COFFEE WASHING PROCESS

Washed Kenya

The washed-Kenya processing is yet another method that is analogous to the washed-wet-ferment process. The only difference here is that the washed-kenya processing has an extra step: soaking in clean water after the post-fermentation gentle wash.

Firstly, ripped cherries are harvested and submerged into water to remove impurities and immature fruits as well as ensuring consistent ripe level 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. The beans will be placed in a water tank to allow the wet-fermentation process to take place. Fermentation typically takes 24-72 hours, depending on the climate of the region.

After wet-fermentation, the beans will be gently washed in order to remove loose mucilage and any leftover fruit flesh. Typically in a washed-wet-fermentation, the next step is to dry the beans. However, the Kenyan method has an extra step here. At this point, the beans will be soaked in clean water. This is also known as “double fermentation”. It is believed that this extra step will enhance the quality of the beans due to enzymatic activities and create extra sweetness and complexity.

Thereafter, it will be ready to be dried through brick patios, raised beds or through mechanical drying. To ensure even and consistent drying, the beans will be turned regularly. What is left on the coffee beans then, will be a thin layer of skin known as the parchment skin; this skin will be removed through the last step which is also known as hulling.

As a result, the washed-Kenya processing method produces an expressive and balanced cup-quality with intense fruity flavour notes.



Washed Kenya
Pick Ripe Cherries
In the picking stage, the level of ripeness and elevation of fresh fruits (cherries) are critical. Red and purple-red cherries produce the best flavours, while under-ripe (green) and over-ripe cherries produce astringent tastes which deteriorate the overall cup-quality. Often, red-cherries grown at higher altitudes are highly demanded as it produces better flavours due to better maturity and higher sugar content.
Depulp
After Cherries are harvested, they have to be depulped within 24 hours or else the cherries may produce an overly fruity or rotten flavour that can ruin the coffee’s cup-quality. Depulping is the process of separating the coffee seeds from the outer layer of flesh from the fruit and it usually happens at the farm or a centralized depulping station.
Ferment
During fermentation, microorganisms in mucilage will react with sugar to degrade, leading to fermentation. This is an essential stage of coffee processing as this is when microorganisms interact with enzymes and amazing flavours are developed. The coffee fragrance changes from fresh fruits to berry-like, transforming into tropical fruits and rich red wine - the ideal state of natural fermentation.
Remove Mucilage
After the cherries are depulped, what remains are coffee beans covered in a thin and sweet (sugary) layer known as the mucilage. There are two ways of removing the mucilage: 1. Fermentation. 2. Mechanical separation. Through fermentation, the beans are poured into a clean tank where its natural bacteria and enzymes react to break down the mucilage layer. On the other hand, removing mucilage through machines is easier, however it disallows the producers in having the flexibility to influence the coffee flavour.
Soak in Clean Water
When fermentation is completed and the mucilage is removed from the coffee beans, the coffee beans will be soaked for another 24 hours. At this stage, the beans will be soaked in much more water than during the fermentation stage. Producers postulate that enzymatic activity in the coffee increases in this soaking process which results in increased amino acids and proteins content in the coffee beans.
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