Natural processed coffee, sometimes called dry processed, is the oldest known processing method, dating back to ancient times. Originally, the fruit would have been left to fully dry on the branch, but modern natural processed coffees are harvested ripe and dried on patios or raised beds.
• Initial selection: coffee cherries are sorted to ensure uniformity. Unripe, overripe, or defective cherries are removed to maintain quality.
• Sun drying: the whole cherries are laid out to dry directly under the sun. They can be spread on raised beds, patios, or even mats.
• Frequent turning: to ensure even drying and prevent mold formation, the cherries are turned several times a day. Moisture content is monitored closely during this process.
• Hulling: Once dried, the outer layers (skin and dried mucilage) are mechanically removed in a hulling process. This process was historically done by hand using a mortar and pestle, but today farmers use special machinery.
Natural processed coffees often yield a more fruity and complex cup. Some will even have a distinct "funkiness", and unofficial but oft-used term in specialty coffee. As for the body, you might expect a juicier and fuller mouthfeel, however this is dependent on brewing method as well. When executed properly, these coffees can rank among the world's best at competitions.