Have you noticed coffee has changed? Coffee has changed…specifically, the way the coffee has been processed at the farm/micro-mill.

Coffee has traditionally been processed one of two ways, washed process or natural process. Both provide unique flavor profiles.

When clean water is abundant coffee producers may use a washed process to separate the fruit from the coffee bean.

Where water is lacking, a producer would use the natural process and allow the coffee to dry under the sun naturally.

Times have changed due to innovations in processing equipment at the farm and coffee roaster’s request.

Costa Rica has led the innovation by combining elements of the washed and dry processes. This new process is called the honey process. By adjusting equipment such as depulpers at the mill, producers can choose how much fruit they want to remove off the coffee bean. These changes can also impact the way the coffee tastes once it’s been brewed.

Many ask if honey is used in the coffee process. The name “honey process” comes from the honey-like fragrance (called “miel” in Spanish) of the fruit drying on the coffee bean.

We are pleased to offer three outstanding honey processed coffees:

  • White honey: most of the fruit is removed off the coffee bean. (Example: Costa Rica Finca Dragon)
  • Red honey: partial fruit is removed from the coffee bean. It will have a bit more body compared to the white honey. (Example: Costa Rica Pie San)
  • Black honey: the coffee cherry is peeled but the fruit remains on the coffee beans. Depending on weather condition, it can take 7-14 days for the fruit to dehydrate off the coffee bean. Since the bean is absorbing sugars during this time the coffee will be full bodied, complex and with natural sweetness. (Example: Costa Rica Finca las Torres)

These honey processed coffees are available in the Red Cedar Coffee Co. Tasting Room and online.

The term single origin means coffee that has been sourced from a farm, cooperative, coffee variety, or region. This differs from a blend which is a coffee made up of several single origin coffees.

In short, we enjoy single origins because they showcase the flavors of a particular place.

What creates the unique flavors of single origin coffees? To borrow a term from the wine industry, it’s terroir—climate, soil, elevation—all contribute to the distinct flavor of your favorite coffee origin.

Soil: Was the coffee grown in volcanic soil? It can impart a smoky taste in the coffee’s finish.

Elevation: the higher the elevation the more likely you will find elegant flavors like citrus or floral notes.

Process: Washed coffees typically have a “cleaner” finish. Dry process coffee will have earthier and berry notes. Honey process, depending on how much fruit has been removed, can have a smooth finish (“white honey”) or may be full-bodied and complex (“black honey”).

Finally, single origins represent a harvest. That is why during certain times of the year we may be waiting for the new coffee harvest to arrive at our roastery.

In the Red Cedar Coffee Co. Tasting Room our single origin coffees are represented by either a gold or green band across the front label. Examples of our single origin coffees include Organic Guatemala Huehuetenango, Costa Rica La Lia Finca Dragon and Ethiopian Sidamo.

Our coffee tastings also provide an opportunity to learn more about single origin coffees and to taste why they are unique.