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Coffee Processing Glossary

How coffee is prepared for export.

Dry Process

Often called Natural. The oldest method of processing coffee.

The entire cherry, after sorting and cleaning, is dried in the sun on patios or raised tables. After drying, the dried cherries are put through a hulling machine that removes the fruit and other layers all in one step.

Semi-Dry Process

A hybrid method. Also called wet-hulled, semi-washed, pulped natural, honey process, or, in Indonesia, Giling Basah.

Giling Basah processing mechanically removes the outer skin of the coffee cherries before storing the remaining beans for up to a day. The mucilage is then washed off and the parchment covered beans are dried in the sun.

Wet Process

In the wet process, the fruit is removed before the beans are dried. Sometimes called European Prep (EP).

Coffee cherries are sorted in water. Bad or unripe fruit will float and the ripe fruit will sink. Mechanically pressing the fruit in water through a screen removes the skin and some of the pulp. The remaining pulp is removed with scrubbing machines, or by fermenting the beans and then thoroughly washing them. Fermentation can be done in water or in the fruit's own juices and takes from 2 to 3 days to complete.

After drying, the parchment is removed in the hulling process.


Coffee beans can be dried in the sun or by machine.

Coffees dried in the sun are spread out on patios or on raised tables made of coarsely woven matting or screens. Coffee on patios needs to be raked every 6 hours to prevent mildew and ensure even drying. Coffee dried on raised beds has the advantage of better air circulation for more even drying. It is often turned by hand.

Sun drying can take up to 4 weeks.

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