Once the desired amount of mucilage is removed the coffee is spread out to dry on patios. Constant turning and raking is required to avoid any over fermentation or rot as moisture is brought down to the optimal 10-12%. The beans at this point often look like candied nuts, hence the name honey process. The coffee is then stored until it is ready for hulling and distribution.
This process results in a mega sweet, smooth cup with big mouth feel and muted acidity.
An example of this is the Costa Rica Las Lajas Black Honey Alma Negra, a borderline natural coffee but with huge sweet dark fruit flavour.
Wet Hulling (Giling-Basah)
Although a form of pulped natural, this process is so unique to Sumatra that it deserves its own little section. The majority of coffees from this region are processed this way and it is this method which gives them their distinctive flavour.
In this method the cherries are pulped and placed in fermentation tanks (if available- wicker baskets if not) for a very short time. This often leaves a portion of the mucilage intact. The remaining mucilage from these loosely controlled ferments is then washed off. They are then dried to around 30%-40% moisture as opposed to the usual 10-12%. Immediately hulled, and then dried down to 10-12% this is how the process gets its name ‘wet-hulling’. It also gives the beans their distinctive dark green colour and deep, sometimes earthy flavour.
Acidity in wet hulled coffee is almost always very muted with big big body and depth. Consistency can be a problem with this method, but we cup again and again to try and pick the best lots from each farm.