Washed: (adj.) when a coffee likes to take long, luxurious baths.
Last week, we talked about what a natural coffee is and this week we’re exploring the flip side: washed coffee! Whereas natural coffee is dried in the beans, washed coffees are dried in their parchment layer. Ripe cherries are picked, rinsed, and where naturals would go right to the drying patio, washed coffees go to the pulper or huller to have the cherry knocked off. The beans, now devoid of fruit but still covered in juices and parchment, spend a couple of days in an enzyme bath before a vigorous washing and rinsing. After all that, the coffee is laid out to dry. This processing method has a direct influence over flavors in the cup: while natural coffees tend to take on fruity, earthy flavors, washed coffees generally have a more citrusy profile with clean, bright flavors.
Good way to up your coffee game? Get a sampler pack of coffee, brew a few cups, and practice guessing whether the cup you’re tasting is a natural or a washed coffee. Eventually you’ll get pretty good at tasting the difference!