Unveiling the Nuances: What is Honey Processed?

Unveiling the Nuances: What is Honey Processed?

Starring - Costa Rica Tica Linda Honey

Honey-processed coffee has been gaining popularity over the years, and for good reason. And since one of our newest releases showcases this process, we thought we would take this as an opportunity to explain what it actually means. Aside from various more recent fermenting techniques, there are three main methods to process coffee beans once the fruit has been picked; so what sets Honeying apart from the Natural and Washed?

Not what you may immediately think when hearing the term, Coffee honeying has nothing to do with honey, but rather is a meticulous technique where coffee cherries, instead of being fully washed or naturally processed, are stripped of their fruit and undergo a partial removal of the mucilage (the pulp surrounding the bean) before drying. This partial de-pulping allows the beans to absorb some of the natural sugars and enzymes present in the cherry, leading to a delicate infusion of sweetness. Honeyed coffee falls in between the Washed and Natural processes, and includes the benefits of both.

As the beans bask in the sun and undergo natural drying, they go through a slight and slow fermentation process, where the remaining mucilage caramelizes and imparts its distinctive flavors. This controlled fermentation period is crucial, as it catalyzes the development of nuanced flavor profiles within the beans, ranging from floral and fruity notes to hints of caramel and molasses.

The delicate sweetness derived from the honeying process intertwines with the vibrant acidity and nuanced aroma, creating a sensory journey that is both captivating and unforgettable. Moreover, the impact of honeying extends beyond flavor alone; it significantly influences the roasting process as well. Due to the retained moisture content in honey-processed beans, and also because it has been introduced to fermentation, roasters must exercise precision and finesse to ensure an optimal roast. By carefully adjusting the charge temperature and tempering the roast profile through the phases of development (which we discussed here), we accentuate the unique characteristics bestowed by the honeying process, resulting in a cup that embodies the essence of its origin.

In short, exploring honey-processed coffees unveils a new layer of complexity and intrigue. Our Costa Rica Tica Linda shows amazing balance and subtlety, while highlighting evolving notes of cocoa powder, star fruit, chamomile, and citrus. We recommend this using Pourover, Aeropress, or Cold-Brewed to unlock its versatility.

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