Honey process

There are four main kinds of post-harvest processes. Commonly used ways to process coffee: Washed, Natural, Fermented, and Honey (often called as the “Pulped Natural Process”, but the Honey has a higher concentration of mucilage, which is a viscous layer composed of sugars).

In this article, it will be explained the Honey Process, which takes its name from the fact that the beans become sticky during the process, and that the coffee can literally taste like honey and brown sugar in your cup of coffee. But make no mistake, Honey coffee does not have honey in its production, this sticky characteristic and sweet taste have to do with the amount of mucilage, so the higher the concentration of mucilage, the sweeter the coffee will be.

The honey process is in the middle, between washed and natural process; it is fruity, usually, but not as fruity as some natural coffees. The honey process often has a more balanced acidity than washed coffees, with intense sweetness and a complex mouthfeel.

The coffee taste, from the honey process, varies greatly as producers manipulate the amount of mucilage to alter this aspect, and then four colors are assigned (because of the post-drying aspect of each).

Find out:

  • White Honey Process: involves removing 80-100% of the mucilage and therefore has the least sweet taste.
  • Yellow Honey Process: involves removing 50-75% of the mucilage, this coffee is delicious and has flavors that you can attribute to real honey: floral, sweet, and mild with a slight hint of fruit. Often you will smell the aroma of vanilla or honey.
  • Red Honey Process: involves removing 0-50% of the mucilage and it is full-bodied and sweet.
  • Black Honey Process: involves removing as little mucilage as possible, is full-bodied and very sweet, and is the most labor-intensive, since most of the mucilage is still intact, drying times can double compared to the other types.

The Honey process is relatively new and there are many variations, a lot can change the process and the result of the coffee taste.