COSTA RICA AND THE HISTORY OF HONEY PROCESS

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With the release of the delicious Yellow Honey from Hacienda Sonora in Costa Rica a few weeks ago we’ve had a few questions in our shops about what exactly honey processing is so Al thought this would be a good time to write a little about the process and it’s development in Brazil and then Costa Rica.

I wanted to use this coffee as an opportunity to explain the techniques of processing and specifically honey processing in a bit more detail as we are seeing more and more of these coffees every year. If we look at Natural and Washed as the two main schools of coffee processing then Honey, aka pulp natural, aka semi washed would be the third principal type, the rose of the coffee world if you will.

Honey process is a refined version of the more traditional pulp natural process that was developed in Brazil in the 1970’s and 80’s as a way of conserving water usage in areas that were not blessed with a ton of available clean water.

The name pulp natural hints at its halfway house existence between fully washed and natural; the cherries arepulped as in the washed process and then dried with mucilage on like a natural coffee. The idea behind this development was that pulping the coffees improves the clarity and acidity of the cup like a washed coffee, but drying them with the mucilage on takes out the need for fermentation and washing where 90% of the water at a coffee wet mill is used and simply isn’t available in many coffee areas in Brazil.

Debora Soares