The Ultimate Coffee Glossary

Unwashed Coffee

What is Unwashed Coffee?

Unwashed coffee, also known as the dry process, is a natural method of extracting coffee beans from the cherry fruit. Unlike the washed process, where the cherry is removed before drying, unwashed coffee retains the fruit during the drying process. The cherry is washed before drying, which removes any dirt or debris from the cherry, but not the fruit.
After washing, the cherry is spread out on raised beds or on the ground to dry in the sun for up to several weeks, during which time the cherry is turned often to prevent spoilage and covered at night or if it's raining. The drying process allows the sugars and fruit to impart flavor to the beans, resulting in a coffee with a unique, fruity taste.
While the unwashed process is considered more natural, it can result in a lower quality coffee due to the risk of fermentation and mold growth. However, when done correctly, it can produce high-quality coffee with unique flavors that cannot be achieved through other processing methods.
Unwashed coffee is often used in areas with limited access to water or processing facilities, such as in parts of Ethiopia, Yemen, and Brazil. It is also popular among specialty coffee roasters who value unique flavor profiles and are willing to take on the additional risk and cost associated with this processing method.
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