The Ultimate Coffee Glossary

Washing Station

In Coffee, what is a Washing Station?

A washing station is a facility where coffee cherries are processed using the wet method. The cherries are sorted, pulped to remove the fruit and mucilage, and then fermented to remove any remaining pectin. Next, the coffee beans are washed to remove any remaining mucilage and then dried. The facility usually includes equipment such as pulping machines, fermentation tanks, washing channels, and drying beds.
Washing stations are commonly found in East African countries, such as Rwanda, where they are an important part of the coffee industry. These stations often serve as a central hub for smallholder farmers to deliver their harvest, as they do not have the resources to process coffee themselves. This helps to ensure consistency and quality across a region's coffee production. In Latin American countries, washing stations are typically called Beneficios and operate in a similar manner.
The use of washing stations has become increasingly popular as more farmers recognise the benefits of using the wet method of processing coffee. This method typically results in a cleaner, brighter cup with more distinct flavour notes. Additionally, washing stations can help farmers achieve higher prices for their coffee by producing higher-quality beans. However, the wet method also requires more resources and infrastructure compared to the dry method, making it less accessible for some smallholder farmers.
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