Washed vs Pure Espresso Processing: What’s the Distinction?

5 min read

You could have observed two phrases recurring on espresso bag labels whatever the nation of origin: washed and pure.

What do these phrases imply? What’s the distinction between washed vs pure espresso? Hold studying to study extra about how these two components influence the ultimate cup.

washed vs natural processing method

How Espresso Will get from Seed to Cup

Most of us know that espresso beans begin their journey as shiny crimson or yellow cherries. Elements like nation of origin and roast degree have an effect on the ultimate cup profile.

However do you know that how unroasted inexperienced espresso beans are processed additionally has an enormous influence on the flavour of the ultimate cup? In different phrases, the identical Colombian espresso bean’s ultimate cup profile can change relying on whether or not it was processed utilizing the dry or pure methodology, washed methodology, or processed utilizing an alternate methodology, like pulp pure.

So how do you go about selecting the right espresso beans? What’s the distinction between washed and pure coffees? Hold studying to study all that and extra.

The Anatomy of a Espresso Cherry

However first, let’s speak a bit about anatomy. We’ll hold this fast, we promise.

Every espresso cherry consists of the seed and the pericarp (1). 

The pericarp consists of three layers: the peel, the mucilage/pulp, and the parchment. You will need to take away all three layers earlier than roasting the espresso bean.

Pure Espresso Processing

In pure processing, you first place the espresso cherries right into a water tank, the place the under-ripe and overripe cherries are discarded. Then, the remaining espresso cherries are positioned in flat, raised beds and overlooked to dry beneath the solar. Every now and then, espresso farmers rake and switch the cherries to make sure they dry evenly and that no mould or rot develops. This course of can take as much as six weeks, relying on the local weather.

Usually, this methodology works finest in climates with comparatively low precipitation, like Ethiopia. Additionally, as a result of the beans are left to dry naturally, the flavors are barely much less constant from cup to cup.

For an in-depth take a look at the quantity of detailed work that goes into naturally-processed espresso, watch this video of espresso farmers in Ethiopia.

Washed Espresso Course of

Within the washed espresso processing methodology, also called moist processing, you place espresso cherries into the hopper of a espresso mill.

Subsequent, these cherries land in a tank filled with water, the place you kind them to remove the under-ripe and over-ripe cherries. Espresso cherries that make the lower go right into a fermentation tank, the place they’ll be held for as much as 72 hours.

Wash processing yields much less advanced flavors. Nonetheless, some espresso farmers and roasters desire this methodology as a result of it yields a extra constant cup profile (3).


Earlier than roasting the beans, the espresso cherries have to be de-pulped to take away the peel, fruit, and parchment. That is the rule in each pure and moist espresso processing strategies. 

Within the washed processing methodology, the espresso cherries are de-pulped by passing by varied filters earlier than they lastly come to relaxation in a fermentation tank.

Within the pure methodology, nevertheless, the espresso cherries are solely stripped of their peel, mucilage, and parchment. You de-pulp them solely after layers have dried over the bean.

Distinction between Washed and Pure Espresso Taste Profiles

All this information is nice, however how does pure and dry processing have an effect on the flavour?

Since pure processing leaves the peel, pulp, and parchment intact, farmers can develop extra advanced flavors by fermentation. Microorganisms step by step break down the proteins, sugars, and different substances within the espresso cherry’s pulp, which leads to decrease acidity and extra sweetness within the ultimate cup.

Against this, washed processing permits the bean’s pure taste to shine. Whereas enzymes nonetheless provoke chemical modifications throughout the bean, the dearth of peel, pulp, or parchment means there may be essentially much less sugar for the microorganisms to interrupt down. This leads to much less total sweetness and extra acidity (2).

In keeping with Veronica Belchior:

Each …coffees expertise fermentation, however there’s a lot much less…for the enzymes to work with in washed coffees as a result of the pulp has been eliminated.

Washed vs Dry Espresso Cup Profiles

Naturally-processed espresso beans style fruity and winy because of their extended publicity to advanced sugars within the espresso cherry’s pulp. There are particular blueberry and strawberry notes on the nostril, and the flavour can deliver caramel sweetness and even chocolate to the cup. Lastly, naturally-processed coffees are usually medium to full-bodied.

Against this, washed coffees have a extra acidic chew, and the acidity is paying homage to lemons and limes. Nevertheless, pure flavors of the bean, like floral and spice notes, shine by far more readily since there’s much less contact with the sugars within the pulp. Lastly, washed coffees are typically lighter in physique, too.

Closing Ideas

The distinction between washed and pure processed coffees lies within the taste of the ultimate cup. Washed coffees gives you extra shiny, floral notes, whereas pure processed coffees yield a a lot sweeter, fruitier taste profile.

Have you ever tried each washed and pure coffees? Which one do you favor? Tell us within the feedback under or in our House Grounds Fb group.


What’s semi-washed espresso?

Semi-washed espresso refers to espresso beans with the outer peel and a few mucilage eliminated. These beans are then left to ferment and dry for 2 days.

Lastly, the farmers take away the remainder of the mucilage and parchment, and the beans are left to dry. These beans are usually extra earthy in taste and are medium-bodied within the cup.

What are honey-processed coffees?

Honey-processed coffees are coffees ready with the honey processing methodology. In honey processing, the espresso bean removes the outer peel and a few mucilage. The proportion of mucilage left on the bean because it dries within the solar determines the ultimate cup’s degree of sweetness. Black honey processed beans, as an illustration, comprise probably the most mucilage as they dry, so it imparts a syrupy honey sweetness to the ultimate cup.

Is washed espresso higher than pure?

Washed espresso will not be higher than pure, neither is the pure higher than washed espresso. Washed coffees yield a extra constant cup and protect extra of the bean’s pure taste. Then again, naturally-processed coffees yield extra fruitiness and fewer acidity, however in addition they differ extra in taste from cup to cup.

So briefly, it depends upon what you favor.

  1. sepriyany. (2017). Anatomy of a Espresso Bean – Pink Berry Espresso.
  2. Belchior, V. (2019, June 24). How Does Processing Technique Influence Espresso Chemistry & Taste? Good Each day Grind; Good Each day Grind.
  3. Lane, T. (2021, Might 24). Pure vs. Washed Espresso: Is One Higher Than the Different? Taylor Lane; Taylor Lane.

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