the final cup.
Natural processing: After the ripe coffee cherry is picked and sorted, the entire coffee fruit remains on the seed throughout the drying process. The fruit is removed once drying is complete, at the dry mill when ready for export. Natural processed coffees are often referred to as "fruit bombs," with evident fruit flavors and aromas.
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