Dry-honey process is a middle ground between the natural and wet processing methods. Contrary to how it sounds, the honey process has no honey involved at all. What is unique about this process is the way the beans are dried: instead of having its mucilage removed before the drying step, honey-process allows beans to sit in their mucilage as they are dried. To have a clearer understanding, let’s have an overview of this process:
Firstly, ripped cherries are harvested and submerged into water to remove impurities and immature fruits as well as ensuring consistent ripe levels across the fruits. The cherries then run through the depulpers - machines that squeeze the cherries, to extract the beans from the rest of its body.
However, instead of fully depulping like during the wash-process, there will be some leftover cherries’ flesh on the beans. There will also be a golden, sticky, honey-like layer of mucilage that remains on the beans. For this reason, this process is therefore called “honey-process”.
After depulping, the cherries are sent to dry on the patios or raised beds without washing. Since there is less flesh surrounding the beans, there is a lower risk of over-fermentation in comparison to natural-process. While the overall sweetness and body of the beans can still increase due to the mucilage layer which contains high amounts of sugar and acids. There is also less fermentation occurring since the honey-process beans do not spend much time in water like washed-process beans.
Finally, the beans will then be hulled and prepared to ship. Honey process beans possess great sweetness and balanced acidity with fruity undertones.