In the last few years, honey processed coffee has become popular in Indonesia. Even though countries such as El Salvador and Costa Rica has already use this process, most people still assume that the actual process of honey processed coffee is using honey. Well, it is not. So what is honey processed?
First of all, coffee cherries are peeled leaving a layer of mucilage. Mucilage is the most important part for the honey coffee process. It is a layer that cover the coffee bean and has a sticky texture. This layer also has sugar content, so during the process of drying, the sugar content is absorbed into the coffee bean.
The amount of water used in this process is also less than in natural process, it will result in a more sweet flavor with balanced acidity. Simply put, this process leaves a bit of mucus and the skin of the coffee bean’s flesh more sticky like honey, that is why it is called Honey Processed.
Honey process also has 3 different variants; yellow honey, red honey and black honey. This is determined by the thickness of mucilage layer that is marked with three different colors on the coffee beans after it went through the drying process. The thinner the mucilage layer, the faster the drying process.
Coffee beans are washed to reduce the mucilage layer that is attached to the beans. There’s only 25% left of the mucilage layer in this process. It was then dried quickly to continue the fermentation in a place that is not too shady and it takes about 8 days.
50% of the mucilage layer remains after being washed. Draining the beans in a cloudy weather, the process takes about 12 days, it is longer than the yellow honey process.
The most time consuming from the three variant of honey process. Mucilage layer remains 100% in this process and thus drying time takes 30 days to get maximum results. Compared to yellow and red honey process, black honey has a more complex flavor.
Honey process is not easy and made special with the time required. However, the long process results in a coffee beans that is worth the wait. Great things takes time, so they say. Have you ever tried coffee using honey process?