The Ultimate Coffee Glossary


What does Semi-Washed mean?

Semi-washed, or wet-hulled, is a hybrid coffee processing method common in Brazil and Sumatra. Parchment coffee is marginally dried, stripped of its outer layer, and dried again. This results in a bean with a white-colored, swollen appearance, and produces a coffee with a fuller body and unique character. In this process, the coffee is left with a higher moisture content than in the washed process, which can lead to unique flavors and aromas. The term "semi-washed" is not always used consistently and may refer to different methods in different regions. In Sumatra, the term "Giling Basah" is often used to describe semi-washed coffee. Overall, semi-washed coffee is a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts looking for a unique and complex flavour profile.
In addition to the basic process of semi-washed coffee, there are a few other important factors to note:
  1. Flavor profile: Semi-washed coffees often have a unique flavor profile, with a heavy body and earthy, spicy, or musty notes. This flavor profile is often described as "earthy," "woody," or "herbaceous," and can be quite distinct from other processing methods.
  1. Moisture content: Because semi-washed coffee is partially dried before the outer layer is removed, it typically has a higher moisture content than other types of coffee. This can affect its storage and shelf life, and may require special attention during shipping and handling to prevent mold or other moisture-related issues.
  1. Variability: Semi-washed coffee is a relatively new and somewhat experimental processing method, and as such, there is still some variability in how it is carried out. This can result in variations in flavor, quality, and consistency from one batch to the next, which can be challenging for buyers and roasters to manage.
  1. Environmental impact: The semi-washed process is often considered more environmentally friendly than some other methods, such as fully washed coffee, which can require large amounts of water. However, it still requires significant amounts of water, and the process of removing the outer layer of parchment can create waste and other environmental impacts that must be carefully managed.
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