Coffee plants grow more suitably in a warm environment. They require a suitable temperature for their proper growth. The bean that is used in coffee is a seed that is found inside a fruit. This fruit is known as a coffee cherry.
These fruits are harvested from the plants of coffee. The processing of cherries takes place. With this processing, the seed is then removed. The seed is then dried and transported to the roasters.
There are many different ways by which the fruit of coffee can be processed. But the most common one is the dry-processed method or dry-processed coffee. The dry processing method is the oldest processing method of coffee. This process is exclusively used in some areas.
Dry Coffee Processing
It is a type of coffee processing. This process involves the drying of fresh coffee cherries. In this natural process, the cherries dry in the sun in large portions for a suitable time.
The continuous turning of cherries takes place until the coffee beans are dried completely. The moisture content in the beans remains at about 10.5%. Mechanical dryers are also used instead of the sun drying process.
These dry fruits are then disposed of. Some people also use it as an option for processing. It is used in coffee flour. With the drying process, the coffee gets unique flavors. But this process requires a minimum time of 2 weeks.
This process is a bit risky. The cloudy or humid weather leads to some disadvantages. Molds and fungus develop on these coffee beans. It ruins the harvest and the whole hard work of the farmers.
The farmer’s whole income gets wasted. In dry-processed coffees, the flavors of coffee are fruit and sweet. This flavor is due to the coffee cherry.
The dry processing is prominent for the coffee flavors from specific countries. It is specific to Yemen, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Apart from the natural dry process, some people also prefer wet processing and washed coffees.
You may also read: Best Colombian Coffee 2021 – Reviews
Use of Water in Dry Process Coffee
In the dry process of coffee, the quantity of water is very little. This process is used in those countries where there is a shortage of water.
In such countries, people prefer the dry process method rather than the wet-processed. The wet process requires 10 gallons of water for the same quantity of coffee beans.
On the other hand, in the dry process, less amount of water is used. The product at the end of the process is known as coffee parchment. The coffee that is brewed from the dry process will have more body.
Related read: 10 of the Best Coffee Roasters – 2021 Guide
Other Names of Dry Processing
The dry processing method of coffee has many different names. People also know this coffee is pulp natural. It is also known as semi-washed coffee, honey coffee, or dry milled.
Methods of Natural Dry Processed Coffee
For the preparation of dry-processed coffee following steps take place.
1. Picking Coffee Beans
The farmers first collect the coffee cherries from the coffee plants. Then these cherries are delivered to the mills for further natural processing.
As the name suggests, in the dry process, the coffee beans are set to dry completely. The dry process is the opposite of the wet process. It is also known as a natural coffee process. The coffee beans start to dry inside the fruit.
2. Drying of Beans
For their complete drying, the cherries are spread on a large surface. The surface should be flat. These cheers spread in the sun for dry. The cherries remain there for up to several weeks.
The fruits start fermenting a little bit. After this, the wrinkles come on their surface, and they dry completely. The workers turn the fruits every day with the help of long rakes. Turning them is important for making the drying process as consistent as possible.
3. Hulling Machine
Husking of the coffee beans is done with the help of a machine. This machine is known as a huller. When the cherries get ready, then they are put in the hulling machine. The hulling machine then rips the fruit and separates the fruit from the seed.
It mills off the silver skin and parchment of the coffee beans. After its removal, the pale green bean appears. This process also polishes the beans. At this stage, the coffee beans are known as green coffee beans.
The dry coffee beans are then ready for packing. These beans are packed in a burlap sack. The coffee beans are then shipped all around the world.
5. Roasting of Coffee
Roasting is the final step of preparing coffee. After this process, the coffee is ready for consumption. The roasting of coffee beans involves heating, cooking, and drying the coffee beans in a roaster.
In this process, the transformation of the physical and chemical properties of coffee beans takes place. After this, the desired flavors and aromas can be achieved. In the roasting of the coffee beans, most of the moisture is removed from them.
In this, a series of chemical reactions take place. This series of chemical reactions is known as pyrolysis. The process of roasting changes the chemical composition of the beans.
The main aim of the rooster is to apply the proper temperature. The proper temperature is to be applied at the right time. This right temperature and right time bring the best flavors in the coffee beans.
The best roaster also pays attention to the color of the coffee beans. During the process of roasting, the coffee beans expand, and their hue changes.
The color of the coffee beans can get changed. These roasted beans have colors from very light to very dark. The density of the coffee beans also changes with the loss of moisture.
The roasting time of coffee beans is very important. The roasting time depends on several factors. Some of these factors include; the quality of coffee beans, the moisture content of coffee beans, and the grade of beans.
The roasting time is also affected by the weather conditions. In which temperature and which condition roasting takes place depends a lot. The roasted coffee beans are then ready for grinding and for further use.
You can roast your own coffee beans at home: How to Roast Coffee Beans
The Benefit of Mechanical Dryers
Some coffee mills did not use the sunlight method to dry the coffee beans. They use mechanical dryers. Mechanical dryers have more benefits than drying from sunlight. These benefits include;
When dry, the beans with the mechanical dryers will give consistent results. As the temperature in the mechanical dryers remains the same throughout the process.
While drying with the sunlight, the temperature and the light change with the changing weather. In cloudy weather, the temperature gets low. It will affect the drying process of the coffee beans.
In the mechanical dryers, the temperature remains the same. Due to this same temperature, the beans dry at the same time. Due to this, the coffee beans have more resulting flavors. With the help of mechanical dryers, the dryers have more control over the flavors.
It also prevents the risk of the loss of flavors. In the direct sunlight process, the beans get over-fermented, or the presence of other impurities takes place. Due to these impurities, the flavors of beans get off.
Too Dry Cherries
Sometimes cherries get too dry. If the coffee beans get too dry, then the cherries will crack. The seed in the cherries will get too brittle. Due to this brittleness, the seeds did not withstand the next step of the process.
Less Dry Cherries
Sometimes the cherries do not dry completely. The cherries do not dry enough. After this, the resulting coffee did not have the right flavors. The coffee will have a sour taste rather than the sweet one.
When the cherries get ready, then their color changes. The color changes from red to dark purple. The coffee cherries get ready when the moisture content in these cherries reaches about 11%. In this way, everyone knows the cherries get ready.
Factors That Affect Drying Time
Some factors affect the drying time of cherries. Out of these factors, the main factors are
- Rainy Weather
- Night Time
1. Rainy Weather
Rainy weather makes the process of drying too much longer. On cloudy days the sunlight does not directly pass. Due to the presence of less heat and light, the beans are not dried completely. They take more time to dry.
At nighttime, the weather gets moist. Due to the presence of moisture in the air, the beans also get moist. Due to which they take more time to dry than the normal time.
In the rainy weather or at night time, the cherries should be covered. Then remove the covering in the daytime or sunny morning. By this, the hot sunlight works fast and dries the beans quickly. It also improves the airflow between the beans.
The beans that dry for too long also have a different flavor. These beans often ferment more. This more ferment of beans leads to a new flavor. Some people like that flavor; some do not. Due to this, the dry process has an interesting method.