Brian Beyke

Washing Processes with Kuma Coffee

Brian Beyke


This past December, Kuma Coffee was offering a few sets of coffee that feature highlights in washing processes.  There was an Elida Estate from Panama and also a Las Brumas from El Salvador.  

Each set contained 8oz of three different processes of the same coffee: natural, washed, and honey processed.  I decided to pick these sets up and re-package them in smaller offerings to give to a few of my coffee nerd friends for Christmas.

While I myself was excited to try the coffees, I was mainly excited because of the experience I, and my friends, would have at noting how the washing process actually effects the end cup of coffee.

Here is a quick run-down of what I am referring to with the washing processes (found in more detail here):

Natural (Dry) Process

The entire coffee cherry (with bean intact) is dried intact in the sun on tables in thin layers for about 4 weeks.

Washed (Wet) Process

The coffee cherry is picked and the skin with some of the pulp is removed after the coffee cherries have been soaked in water.

Honey Process

The coffee has been dried with all or some of the sticky fruit pulp or “honey” (miel in Spanish) still adhering to the bean.

Here’s just a little comparison of my notes for the different washed processes of the Las Brumas El Salvador.

Washed Process

Dense, despite light looking, cup.  Getting a mapley taste and body, more prominent as it cools.  Sugary sweetness starts to come out.  Aromatic cup - stone fruit presence, maybe black cherry.  

As it really gets cool it’s a delicately sweet cup - like eating waffles with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Natural Process

Dry aroma - sweet, grape juice, wood, pie crust.  

Brewing aroma - rose petals, blueberry.

Initial tastes of blueberry and raspberry.  While still warm I get notes of sparkling grape (think welch’s grape juice), green apple, and mapley sweetness.  Milk chocolate seems to be present in the finish as it cools along with a sweetness that reminds me of banana.  Acidity hits the back of the mouth and specifically back of tongue as it cools.

Honey Process

Dry aroma - citrusy

Brewing aroma - sweet, floral

Initial tastes - muted sweetness.  Cocoa taste, and heavily perfumed.  Stone fruits come out as it cools - plum and black cherry.  

Herbal finish, sort of woody and smokey.  

As it cools further it has a deep, sweet, lingering finish.

Medium body and acidity. 

It was a cool experiment.  There were similarities I could find across the board, but each one seemed to hold their own and really highlight different flavors.  Again, another showing tweaks along the coffee’s journey from bean to brew that really make an impact on what we, as drinkers, experience.

Check out your local roasters and keep your eyes peeled if they offer a similar experience.

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.