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| Written by Miles Spencer

Washed Coffees and Our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

What is a ‘Washed’ Coffee?
A term that you may come across when searching for a new favourite coffee might be ‘washed coffee’. This comes from the world of coffee production; the ‘washed’ process describes the careful processing method through which coffee cherries and beans are separated and prepared prior to roasting, a method that is said to produce high quality coffee. This process differs from the way in which ‘natural’ or ‘dry’ processed coffees are prepared, whereby coffee cherries are spread out in a thin layer to dry in the sun.

A great example of a washed coffee can be found in our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee.

The Washed Coffee Process
After being picked, the coffee cherries have their outer skin and most of the fruit flesh stripped off using a specialised machine, called a depulper. The coffee is then placed into a tank of clean water, where the remainder of the flesh is removed by fermentation.

This period of fermentation varies in length of time and is dependent on several factors such as altitude and ambient temperature - the hotter it is, the faster this process of fermentation will occur.

Step 1. Harvesting of Coffee Cherries
Coffee cherries are harvested and placed into a floatation tank, where ripe berries will sink to the bottom and are removed for use, while unripe berries float to the top and will not be used.

Step 2. Depulper
Once picked, the outer skin and fruit flesh are stripped off the coffee cherries by a depulper.

Step 3. Fermentation
The cherries are placed into a clean trough of water where any remaining flesh is removed from the bean through a process of fermentation.

Step 4. Final Wash
Once the fermentation process is complete, the coffee is washed to remove leftover debris.

Step 5. Drying
The washed coffee beans are spread out to slowly dry, often on raised drying tables or patios.

The Benefits of the Washed Process
The washed or ‘fully washed’ process aims to remove all of the sticky flesh from around the coffee seed before it is dried, with the intention of greatly reducing the chance of something going wrong during drying.

When compared to other processes, wet-processed coffees usually result in a coffee that shows a higher level of acidity, increased complexity and a ‘cleaner’ cup (‘cleanliness’ here refers to the absence of any negative flavours, such as unusual harshness or astringency.)

Our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
A quality example of a great washed coffee, our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is grown in the Sidamo Province of Ethiopia and is among the best of the washed coffees. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a smooth, mild and great tasting coffee that can be enjoyed straight from the cafetiere all though the day, with a distinct fruit-like acidity that adds a pungent addition to the traditional mocha flavour.

Click here to buy our quality Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, which is available in a choice of brewing methods: cafetiere, filter, percolator and Turkish.