Washed (or Wet) Process: This method removes the outer fruit layer (the cherry) from the coffee bean. The beans are then soaked in water for up to two days to remove the remaining fruit pulp and natural sugars before being dried in the sun or using a mechanical dryer. Washed process coffees are known for their clean, bright flavors and acidity.
Natural (or Dry) Process: In this method, the entire cherry is left on the bean, the coffee is dried in the sun for up to four weeks. As the cherry dries, it shrinks and releases the coffee bean, which is then hulled to remove the dried fruit. Natural process coffees are known for their full body and sweetness, with fruit and chocolate notes.
Honey (or Semi-washed) Process: This method combines the washed and natural processes. The outer skin of the cherry is removed, but the sticky fruit layer beneath it is left on the bean. The coffee is then dried in the sun or using a mechanical dryer. Honey process coffees are known for their complexity, balanced sweetness, acidity, and notes of fruit, caramel, and nuts.
Swiss Water Process: This method uses no chemical solvents but relies on water and activated charcoal to remove caffeine. The green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to dissolve the caffeine and other flavor compounds. The water is then passed through activated charcoal, which absorbs caffeine but not flavor compounds. The new batch of beans is then dried and roasted. This process is considered to produce high-quality decaf coffee. All of the Decaf beans and blends at Conifer Trail Roasters are decaffeinated using this process.