Dry Processing vs. Wet Processing Coffee Beans

by That's Coffee on December 9, 2011

Did you know that there are different methods to processing coffee before the coffee beans are even roasted? The two primary methods are dry processing and wet processing; the names give us hints as to how each process occurs.

Dry Processing Coffee Beans

Dry processing coffee beans is the older method of the two. This method is rather simple. It involves washing the coffee cherries and leaving them out on racks to dry in the sun for several weeks. With new technology dry processing can also be done by a machine instead of the sun.

Sun drying the coffee beans has several uncontrollable elements such as weather and temperature that will affect the finished quality and flavor of the coffee bean. Machine drying the coffee bean, on the other hand, has ultimate control over temperature and is not affected by the weather, as to produce a particular desired flavor and taste.

Once the coffee beans are completely dried the outer layer of the cherry (much like a grape) is removed.

Wet Processing Coffee Beans

Wet processing coffee beans is the newer method of the two and was perhaps inspired by the unique flavors that could potentially be added by the coffee cherry’s pulp. In this process the fresh picked coffee cherries have their skin removed before the fruit is dried.

The pulpy fruit surrounding the coffee bean ferments as natural bacteria and enzymes feed off the pulp. Upon completion of the process the beans are washed and dried using the same sun or machine method as in dry processing. Often a final milling to remove any remaining pulpy layers is necessary.

Which Processing Method is Better?

The answer to this question is quite subjective. One method is not necessarily superior because the two methods produce very different desired attributes.

The dry processing method is preferred by those who enjoy an enhanced body and complexity in their coffee. The wet processing method is preferred by those who enjoy clarity and acidity.

In an effort to bring all of these characteristics into one method the Semi Washed Method is a said compromise. In this process the cherry skin is removed and the pulp is dried on the beans.

Try wet processed Colombian Coffee Beans or dry processed Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee.

“Dry vs. Wet Processed”
courtesy of
your online coffee bean store:
Gourmet Coffee Beans

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