This unique technique, also known as semi-washed or the Sumatra process, is primarily used in Indonesia, specifically in the Gayo Highlands of Aceh, Sumatra.
Unlike other coffee processing methods, wet-hulling involves depulping the cherry coffee immediately and fermenting the mucilage-covered seeds overnight in a fermentation tank. The seeds are then brought to the mill, where the parchment layer is removed, and the coffee is pre-dried before undergoing the wet-hulling process.
This process removes the parchment layer, allowing the seeds to dry efficiently. The result is a distinct appearance and a flavor profile characterized by earthy, savory, and herbaceous notes. It’s fascinating how wet-hulling contributes to the unique taste of Indonesian coffees.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the wet-hulled coffee processing method and explore its intricacies. So grab a cup of your favorite brew and join me on this journey into the world of wet-hulled coffee processing.
- Wet-Hulling is a post-harvest processing method primarily done in Indonesia, used in climates with high humidity.
- Wet-Hulling involves depulping cherry coffee, fermenting the seeds with mucilage overnight, and removing the parchment layer before the seeds are fully dry.
- Pre-drying the parchment is necessary before Wet-Hulling, with the coffee reaching 30-35% moisture before the next step.
- Wet-Hulling contributes to the unique flavor profile of Indonesian coffees, which are known for their earthy, savory, and herbaceous characteristics.
Wet-Hull Coffee Method
The wet-hull coffee method is a specific technique used to efficiently dry coffee in high-humidity climates. It contributes to the unique characteristics of Indonesian coffees, particularly those from Sumatra. This method has a significant effect on the flavor profile of the coffee.
Wet-hulling results in earthy, savory, and herbaceous characteristics that are distinct to Indonesian coffees. The process involves removing the parchment layer from the coffee seeds, which exposes the beans to increased sunlight, heat, and air during drying. This exposure, coupled with the humid climate and cloudy sky, creates a unique environment that influences the flavor development.
Additionally, wet-hulling has an environmental impact as it allows coffee to be dried efficiently in damp conditions, reducing the risk of spoilage and wastage.
Process at Bergandal Mill
Located in the Gayo Highlands of Aceh, Sumatra, Bergandal Mill processes coffee from its own farm and local farmers.
At Bergandal Mill, we have the advantage of controlling the wet-hulling process compared to other places in Indonesia. This allows us to ensure the quality of our coffee. Here are four benefits of wet hulling in coffee processing at our mill:
- Immediate depulping: As soon as the cherry coffee arrives at the mill, our workers depulp it, ensuring that the seeds with mucilage are ready for the next step.
- Efficient drying: Wet hulling allows the seeds to dry efficiently in the high humidity and cloudy conditions of Sumatra. This is crucial in achieving the unique flavor profile of Indonesian coffees.
- Adaptation to the climate: The wet-hulling process at our mill is specifically designed to tackle the challenges posed by the humid climate and cloudy sky. This ensures that our coffee is properly dried before storage.
- Unique flavor characteristics: The wet-hulling method, combined with the cultivars grown in Sumatra, contributes to the earthy, savory, and herbaceous flavor profile of our coffee.
Despite these benefits, wet hulling coffee at Bergandal Mill also presents challenges. The delicate process requires constant monitoring and careful calibration of the wet-hull machine to avoid damaging the seeds. Additionally, the pre-drying stage requires precise timing to achieve the ideal semi-dry state before wet hulling.
However, our experienced team at Bergandal Mill is dedicated to overcoming these challenges and producing exceptional Indonesian coffees.
Processing in Other Places
In other regions, farmers typically depulp the coffee on their farms before bringing the sticky seeds in sacks to the mill for the wet-hulling process. This method of wet-hulling coffee has its pros and cons.
One advantage is that it allows farmers to focus on depulping the coffee cherry immediately after harvesting, ensuring the freshness of the beans. It also reduces the risk of spoilage during transportation.
However, wet-hulling at the mill means that the coffee seeds are exposed to more handling, which can result in chipped, crushed, or split seeds. Additionally, the wet-hulling process can have a significant impact on the flavor profile of coffee from different regions.
The unique earthy, savory, and herbaceous characteristics of Indonesian coffees, for example, are partly attributed to the wet-hulling process. However, in other regions, the flavor profile may be different due to variations in climate, cultivars, and processing techniques.
Pre-Drying the Parchment
Before Wet-Hulling, the parchment is given a quick pre-dry to reach the ideal semi-dry state. This step is crucial in the wet-hulled coffee processing method.
Pre-drying the parchment brings several benefits to the overall process. Firstly, it allows the coffee to reach a moisture content of around 30-35%, which is the ideal range for the next step. The semi-dry state ensures that the coffee can be efficiently processed without the parchment layer.
Additionally, pre-drying helps to tackle the difficult drying conditions in high-humidity climates. By raking the parchment into a thin layer and exposing it to the elements, the coffee can start the drying process before Wet-Hulling.
However, pre-drying the parchment also comes with its challenges. The drying time depends on factors such as humidity and cloud cover, which can vary and require close monitoring.
Nevertheless, this step is essential to achieve the distinct appearance and unique flavor profile of Indonesian coffees.
To remove the parchment layer from the coffee seeds, we use a Wet-Hull machine that efficiently calibrates the process. This machine, which was originally installed in Sumatra in the 1970s, is specifically designed to remove the parchment layer, allowing the seeds to dry efficiently without it.
However, it is important to note that during the Wet-Hulling process, some seeds may get chipped, crushed, or split. Despite this, Wet-Hulling offers several advantages in coffee processing.
Firstly, it allows coffee to be dried efficiently in the difficult conditions of high-humidity climates, such as in Indonesia.
Secondly, Wet-Hulling contributes to the unique flavor profiles of Indonesian coffees, particularly those from Sumatra. The process, combined with the cultivars grown in the region and the local climate, results in earthy, savory, and herbaceous characteristics that are distinct to Indonesian coffees.
Frequently Asked Questions
In conclusion, wet-hulled coffee processing, also known as semi-washed or the Sumatra process, is a unique post-harvest method primarily used in Indonesia. This technique involves depulping the cherry coffee immediately and fermenting the mucilage-covered seeds overnight.
Unlike other regions, wet-hulled processing in Indonesia involves removing the parchment layer after bringing the sticky seeds to the mill. The coffee is then pre-dried until it reaches a semi-dry state, allowing for efficient drying without the parchment.
This method contributes to the distinct flavor profile of Indonesian coffees, characterized by earthy, savory, and herbaceous notes. Proper storage is essential to maintain the quality of wet-hulled coffee before shipping, ensuring coffee lovers can enjoy its exceptional taste.