Dry processing is a type of coffee processing that involves drying the freshly-picked coffee cherry (fruit) in the sun on large patios for a period of time while repeatedly raking and turning the drying cherry until the green coffee beans are generally free of any dried fruit and the moisture content is about 10.5%. Mechanical dryers may be used instead of sun-drying.
The dried fruit is then either disposed of as waste, or if facilities exist, there is now the option of processing it into a coffee flour.
While the coffees gain unique flavors through this process, it’s also a risky bet – a minimum of 2 weeks without sun is needed to allow for drying. Rain or high humidity leads to the develop of molds and fungus and can ruin a harvest – sometimes a farmer’s entire income.
Another key consideration is the quantity of water used – dry processed coffees may use as little as a gallon per kilogram of dried parchment, while wet processing requires closer to 10 gallons for the same quantity.
Dry processing is also known as “pulped natural”, “semi washed”, “dry milled” or “honey coffee”.
Characteristics of Dry Processed Coffee
The resulting product is known as coffee parchment (pergamino; pergaminho). The remaining fruit remnants on the dry processed coffee cause the brewed coffee beverage to have more body, though wet processed (washed) coffees tend to have a more desirable level of acidity.
Sorting and Grading the Coffee Beans
After the coffee crop is processed and then sorted and graded, the whole coffee beans are known as green coffee beans (milled but not yet roasted), are are placed into 132 or 154 pound bulk coffee bags to be sold on the world market.
Dry Method Processing is also called Natural-Method Processing, the Natural Method, or the Dry Unwashed Method. The end product is often referred to simply as unwashed coffee.
Coffee and Espresso Brewing Tips
For tips on brewing the perfect cup of coffee see our section on Coffee Brewing. You can also read detailed coffee flavor profiles of Gourmet Coffees and instructions on preparing Espresso Drink Recipes.