According to the Royal Spanish Academy, a variety describes one of several groups in which a species of plant or animal can be divided. These groups or varieties can be distinguished from one another by certain characteristics that are perpetuated through heredity.
In short, varieties are nothing more than the evolution of a given plant (or animal) following a certain hereditary line. We, in turn, are witnessing a specific moment in the development of the coffee plant, on its journey around the world which started in Ethiopia and which, due to different circumstances triggered its diversification and evolution. The development of the coffea species is a very dynamic and complex process which, thanks to Café Imports, has been simplified as follows:
Let's not fool ourselves, the hardest work in the coffee business is done in the field by the pickers who harvest the cherries one by one. These hand-picked fruits contain the prized seeds that need to be processed to become exportable coffee. Generally speaking, these are the different processing methods that can be found:
The cherries are pulped and transferred to tanks where they begin to ferment naturally through bacterial and yeast activity transforming sugars. When the fermentation has reached its optimum, the coffee beans are washed with clean water to stop the fermentation process and remove the remains of the mucilage adhering to the seeds. Subsequently, the beans are dried on patios or African beds until they reach the optimum moisture content (no more than 12%).
The cherries are pulped without the use of water by using depulping machines that separate the grain from the pulp of the fruit. Underneath the pulp there is a fleshy layer adhering firmly to the actual grain called “mucilage” or “honey”. The coffee beans, still covered by the mucilage, are left on African beds or patios until they reach the optimum moisture content. Alternatively, when water is used in the depulping of the cherries the same process is known as "natural pulped".
Dry or Natural Processing Method
Once the cherries have been hand-picked, they are moved to patios or African beds, where they are dried for at least two weeks. The fruits are carefully being moved and turned over several times a day during the drying process to avoid unpleasant flavors caused by excessive fermentation. Once the desired moisture content is achieved, the dried cherries are threshed to remove the remaining hull and parchment.