Coffee processing — the way in which the fruit of the coffee cherry is removed from the seed — is one of the most important factors in how a coffee tastes. And in between the most common methods, washed processing (in which all of the fruit is removed before drying) and natural processing (in which the fruit dries before being separated) lies honey processing, so called because the sticky mucilage left on the seed during drying is referred to in spanish as “miel,” a word that also means honey.
This method, also known as pulped natural processing, yields coffees that can be brighter and cleaner than naturally processed coffees, but also more syrupy than washed ones: a spacious and delicious middleground.
Costa Rica has been one of the countries at the vanguard of honey processing, and this coffee, which couches a stone fruit sweetness in a whole bunch of chocolate and caramel flavors, is a great example of the kinds of coffees it produces.
Brazil was the birthplace of this style of processing, which can produce a slightly more lively flavor profile than the traditionally natural process coffees from that country. There’s a little citrus and a little raisin in this one but, don’t worry, plenty of the chocolate, nut, and caramel notes you love in Brazils as well.
The combination of clean citrusy flavors and a huge, syrupy body make this coffee a terrific study in what this style of processing can do. Think juicy orange acidity and tons of caramel, both in how this coffee tastes and feels.
Blueprint Cedral Alto ($22)
This Central American honey processed coffee stands out in its intense floral and spice aroma and delicate fruity flavor. It was grown in Panama from heirloom Ethiopian coffee varieties, which makes it a pretty rare bird on top of being totally delicious.
Novo Chicho Gallo ($32.95)