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Natural Coffee

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

One thing I can say is that at specialty coffee shops, natural-processed coffee has recently been attracting a lot of attention.

So what is natural coffee? And what makes them special?

Additionally, you need to know three more common formulas: washed, honeyed and natural.

The washed process is the most common, where the fruit is harvested, de-pulped, fermented, washed with water, and dried. .

The honey process involves harvesting the fruit, removing the pulp (sometimes fermented), and drying without washing.


Natural Production

The fruits are harvested (and sometimes fermented) and then dried. There is no need to remove or wash the pulp with this method.

So how does Alto Cajamarca produce natural coffee?

To find out more, we visit the Ocaña family's La Esperanza estate, located in San Ignacio Cajamarca. Domingo-san and Mirta-san will explain the work they do.


Mirta, Marcos, and Creme (Family of Ocana)


This particular lot used Bourbon and Red Caturra. Harvesting these varieties is based on two important data points. First of all, it is required that the color of the fruit is dark wine color. An index called the Brix degree then measures the amount of sugar that the fruit has reached and if it is 20 degrees or above it is considered ready for harvest. This Brix power is measured using a refractometer.


Coffee harvest


The harvested coffee berries are placed in controlled drums at 25 degrees for 48 hours to ferment. Fermentation in drums brings many changes. The aromas are more pronounced, the coffee beans are denser, and the sugar content is higher. All of this develops a coffee-specific taste, in this case with intense cocoa notes and flavors of cocoa nibs, raisins and tamarind, creating a creamy and juicy body.


After fermentation is complete, the coffee is transferred to African beds or pallets for drying. Especially with this method, the coffee berries are very delicate, so these pallets are placed in an enclosed space and the temperature of the space where the coffee is dried is controlled. Therefore, you can adjust the number of drying days and prevent drying too late or too early. Mold and mildew can develop because the pulp is filled with carbohydrates and humidity. This can result in a sour taste and imperfections. The higher the temperature, the shorter the drying time, and the lower the temperature, the longer the drying time. In this case, the average drying time is 25 days, which preserves the sweeter flavors, highlights the fruity essence and keeps the coffee clear. During the drying process, we aim for a coffee bean humidity of 11%. Maintaining this humidity environment means that coffee beans can be kept in good condition for a longer period of time.


Natural coffee dried in African beds


Raised by the Ocaña family, the La Esperanza farm's natural-process coffee has great flavors of raisins, figs, cocoa and tamarind, plus a few key ingredients: There are some points worth mentioning.

First, this process allows us to create a variety of coffees with different characteristics. By varying fermentation and drying times, or other factors in the brewing process, the same coffee bean can yield different coffee characteristics.


Secondly, this type of formula does not require the use of water as in the normal cleaning process (and the cleaning process is one of the most common practice and the water used in these cannot be reused unless treated), avoiding the waste of vital water.

Finally, the method used at the La Esperanza plantation varies around the world and is not an absolute or conclusive method, so further trials By error, we can discover better or worse properties of this coffee.



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