Sometimes called wet process, the washed process is the most common method around the world to prepare coffee for roasting. This is no surprise, as it's arguably most efficient way to process coffee. As with all methods, the goal is to remove the skin and fruit from the coffee seed, or bean. It goes like this:
• Initial selection: sort the coffee fruits or float them in water to eliminate defective and underripe cherries.
• Depulping: machinery is used to remove the skin and fruit from around the seed.
• Mucilage removal: the seed still retains a thin, goopy layer of mucilage which needs to be removed through fermentation. This can take between 8-72 hours for the mucilage to fully break down.
• Additional wash: after fermentation, the coffee undergoes another wash to ensure complete removal of mucilage.
• Drying Phase: the seed is then dried, typically on raised beds or patios under the sun.
Washed processed coffee are often described as "clean" and "bright". You can expect a clearer cup with a more pronounced acidity and less of the fermenty "funk" you might find in a natural processed coffee.