It begins similarly to the washed method of processing. The coffee is depulped shortly after it is harvested. Again, only the ripest cherries are picked for the best end product.
Here the washing stops. Still covered in some pulp and mucilage, the coffee is set out to dry with that layer of, well, slime still covering it. The craftsmanship that is still being discovered at this stage is how much mucilage to leave on the bean. It makes enormous differences to the final product. The barrier protection of the fruit skin is gone, and it hasn’t been fermented and washed clean, so the drying done now has an even greater impact on the quality of the cup.
The coffee is laid out on concrete or raised beds and it must be meticulously raked by hand to dry evenly. Uneven drying with this method will invariably create some rot and inconsistent flavors and defects.
As the coffee dries the mucilage is drawn into the bean, beneath the parchment. Once fully dried and milled semi-washed coffees can have intense sweetness, full bodied tropical fruit flavors, and balanced acidity. We are excited to soon be bringing semi-washed coffees to our line up. For years we couldn’t find coffees that met our standards that were semi-washed in this way. We are happy to be introducing one soon!