Preparing coffee is not a rigid process nor is it completely welded to a unique profile of flavors, textures, and aromas. Each type of bean and each harvest has its own personality. Every detail its during production makes the difference: one more day of sun-drying, the technique for picking and peeling the grain, the height of the soil or the climatic conditions, among others.
Here at Bean To Mug, we believe that the coffee diversity enriches the taste and the way we appreciate and drink our favorite beverage. That’s why we want to take you from the Philippines to Costa Rica to learn about an authentic and totally local way of making coffee: the Honey process. But don’t be afraid for your diet! This coffee won’t cloy your palate (or so we hope).
Sweet coffee ode
Honey Process Coffee owes its name not to bees, but to an oil called mucilage. It resembles honey because it has a slightly golden color and has a flavor with a fruity sweet touch. Mucilage is a thin, sticky layer that covers the inner shell of the coffee cherry between the inner pulp and the parchment.
Once the coffee cherries are harvested and washed with mineral water, they are peeled, but only the superficial skin is removed to leave the mucilage exposed. Thus, this oil is absorbed once the coffee bean dries at sunlight.
After several days of drying, coffee grains are collected in large woven sacks and left in dark rooms to age like wine. Then beans are separated according to its color, packaged and then sent to the distributors.
The final result? a coffee with a light touch of brown sugar and the acidity of strawberry and cherry that gives a particular sweetness compared to other Arabica beans.
Honey coffee’s flavor profile depends on the color that the grain takes when it dries. Each color has gradually different natural properties. The darker the toast, the sweeter it is!
Yellow honey coffee has a low mucilage layer because it’s washed before “sunbathing” for a week, so its a barely colored bean with a taste close to the acidity of the washed coffee.
Golden honey coffee flavor is slightly more fruity than that yellow honey, although it is less caramelized than red. It needs 10 days to have its tan.
Red honey coffee is the result of 2 to 3 weeks of drying. Its flavor is caramelized, with an aroma similar to that of nuts.
Black honey coffee is the sweetest and fruity version because it’s not washed, so it preserves the most part of mucilage. It is left to dry for a month, with a few intervals of shade.
Why try honey coffee?
Although our favorite coffee will always be Filipino, we cannot deny that honey coffee has its charm. It is friendly to the environment because it uses little water and the production is completely artisan. Like ours, it comes from almost exclusively coffee-growing areas that work very hard to enhance their cultural identity.
You can find honey coffee in supermarkets or in tropical coffee stores. Try it and let us a review comparing it to the Filipino coffee you like so much.