This naturally processed coffee comes from the Dame Dabaye washing station in the Guji zone, one of the most unique and exciting coffee growing regions in the world. After the coffee has been picked, it is sun-dried in the ripe cherries on raised beds, yielding a particularly bright and syrupy body from the extra sugars and strong red fruit flavors found in the skin of the fruit. This offering comes from Sibu Coffee who has been producing and exporting coffee in the region for over 20 years and places a strong emphasis on quality and traceability.
VARIETY: Heirloom Typica
PROCESS: Natural, dried on raised beds
ALTITUDE: 1,800 meters above sea level
PHOTOS BY: Atlas Coffee Importers
What is natural process coffee?
Coffee, as we know it, is actually a seed from a cherry. There are many methods to removing these seeds from the cherries, and Natural Process coffee is the original way of processing coffee at origin. Selecting only ripe cherries, the coffee is harvested from the trees (technically, shrubs) and sorted onto raised drying beds and left to dry with all of the fruit intact. As the cherries begin to dry, the fruit sugars become concentrated and begin to ferment around the seeds (what we know as the beans). The seeds absorb the natural fruit sugars as the fruit dries. Once the cherries are dried to a hard shell that can be cracked open, the seeds are hulled away from the dry skin and are ready to be shipped!
This way of processing produces a layered-fruit complexity with unmatched sweetness in the cup. There have been coffees that taste like fruit juice or tropical fruit salad when well processed. Natural Process coffees are the coffee that gets the average coffee drinker excited about coffee in a different way.
This process seems easy, but is very difficult to do well. It is the most successful in areas of the world that have a defined “dry season”, as humidity and other environmental factors can prevent the cherries from drying properly. However, in these areas where there is moisture present, mechanical dryers can help aid this process. Because natural process uses little to no water, some could say it is environmentally conscious to support farmers who choose to produce natural coffees. It also requires intense dedication, attention to detail, and extraneous hours of labor from the amazing people that grow and harvest the coffee. Which is what makes our job of finding beautiful coffee, revealing it in the roast, and proving it the cup so great!